Don’t worry. The odds have been against you since that light bulb first came on above your head. It’s like that feeling you get when you buy a lottery ticket. You know the odds are against you, but you still get that flutter in your heart that maybe – just maybe – you’ll be the story that stands out from the crowd. But the stats are there. 90% of all startups fail to survive.
Sure, some put up a better fight than others. But is that really a good thing? Or does it just mean a loss of time, money and talent, all of which could have been applied to something else sooner?
The way to look at it is like a game of poker. To succeed, you need to know when you have a hand worth playing and, more crucially, when it’s time to fold. It’s not easy, especially with your business, the one you’ve spent sleepless nights working on, pouring blood, sweat, and tears into. But sometimes it’s the right call. Financially. Sometimes it’s worth speaking to bankruptcy attorneys instead of wondering whether to try for one more round of funding.
So, without further ado, here are some ways to tell if you should fold:
The Value Is Slipping Away
The one thing your business needs to survive is value. You need to offer value to your customers, clients and target audience. So, if you’ve started to do battle with the realization your value is diminishing, you might want to accept it’s not worth continuing the fight. You just won’t be able to deliver the revenue or profitability without value.
The Risks Are Too High
The startup game is full of risks. Everywhere you look you’re going to be met by risk. You took a risk leaving your employed status, you took a risk putting your savings into your idea, you took a risk moving to the city you thought offered the best chances – it’s all been a game of risk. It’s what you thrive off. It’s taking the risks knowing that the potential returns are worth it. So if the risks have started to overshadow the possible returns, it’s probably time to call it a day.
The Competition Was Faster
Life is all about timing. We’re not saying there is ever a perfect time for anything, but there are better times than others, and this is definitely the case when it comes to taking your idea to market. It’s about when you launch and how fast you launch because, what happens a lot of the time is, competitors find a way of launching sooner. If that’s the case with you, it might be worth fighting the good fight. But it might also be worth conceding on this occasion, learning a valuable lesson and taking that forward with you.
The Long-Game Is Too Long
Startups have to be about the long-game to work, even if the long-game is to sell-up. But if you have something that is going nowhere fast, it might be time to consider closing up shop because there are only so many U-turns and dead ends you can face.