What time is the right time to quit?
We have been told a gazillion times that quitting is the loser’s game plan, right? So would you stick to it when all the signs are pointing to eminent disaster?
Talk of grit, persistence, determination, perseverance, commitment. These and others are the cardinal principles of achievement and success we are all familiar with – be it in self-employment, relationships or other life endeavours.
Quitters never win; winners never quit. Never say die until the bones are rotten. Wow!
Again, without mantras of this type, many of us would have become big time failures long ago. So they are helpful.
Quitting might create better opportunities.
But did you also know that the same otherwise lofty idea of sticking to it for as long as only God knows when could sometimes become a roadblock to discovering greater and more beneficial opportunities?
Yes! There are moments when we need to let go of what is not working for our own good.
There are times when we just have to face reality and quit before we go down with a sinking ship.
It could be that it has a big hole hidden somewhere at the bottom – it is invisible and unblockable.
Persisting obstinately when all the facts and figures are blinking the red light all around you may not always be the wisest thing to do.
Quitting could cut your losses.
It is a matter of being pragmatic to cut your losses and jump boat when the business or relationship is clearly in a free-fall mode.
At this time, what needs to be done is to quickly think of a plan B and move on with a newer and more sensible idea.
In fact, what may appear to amount to quitting may not necessarily be it. It could be a quick and smart turn of mind so as to continue thriving in spite of the difficulties.
Take a cue from big, successful companies
This is exactly what happens when big companies decide to abandon a failing product or process in order to invest their limited resources in more profitable ones.
Hold on just a bit. They may not call it quitting, but I honestly don’t know what else it is when you run from a product or a process before it is too late.
Jack Welch is reputed to have done it at General Electric. He executed his plan, destroyyourbusiness.com without any apologies. He had to send many employees home as he shut down many departments of the company .
This earned him the unenviable tag, neutron Jack.
But he was never perturbed or deterred. Call it quitting but it worked. General Electric became a leaner, healthier and more profitable business.
Shareholders were pleased, and the surviving workers were happy.
Steve Jobs did the same at Apple, retiring many of its hitherto flagship products as a way of simplifying the production process. The lasting results are there for all to see.
So don’t fear to abandon a product which is showing clear signs that it is not going to work anymore.
Have the courage to move on.
Axe those processes which are increasing costs rather than raking in more revenue and profits.
Sometimes it is just wise to kill that baby darling business of yours when it is telling you it can no longer function the way it once used to.
Maybe technological changes have made it somewhat obsolete on the market. Or consumers’ tastes have changed and they have turned to other products.
If your customers have moved on, what business do you have standing still?
It could also be that the inputs used to produce your goods and services have become too difficult or too expensive to get.
Sometimes the unfavourable change or trend in government policy will tell you that old-school persistence will not overcome this one challenge.
How to be sure it is time to quit
So how can you quickly tell that the whole business or a particular product is headed the wrong way?
Keeping good, up-to-date records, of course.
That is the best way to easily detect danger. The financial history of the company or the product, if faithfully and accurately recorded over the years or months, will tell you whether you are on course or otherwise.
Avoid sinking with the leaking boat
So, you too should consider this approach if at any time you come to the sad conclusion that rather than the situation getting better, it is going to get much, much worse. Because this is warning enough that the situation will eventually kill off everything you’ve spent many years building.
Perhaps it is time to quit that particular product, reinvent yourself and adapt to change in order to persevere and grow.
Massage your ego to cope with the inevitable
If calling it by the dreaded Q – word is going to affect your ego, just tell yourself that you’re not in any way throwing in the towel.
All you’re doing is being smart enough to jump onto much safer ground before you’re pushed down the abyss.