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There is a dangerous myth circulating that a surprising number of people buy into. This is a myth that we tell our children, teach in our schools, and all too often fall prey to in business, as well. It’s a myth that can lead to dead ends, wasted money, and even wasted years of a life. That myth is simple: quitters never win, and winners never quit.

Charles Bouri has seen firsthand how common it is for hardworking, dedicated, talented people to fall victim to this myth. All too often, it undermines their success, leading them to spend far too long on something that won’t work when they could be learning from their failure, moving on, and putting their effort toward something more fruitful. There certainly is real value in enduring hardship and persevering when others say it’s hopeless. But in business, at least, there are times when it’s a lot better to take a step back and set a new course.

Knowing when to quit is a virtue in business. Here are some of the many benefits:

  • Minimizing debt and losses – Continuing to pursue a failing idea is expensive. While entrepreneurs thrive on stories of getting a success on the hundredth try, the reality for most products and companies is that, if they’re failing, they either need a clear road map to turn them around or they need to get out. Pushing onward will mean losses and may even cause you to take out loans to fund your operational costs—never a good position to be in.
  • Discovering promising new ideas – Sometimes, quitting doesn’t mean giving up altogether, but deciding on a new course toward your long-term goal. Maybe this product, service, brand or website isn’t doing it—but can you imagine a new one that would? Quitting allows you to pivot to a more promising idea.
  • Saving money you can put toward more promising investments – If you do eventually pivot, you’re going to need capital for that idea, too. It’s better if you still have funding left when you make the switch, and that means switching over ASAP.
  • Developing a reputation for sound management – Experienced businessmen know that sometimes you have to make the hard choice and cut losses. It can be hard to close a company, but doing so can gain you respect, while running it into the ground does the opposite.

It can be hard to tell when it’s time to quit and when it’s time to push onward. Have you ever quit something? What is your policy on “giving up”?

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