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Throwing in the towel – is it time to quit your small business?

By Samantha Garner | April 14, 2012

At GoForth Institute, we’re entrepreneurs too. We’ve been through it all, and many of us have had more than a couple of small businesses. We know that entrepreneurship can be an invigorating, freeing journey, but we also know that it can be one of the toughest things you can do.

The downsides of small business ownership aren’t often discussed honestly, and many of us can sometimes be unwilling to admit that our particular entrepreneurship journey might be at an end. Of course, we’d want everyone to love their small business, but we know that sometimes that love can run out. So, how can you tell if it might be time to end your small business? Here are some signs:

  • You’re hemorrhaging money. It can take up to three years for a small business to turn a profit, but if you’ve tried everything and still see your money slipping away faster than it’s coming in, it could be a sign.
  • Your relationships are suffering. If you’re so stressed that you’re taking it out on your loved ones, or work so much that you never see them, it could also be an indication that it’s time to close up shop. However, it could also be an indication that you need to hire some help!
  • You’re bored. When you started your small business, you were thrilled by it and spent every waking hour dreaming and planning. Now, though, you have no more ideas and are just running on fumes. Could you benefit from outside help with planning?
  • You dread going to work. If the thought of another work day makes you feel miserable, that’s not a good sign. Analyze this feeling. Would a new direction for the business help? Some new employees to take the load off? Think about what it would take to make you love your small business again, and plan out all options.
  • Your health is taking a turn for the worse. If the pressure and stress you’re feeling about your small business is taking a toll on your health, then something’s not right.

If you answered ‘yes’ to one or two of these things, you may have a problem – but that doesn’t mean closing the business is the only solution. This problem could be solved by new staff, for example. And as we said above, most businesses don’t become profitable until about the third year of business, so we usually don’t advise throwing in the towel after, say, 14 months. However, if you’re starting to feel like maybe you want out, take it seriously. Take time to analyze all options available to you, to make very sure this is the best course of action. If you haven’t already done so, plan your exit strategy and tie up all loose ends. And once that’s all finished, regroup, reflect, and plan for your next small business!

No matter what stage of business you’re in, comprehensive small business education, like the kind offered by us at GoForth Institute, may help you find success. Knowledge is power!

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