Are you Flogging a Dead Horse?

When to throw in the towel

Are you chasing your business dream but feeling like you are treading water? You could be flogging a dead horse.

‘Don’t quit!’ ‘Never give up!’

Rubbish!

The most successful entrepreneurs quit fast and cheap and without guilt. They move on quickly when they hit a dry gully. It is known in the game as ‘pivoting’. But how do you know when that horse has died? Here are three red flags for me when I’m talking to a client about their business.

1. You’ve been at it for 3 or more years and you are still not profitable.
Businesses, like farming, take time. You need to plant the seeds of your business, nurture your customer base, and grow the best mix of products. There seems to be a magic three year mark regardless of the industry. At this point, you should really be starting to see a steady inflow of customers. If after 3 years you are struggling, something is wrong and it could be terminal. Especially if it will require more financial resources than you have available to keep going, or new technology has made your offer obsolete or too expensive.

And if you haven’t been in business for three years yet? Don’t panic, it could be too early to pronounce the horse dead. You need to look at how your business is trending over the past year. If your profits and customer numbers have shown a steady increase, then you could be ok. Whether you are ok or not will depend upon whether you have the financial resources to keep going at the current level of growth.

2. You are getting little or no repeat business.
If your customers are not coming back for more or telling friends about you, something is wrong. Plain and simple. You need to be creating raving fans. No matter what the industry, word of mouth is one of the most cost effective and essential business generators.
Don’t despair just yet. Frequently the reason is an easy fix. And then in some cases the business owner is just not suited the line of business and its time to move on. Independent advice from a good business coach is essential at a time like this.

3. You have lost your mojo.
If going to work each day does not excite you, or you are procrastinating on important tasks, listen to your gut feeling. If everyday feels too hard, or your health or family life is suffering, something is wrong. Even amongst the hard work of business, you should feel a sense of excitement or achievement.

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If any of these 3 red flags sound like you and your business, then it is time to check your horse’s pulse. It is time to get some objective professional help to assess your business and help you decide whether it is time to get off the horse or change direction.

A business coach or mentor can help identify the blocks and causes to the above and help you make clear and accurate decisions on whether to get off the horse or pivot. Business owners often don’t acknowledge ‘lost opportunity costs’. This is the money you could be making if you went in a different direction and every month counts. One thing we can’t buy more of is time.

Remember: it is not a sign of failure to quit while you are still ahead; it is a sign of a seasoned entrepreneur who knows when to cut their losses and move on to the next challenge. And quitting doesn’t mean your dream is over!

Getting off a dead horse frees up your time, money and creative energy so that you can apply it to a business that will deliver your dream.

Complimentary Checkup
I specialise in quickly identifying whether your horse is ‘dead’ or just has a bad cold, or whether you need to change direction.

Shoot me an email or give me a call to book an obligation free checkup and prescription.
0400 520 471
david@davidlennon.com.au

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