It’s a conversation no business owner wants to have but for some, there comes a time when the question won’t go away – “Is it time to call it quits?”
Like all difficult questions, there is no simple answer and often it is as much about motivation and energy of the business owner as it is about whether a business is salvageable. Here are some things to consider if you find yourself in this situation:
Are you moving with the times?
If you have been conducting your business in the same manner but business isn’t going as expected, there is a temptation to focus on external events. Yes, it is probably part of the problem, but it’s not the whole story.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~ Albert Enstein
There are businesses that are thriving in spite of these same factors. So it’s worth taking a good hard look at your business – your strategies, your systems, your operations which may all need an overhaul. What used to work for you five or ten years ago (if you’ve been business that long) may not work anymore.
Have you lost the motivation and drive to do what needs to be done?
Most people start their businesses full of enthusiasm and promise, but when things have been difficult for a while, it gets increasingly difficult to stay motivated. If you have no more energy to push through and do what needs to be done, then you could be fighting a losing battle.
If you are almost at the end of your tether, but can muster a sliver of hope, consider getting help. This could be from a coach who could help untangle the knots in your business and help you work through your blindspots, or more practical help, such as outsourcing areas of your business that you don’t enjoy or are simply not good at. Consider also whether there is a flow over effect from other parts of your life that are negatively affecting how you operate your business, and whether dealing with those issues will help.
Some questions to ask:
“What would it take for me to do what needs to be done?”
“What support or resources do I need to make this happen and how do I get them?”
“I’ve had enough!”
If, after considering all the various factors, you still reach the point where exit is your only bright spot, your options reduce to – walk away, or try and salvage something on the way out. The second choice usually means trying to sell the business but depending on the state of your business, this could mean time and effort to get it into a saleable state. How much you put in at this point will determine how much you get out of it.
When do you move on?
Take comfort that the decision to quit is not about quitting, but about moving on. Some things in life have a “use by date”. Acknowledge this because often the salvage cost, whether financial or not, is just too high, not to mention the opportunity cost of hanging in there. The opportunity to do something else with your time and resources.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ~ Winston Churchhill
And “continuing” doesn’t have to mean continuing in your business.