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When is the Right Time to Quit?

Every entrepreneur experiences challenges that make him/her question whether it's time to quit and try an alternate career, especially if you start listening to different people and advice. But as stated by Bill Bradley 'Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.' and the general rule is that entrepreneur never quit!

In the latest FD blog post I just read, Rahim Fazal, the founder ofInvolver,company acquired by Oracle,says that knowing when to quit is important too. In the darkest moments as an entrepreneur, perseverance and a positive attitude play an essential role in the development of any enterprise. But, howdoes one know when it's the right time to quit the startup or persevere?

15 Replies

Dimitry Rotstein
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Dimitry Rotstein Entrepreneur
Head of R&D at SafeZone
You seem to be asking 2 different questions: when to quit a specific startup, and when to quit entrepreneurship altogether. Those are very different things. So which is it?
Cecilia Domenighini
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0
Marketing
Sorry if I wasn't clear. From the blog post, I am asking when a specific startup.
Dimitry Rotstein
2
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Dimitry Rotstein Entrepreneur
Head of R&D at SafeZone
Ah, okay. Well, the general rule of thumb, as told by my mentors, is 3 months. If there is no progress (in terms of traction or R&D) after 3 months despite intense effort of moving things forward, then it's time for a pivot. If pivot ideas are exhausted, then it's time to start something else. If the startup must have investment to proceed, then give it 6 months before giving up.
Of course, there are also unambiguous reasons for quitting, like bankruptcy - can't argue with the fact that you can't pay the bills that must be paid. Or if the team breaks up, and there is an unsolvable IP conflict, then what can you do.
More subjectively, I've seen a lot of cases where startup was in a rut (not hopeless but the team lost motivation), and then something more exciting comes along, then perhaps it's a good idea to make a switch. After all, we're in this for excitement - to do important and interesting things.
Ultimately, however, it's up to everyone to decide this on a case by case basis. Usually, you just feel it when you're ready for a change.
John Shiple
1
1
John Shiple Advisor
CTO
Read up on Zombie Startups - "a company on life support, making just enough money (usually with concessions from the employees) to stumble along. There's not enough money to grow the business, but the economics aren't quite dire enough to close the place down. These are 'zombie companies' - the walking dead." -http://www.dougsguides.com/zombie

It's the closest to what you're asking about. Here are some links:
Lots of thinking and discussion on this topic.

+=John
Max Martinez
2
0
Max Martinez Entrepreneur
Creator
I guess the most simple answer to this question is when you stop believing in it. However, I do believe that every situation is different and different questions needs to be asked when making that decision. I've personally never have thought about quitting, but here are some questions I'd ask myself if making such a decision.

-Are you happy with your life and what you are doing?

-Who is your competition and are you trying to outdo the wrong companies?

-Are you making or losing money?
Obviously, if you are making money, chances are you won't want to leave, but maybe you are putting in too much effort for too little of a gain. If you are losing money to the point where you are facing serious life crises, such as bankruptcy or losing your home or car, quit because you aren't going to get anywhere dealing with all that other crap on the side too.

-Do you use your product or service? If you don't, why would anyone else? If you do, why isn't everyone else?

-Do you have options to go somewhere else?

These are just a few I could think of and I hope they help anyone in a tough time.

Soura Bhattacharyya
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0
Soura Bhattacharyya Entrepreneur
Co-founder, CEO at Lattice Innovations
My philosophy (in my first month in a startup):
Start with the acceptance that you may fail. Then plan to make any failures survivable. In the face of an unsurvivable failure, take stock and move out.
Early exits are easy, it is much tougher to look back dispassionately after 5 years of trying (and early market success) to realize that things are not working out.
Finally, don't live someone else's dream (such as your co-founders').
Marwan Soudi
0
2
Marwan Soudi Advisor
Go-To-Market-Strategy | Gamification and UX Evangelist

Remember:
winners never quit, and quitters never win. But those that never win and never quit are idiots.

DELETE ME
0
0
DELETE ME Entrepreneur
Product Designer & Creative Technologist
When your wife/husband asks you to pick them over "it".
or when you find yourself more excited over checking FB.
Rob Gropper
4
0
Rob Gropper Entrepreneur
Director at PetHero, SPC - Member at Eastside Incubator - Principal at Tuxedo Technologies Group
@ Marwan: ....ergo winners are idiots? :-/ ... i think not. Winners quit all the time, lose occasionally and are typically experienced enough to know when to quit (never easy when its your business). losing (i.e. failing to win) provides valuable lessons in developing strategies to increase the odds of winning - embrace it, learn from it.
Christina Tseng
4
0
Christina Tseng Advisor
Product Marketing, Management Consultant
This is copied from James Altucher but there isn't a good way to link it:

- HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN TO GIVE UP?

Every step of the way I was willing to give up if I didn't see some form of traction. Sometimes that meant more users. Sometimes that meant more profits. Sometimes that meant more technology that I really liked and ideas implemented that people wrote great reviews about.

Perseverance is like a fire that needs oxygen.

Love is the oxygen for perseverance. You can love it. Users can love it. Partners can love it. Investors can love it. There are a lot of sources of love. Businesses and humans need love to live.

Ultimately, you create value for people and that's how you build the love.

Business is just the delivery mechanism of that love.


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