A founder once told me that most new businesses don’t actually fail. Instead, the founder simply runs out of time, or money, or enthusiasm.
Giving yourself enough of all of those is critical to maximizing your chances of success. But persistence still plays an incredibly important role.
At every step of my own journey, choice points arose as to whether and how to continue the business, when to bring on other people, when to scale.
These are not easy choices and I’m never quite sure I’ve made the correct ones (or even that there is a correct choice).
But there are a few questions that I have learned to ask myself along the way. Even now, seven years into my coaching business, the answers to these questions still help be decide where to focus and what to say no to.
1. Do you still enjoy the process?
Do you enjoy doing what you need to do every day to build the business? For example, I have had other coaches ask me about my “social media strategy,” and I really don’t have one. Instead, I create both written and video content that reflects as accurately as it can what I currently believe AND what I have observed works for my clients. I enjoy the internal process of uncovering that truth and trust that the right people will resonate with what I have created.
2. Given what you have learned, does your goal still seem possible to you?
You must continue to believe that the goal, whatever that is, remains possible for you. Even inevitable. Every day you must act as it achieving your goal is inevitable. And if you cannot, it might be a sign that it is time to move on.
3. Do you still want what’s on other side?
Occasionally, I discover that I don’t really like working with a particular type of client or a particular type of organization. There used to be a side of me that thought that, for the sake of the business, or the money, I still needed to take on that work. I have learned, though, that focusing on the work that I truly want to do, with leaders that inspire me, is worth so much more than the money I might make doing something I am not as inspired by. And generally, the increased focus means that my business ends up growing, not declining.
4. Do you have the resources to keep going?
If you don’t have the time or money to continue, can you get them? If the idea is still promising, and the belief is still there, you must find the resources, or the regret will be unbearable.
What are the questions that have helped you know when to keep going, and when to stop?