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When to quit.

Updated: Jun 17, 2019

I meet with entrepreneurs and business owners daily. Some are startups, others have been in business for years. Most reach out to me because an aspect of their business isn’t meeting their expectations. Whether it’s core revenue, an inability to fully-service their clients or a burgeoning competitive threat. Consultants rarely get the easy call to help a successful business scale. More often than not, we are called in like the cavalry to see the things that just can’t be easily observed from the inside.

Some situations can’t be easily remedied. The impact of a bad decision can undo years of a successful run. A decision to grow from one business to two could be the right move but happen at the wrong time. And a bad decision can mean the end of your business.

We have all heard that nearly 50% of businesses fail within the first four years. But what that stat doesn’t allude to is how failure and entrepreneurism go hand in hand. Most people who have a successful business today have also had an unsuccessful one yesterday. Ever heard of Traf-o-Data? That was Bill Gates’ first business. Did you also know that Steve Jobs dropped out of college after one semester and went backpacking in India? Or that the player who struck out the most in baseball history also scored the most home runs? Failure goes hand-in-hand with success. But for business owners it’s important to know when the writing is on the wall and more importantly how to walk away from a bad idea. Blackberry is a good example of how sticking it out can get you stuck. In 2017 the stock was worth $138.87 while today it’s just worth $9.02. When smart phone technology emerged, blackberry took a different approach. A losing one and they have been trying to redefine themselves ever since.

So many factors come into play when you are trying to determine the next right move for your business. For those who have yet to crack the code on their business, the question may not be what comes next but rather when to call it quits. When will you know it’s time to give up on your idea and why would a consultant write a blog about quitting?

It’s important to look at your business objectively and remove all of the traps that come with ownership, such as emotionality and hopefulness. At the end of the day we are all in business to distribute our product or services to a customer. When we fail to execute that plan, we must consider all options and that includes quitting. But what does quitting really mean? I am not arguing that you should shutter your business at the first sign of trouble. What I am saying is that it’s essential to quit the way you have always done things, quit any unrealistic expectations, and quit any processes or methodologies that are not working to support the success of the business.

Many owners get stuck and fall into a belief that if they just work harder, they will achieve success. Sometimes you have to quit and start over, as is evidenced by some of the most successful entrepreneurs. Perhaps you can’t backpack through India like Steve Jobs did, but you can take a step back from your business to make sure that it is meeting your expectations. Afterall, we go into business to build something that will sustain us; as such there has to be an honest dialog around when it might be time to quit or change course.

I’ve outlined a few key areas that might help you have that honest conversation with yourself about the health of your business. It’s scored, so if you find your results landing in the 1 – 15 range, your business is probably serving you. If your score lands around the 15+ point range contact our team and let us help you PLUK information and insights that can help you better assess the health of your business.

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