Building your business from scratch is tough, but closing your business can be even tougher. You might feel like a failure or lose purpose in your life. No one likes to quit, but there comes a time for some businesses when it is better to cut your losses.
Seth Godin’s classic book “The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (And When to Stick)” helps business owners know when to walk away. After all, successful corporate moguls like Steve Jobs and others achieved success by learning from and moving on from failed ventures. Other people have been so stubborn in their attempts to make their ideas work that they have wasted untold amounts of time and resources on hopeless causes.
In his book, Godin uses a running analogy to make his point. He quotes Dick Collins, a marathoner, who said that runners should decide before the race what conditions justify dropping out (rather than deciding based on how one feels at the moment). A runner should not simply quit because the going gets tough; they should quit because they invested more than what they will get out of the race. The same holds true in business. You should have your “cut and run” conditions in place before you launch.
When setting up guidelines for your future business, consider the following criteria:
- Money — Entrepreneurs should set an amount of money and timeline to get the money back with profit. If they cannot recoup their investment based on this timeline, they should not keep pouring capital into a sinking ship.
- Time — When you start a business, give it a trial period. After that period is over, stop and reassess. If it hasn’t taken off, you should move on. This will keep you from spending months and even years trying to prop up a failing business.
- Effort — You put your heart and soul into your company, but you should set a limit to how much effort you are willing to devote. If you are spending all of your energy to keep a business afloat, it’s probably not worth it. Balance and harmony are critical to enjoying life. If it takes too much effort to keep your business breathing, move on.
Quitting is not always a sign of weakness. It can be a sign of clear-mindedness and perspective and courage. If your business is beyond hope, be brave enough to chalk it up to experience, embrace the takeaway lessons, and move on.