In the final question of our entrepreneurs and investors in the final panel of The Startup Connection event last month, one of our attendees asked if they knew when it was time to stop.
Earlier in the discussion, we had asked them if they had ever thought about quitting. There was a round of sures, yeahs and of courses. All followed by a “but”. But… I didn’t really want to quit, I was just fill in the blank – tired, frustrated, angry, etc.
Tom Fulcher, our experienced entrepreneur-in-residence and the facilitator for that final panel, made an interesting observation: there’s a difference between stopping and quitting. Quitting is something we do when we want to give up, throw in the towel, call it a day, because we’re dissatisfied with how things may or may not be going. We may want to quit because it’s too hard, it’s taking too long or we’re afraid. Giving up feels like a rash choice, like running away. Giving up is not the same as stopping. Stopping is a decision to close up shop because you have carefully assessed the situation and weighed the options and determined it’s time to move on.
One of our panelists, Russ Yelton, wrote a column the next week for the Phoenix Business Journal, titled When Should You Stop? In it, he outlines several things you can do to decide if stopping is the best choice for you. Here are three things you can do today on Take Action Tuesday to know how to stop and if that’s a decision you need to make:
Revisit your why
The last session of our Track 1 program is Know Your Why. Why? Because it will need to sustain you through the toughest of times. If you are absolutely dedicated to your market, the problem you’re solving and the business you’re building, your why will keep you going when you’d rather quit. According to Russ, if you’re considering stopping, you need to revisit your why. Is that why still driving you? If not, it may be time to stop.
Talk to others
Sometimes our own fears and doubts can seem very real to us. Making decisions based on them is never a good idea. Ask someone you trust if you’re missing something important, if you’re seeing the whole picture, and if you’re seeing it clearly? This can work both ways: Sometimes, we’re unable to see the writing on the wall. The money is running out, the market is not onboard, the product isn’t working, and you simply don’t have the team to figure it out. It may also be that the money is running out, the product isn’t quite working, but your market is clamoring for you to hurry up and get it figured out. Talking to others can help you ask and answer the tough questions.
Get honest with yourself
If the nothing is working, are you willing to do what it takes to figure out why and make the tough choices to change it? What checkpoints will you put in place along the way to ensure that the path you’re on continues to be the right one? How will you know if it’s not? The truth is no one knows the answer. And, as the leader of your business, it’s up to you to make a decision. Right or wrong, it’s why you get paid the big bucks. Rest assured, right or wrong, you will learn and grow and evolve because of it, and that will help you on whatever your next endeavor may be. The key is to decide. And deciding to stop is a decision worthy of respect. It is not the same as quitting.
I look forward to seeing you over here at ASU Chandler Innovation Center soon!