When to push harder and when to give up

Knowing when to give up in business: should you push through or quit?

Sometimes, times are hard. You’re working at something. Working, working, working. And still you see little or no result.

Should you give up or should you push through? How do you know whether you’re in a dead end or you’re at the darkest hour – the one just before the dawn?

How do you know the difference between failure and keeping going?

The emotional weight of the decision

Many small business owners run their enterprise with their hearts, and not their heads. This is very common: our business is a bit like our baby, we created it, we nurtured it from humble beginnings, we stayed up late and got up early, we saw it through the growing pains and took its defence in tough times.

The weight of emotional attachment is enormous. Asking us to give up on our baby – that’s just impossible. We can’t bring ourselves to do that, even though in certain cases this is the rational, logical choice. And still, if we want to keep our sanity – and sometimes a roof over our heads – something has to change.

But how do we know the situation is truly hopeless, how do we know better days are not just around the corner? Sometimes it’s the uncertainty that’s the most difficult. If we knew for sure the enterprise was doomed, it would be easier to let go. If we knew for sure things would get better after a while, it would be easier to forge on.

That’s when asking somebody who has the knowledge and experience can make all the difference. Find the expert you need on Career Mum BECKsearch.


If this continues into the long term, how would you feel then?

If you were to continue as you are now, how would things be in the long term? You might be in a situation where there’s this bill, and that bill, and then that other bill. No profit in sight in the short term.

If you’re facing that scenario, the answer comes down to whether the situation is temporary or permanent. Right now, your business is making a loss: is that going to last, or do you see your way out of it?

There is often a timelag between the moment we start investing time and energy into an enterprise, and the moment we see the fruits of our efforts. This is especially true if we are developing a product and we have to produce it and distribute it before we can make money from it.

A temporary loss comes from temporary expenses: marketing costs to get your business off the ground (a website, graphic design, etc.), free samples and trials to get your first customers, branding investments… You need an initial push to get started.

A permanent loss is when the costs aren’t likely to fall and the revenue isn’t rising significantly or fast enough. That’s when the emotional connection you have to your business can turn from a positive (“my business is my baby”) to a negative – to the albatross around your neck, eroding your physical and mental health.

Get in touch with a knowledge sharer on Career Mum BECKSearch: they can help you see through the situation and analyse it more objectively, thanks to their experience. They might even have been through the same phase, and they will know exactly how it feels.


Is your price right?

Businesses often close not because they don’t have enough customers, but because they’re not charging enough.

You might have the feeling that your clients don’t pay you enough. There are many reasons for that: sometimes we’re not brave enough to ask for what we think our services are actually worth; we’re afraid we won’t get the job; we charge a certain amount for a day’s work, and then we put in far more than a day.

A situation in which you make a loss doesn’t reverse and improve on its own: the more loss-making work you take on, the more money you’re going to lose, even though you’re working all hours.

Revenue might be coming in, but it might be hoovering up more resources than it’s worth by the time it gets to the bottom line. “Working harder” isn’t the solution here.

However, when we think about who is responsible for that situation, we can only look in the mirror: we set the price. We can take steps to do something about it or resent the customers that we worked to get in the first place!

That’s exactly the kind of situation when you need to take a step back and work “on” the business, and not just “in” it. Working harder will get you more of the same – more of making a loss, and you don’t want that.

To take a step back and look up from the grindstone, get in touch with a knowledge sharer on Career Mum BECKSearch. They will help you see the forest, not just the trees, and they will help you work your way to a solution.

Do you know exactly what we’re talking about, because you’ve been through it yourself? Share your hard-won experience with a knowledge seeker on Career Mum BECKsearch.

January 29, 2019