When is it time to give up on something and move on?

give up in business

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This is probably one of the most challenging things about being an entrepreneur- making a decision to move on or stick with it, whatever that is. You’re probably attached closely to your business ideas and projects, and seeing through that to make an informed business decision can be quite foggy. After all, you’ve invested significant time, resources, energy and money into them and giving up on your idea or business entirely could feel really bad- like you’re “a quitter”.

Interestingly, one of the advantages of being an entrepreneur is the ability to make quick adjustments or major shifts in any area of your business and/or business direction. This is not to be confused with shiny object syndrome when you’re distracted by exciting new ideas and opportunities at the expense of focused impact. So, I’m not talking about the kind of quitting or letting go of an idea that is working for you (giving up too soon)- but rather letting go of something that isn’t working, or isn’t serving your business goals or client’s best interests. It seems the ability to adjust quickly  can cut losses and even keep you in business. But knowing when to change or stay the course can be tricky.

Knowing when to pivot vs. persevere is not usually black and white, and requires thinking through some key things. Last year, I ramped up my marketing efforts to launch my next coaching group program as I had done two times in the previous 18 months, and it was met with crickets. I was perplexed, as I had done everything as before when I had successfully found the right fempreneurs to participate in my 7 month signature business building program. In fact, I did more than the first two group launches, stepping out of my comfort zone to try new things, yet I didn’t fill my group. It felt like I was going backward- I had already been successful at this so what the heck?! I persevered and worked hard and smart for a few months to make it happen.

As a highly determined person, during that 3 month period of marketing my coaching group program with no sales, I saw myself striving and not giving up! I knew I was going to be successful and reach my goal. But the time came when I realized it just wasn’t going to happen at this time. It was now the holiday season and I had to make some adjustments quickly in order to keep my business thriving into the New Year. Just as I shifted my efforts away from the group, I received a few new private clients instead. I decided to pivot and focus on private coaching for a season since that’s where the business was flourishing. I decided that I’d spend time evaluating what had changed that impacted my lack of response, or what I needed to adjust to reach and engage with my target audience for that program. Understanding why things aren’t working can be challenging and take some time, and thankfully I asked for help and will be launching my next group program this May.

What about letting go of people?

Companies of all sizes want to hire good and keep good people, but what if it doesn’t work out? When you step out to delegate by hiring assistance (whether contractor or employee) it should increase your capacity to achieve greater results and increase your impact. So, if it’s not working out despite multiple conversations to address challenges, it could be time to have the final conversation to let them go. As an entrepreneur when you hire your first few people, you often know them on some level, or someone you know has referred them. It’s likely you’ve gotten to know this person and care about them, so difficult conversations about things not working can be a little awkward or even unnerving. The reality is doing the difficult thing of letting someone go who isn’t working out can save a lot of time, money and stress. It’s better to do it when you know it’s time than let the frustration build up and leave both parties feeling burned.

Building the skill of knowing when to stick with something (or someone) or move on is essential to staying relevant and profitable. What experiences have you had with deciding whether to keep or let go of an idea, project, or investment of any sort, in order to keep your business thriving?

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