I played golf with another entrepreneur the other day and we started talking about important business decisions. We agreed that the hardest decision you will have to make on a regular basis is this:
Is it time to give up on <INSERT BUSINESS STRATEGY/IDEA>?
Our culture teaches us that good things come to those who don’t give up. You don’t see many movies with heroes that are quitters. More typically, you see the heroes that stuck with an idea for decades, toiling away while living on macaroni until their big break.
I am going to go counter-cultural on you. The people that produce those movies and books are doing entrepreneurs no favors. For the most part, refusing to give up is a bad business strategy. Not always, but most of the time.
You are going to have more bad ideas than good ideas. That is just the way it works, and if you stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that you are working on a loser, it will suck your time and money and eventually destroy you. Your money and time has to be invested in winning ideas rather than losers.
Ditching bad ideas is a demonstration of real humility while sticking with bad ideas is a form of arrogance that you don’t need in your life.
So when do you decide it is time to quit on an idea? That is the hard question. In the world of business, those are the decisions that separate the women from the girls and the men from the boys. I can’t speak to your specific situation but I will say this: your ability to survive longer with a bad idea will be directly proportional to the amount of resources you have available. In other words, Apple can afford to throw more money at a bad idea than you. If your own time and money is at a premium, you need to be ready to pull the plug fairly quickly. Good ideas show promise fairly quickly and if you are not seeing results within a reasonable amount of time, you probably never will.
Giving up is not a weakness. It is an important part of business.