Knowing When to Quit

Remember that old saying that “Winners never quit and quitters never win?” Well, it might be true in sports and competitions, but in business, sometimes it’s definitely time to cut your losses and throw in the towel–shifting your energy to another project or purpose. But, how can you tell when it’s time to quit and when it’s necessary to keep plugging along?

Of course, it is important to be willing to take risks and work hard in order to make things happen. This is one of the mainstays of running a business–being willing to stick things out and work hard in order to get a payoff down the road. But, sometimes, no matter how hard we work–a payoff just isn’t coming and it may be time to make a change. Sometimes we have to change our product lines, let a client or customer go who is just too much work with little compensation, or change directions in our businesses in order to take advantage of changes in the market. There’s often not a very clear directive as to when the time is right and when it’s not. We’re forced to do as much research as we can and then take a calculated risk–letting one or more things go in order to make room for something better.

Only you can know when the time has come to quit. It helps to have some reliable mentors with whom to talk things over and some people find the old “making a list of pros and cons” helpful in trying to evaluate when it’s time to let something go. You may need to evaluate your decision based on several categories or levels: financial, public relations, personal, values, time management–before getting a clear understanding of whether you should hang on to something or let it go. Once you do make a decision that it’s time to quit, try to leave things behind and move forward without doubting or second-guessing yourself. Sure, you may make a mistake, but that’s what living life and taking risks is all about. It’s best to not let yourself getting weighed down with doubts. After all, we’re all doing our best!