Monday, September 29, 2014

To be successful in your business, know when to walk away

Winners know when to quit

If you run a business or have been thinking of starting your own small business, you've probably heard a lot about the importance of persistence and tenacity, and never giving up.

You may have taken to heart the motto "Winners never quit and quitters never win" ....... Well, get ready for a jolt, because Seth Godin says that's all NONSENSE !

Persistence can sometimes be wasted energy

Who's Seth Godin, some of you will ask? ..... Seth Godin is the founder of the online mega-successful business, Squidoo. He is a best selling author of numerous business books and he is a firm advocate of knowing when to walk away from a venture that is not proving to be a worthwhile investment of your time, money and effort.

In his book "The Dip - The secret to success is knowing when to quit and when to stick" Godin says that winners know when to quit, but they do it at the right time.

The Dip refers to the long road between setting yourself a goal and the journey involved with eventually succeeding in achieving it. Initially there is a sense of excitement, hope and optimism which has motivated you to try something new ....... but then along the way there will come the inevitable obstacles, pitfalls and barriers that you will encounter.

There can be pain, intense frustration and disappointment - and a considerable investment of energy and endurance is required to have any chance of finishing what you started. But if you can get to the other side of this pain, and get through this "dip", then you can emerge stronger, smarter and more capable.

Achieving your goal can bring tremendous feelings of satisfaction - as well as perhaps significant material rewards, depending upon the nature of the goal. The critical question to ask yourself is, will the goal be worth it? Is the pay-off you're going to receive worth what you will investing to get through the dip? Or is your time, energy and effort going to be better served by being directed towards a different venture?

Godin observes that there are some people who invest a lot of their time and effort in battling the hardships - only to give up just before they are about to emerge out of the dip. This is like a marathon runner who has run 20 miles only to quit with one lap to go - what a wasted effort!

The other thing Godin says you've got to watch out for, is what he calls the "cul de sac". He says if you get into a dip, at least if you push hard enough you stand a chance of getting out and things improve. But if you're in a cul-de-sac, then no matter how hard you push you stay where you - like a car spinning it's wheels, using up petrol but going nowhere.

So before you enter the dip, be sure the new goal that you're setting yourself in your business -  or the new project you're about to initiate, or the new product line you're looking at releasing - is worthy of pushing yourself hard and persevering through to the finish line. Otherwise it's simply going to be a drain on your energy and divert you from other initiatives that could prove much more productive.

It's just dumb to persevere with a no-win situation

So remember Godin's advice, winners recognise when to quit early - and when to go the distance.
when to quit your business
Good generals know which battles to fight - and the battles to walk away from. As Kenny Rogers sang in the Gambler, "You've got to know when to hold  'em,  know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away - and know when to run". You should never allow the fear of a loss of face to prevent you from making the wise decision.

Don't be afraid to walk away from a no-win situation. Know when an investment is just not producing a satisfactory return - and don't be scared to sometimes simply cut your losses and quit.

By the way, if you decide to push through, you might like to get some tips on mental toughness

Here's a cute summary of the "The Dip" philosophy, explained by a six year old (with a bit of prompting from his dad)

About the author
Brian Carroll is the founder of Performance Development, a training business in Melbourne, Australia.  He is an experienced management coach with a passion for helping people achieve their goals in life and business. You can find out more about Brian at his Google + profile