If you never quit, you probably aren’t trying enough new things!

A variation of a famous quote goes like this:

“Winners never quit and Quitters never win. But those who never win and never quit are idiots”.

Seth Godin explained this in his book “The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)” where he stated:

“Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time”.

This morning, I had to deal with this question when I met an earnest hard-working young entrepreneur who is in the process of leaving a start-up after investing about two and a half years.

One of his queries was should he release his stake to other co-founders, most likely at suppressed valuations? This was making sense to him since he is no longer excited by the idea and one of the core reasons for quitting is his own evaluation about the startup’s “bleak” future.

I have done similar things – quitting a startup at book value as soon as my judgment showed that the startup at that stage of its life was entering a stage of hara-kiri and I was no longer interested in wasting more “opportunity cost”. Last when I quit a startup in similar fashion, I joked with the co-founders that I might be added to annals of startup history about being another Ron Wayne, who was one of the original founders of Apple, but sold his shares for paltry $ 800 which would be worth $ 35 billion today as estimated here.

However, in this case, I suggested that he should consider not releasing his stake cheaply. The startup is in futuristic technology and the issues are more about the classical dilemmas of Project versus Product, Focus versus Diversification, Cash Flow Management, etc. These things could be resolved as they have already built some intellectual property with an excellent development team and generated a revenue stream as well (though extremely slow, unpredictable and with very low margins). Prima facie, the startup seems to have reasonably good potential. However, it is not easy to have this “realization”, especially if you are an insider and can “clearly” see the mess! Hence, this gentleman is still inclined to release his stake at book value or lesser as emotions seem to be the over-riding factor.

Here are some more takeaways from the discussion:

  1. If you are leaving a startup because of strategic differences with the other co-founders, make sure you have done all possible communication with the co-founders with clarity and “agreed to disagree” on various issues. This would help you leaving on a note of “completion” rather than leaving on a note of “frustration” because you feel your views are not being listened to or not being understood. Another strongly recommended option is to schedule a meeting with a mentor or a Business Coach to get an objective view on the differences, and, perhaps, come to an agreement on new strategic direction for the venture.
  2. Do not get in the trap of a biased undervaluation (leading to exit on book value) or overvaluation (to negotiate hard unnecessarily). Get the venture valuation done by a third party (we could help with this).
  3. As far as possible, continue to have a relationship with the startup as an advisor or play a structured part-time role. This usually leads to more constructive long-term relationships and you always have a chance to come back. In one of the ventures, where I quit, I was continually invited, long after quitting, to join back as a co-founder. Finally, a continued relationship could help you start-up again in the same sector with a synergistic business relationship with the startup you are exiting.

To end the conversation, we moved on to brainstorming on his next startup, though he really wanted a cooling period of 2-3 years before he starts up again. Here again, considering the emotional space he was in, I suggested starting at least some “fun” project immediately to keep the creative juices flowing before he finally zeroes-in on the next startup.

Are in you in a similar dilemma? Wondering whether to stick, pivot or quit? We could help – email at coach@bizvidya.com to schedule a meeting with us.

This was originally published at bizvidya.

Title Quote: If you never quit, you probably aren’t trying enough new things! – by Tynan.


How Randi Zuckerberg can help you “Quit Your Job” and fuel your entrepreneurial dreams

Randi Zuckerberg is leading a group of four investors as judges in a “Shark Tank”- style TV show called “Quit Your Day Job” premiering on Oxygen.


She shared some of her secrets with the New York Post:

1. Work somewhere else first: “There’s a lot of value in understanding how to work with a team, how to take on grunt jobs … and what goes into running an organization. With a
startup, you’re the CEO and also the janitor, and you have to be willing to do anything it takes to make it a success.”

2. Quit the right way: “Make sure that you retain your relationship [with your employer]. You’ve probably built up some great know-how and contacts and you want to make sure
you retain those contacts,” says Zuckerberg. “Quit in a way that’s respectful.

3. Create a job you’re passionate about: “Since most startups unfortunately fail, [passion is] what gets people through a difficult time,” she continues. “Make sure [your
company] is something that, eight years down the road from now, you’re still going to be excited to get out of bed and work on, because hopefully you’ll be in this for a long time.”

4. Take a look at your finances: “Know how much risk you can take on,” says the mother of two. “You want to make sure you’re not doing it in a way that is putting your future or
family in jeopardy.

5. Adapt to new trends: “I love to see an entrepreneur walk into a meeting with a business plan. I also like to see that they’re willing to scrap that plan in a moment’s notice,”
says Zuckerberg. “I don’t want them to come in so married and stuck to their business plan that they can’t pivot to another opportunity.”

6. Admit your mistakes — and fix them: “The biggest mistake I’ve made in launching my own company was in the location. After I left Facebook, I was doing a media company …
and I launched it in Palo Alto, Calif., because I was living there. That was the wrong decision, because if you’re in media, you need to be in New York or LA. I spent two years
trying to fit a square peg into a round hole,” she says.

Further, she shares 3 common mistakes that can sabotage an entrepreneur’s success with Business Insider:

1. Not knowing Numbers: Some entrepreneurs present their busines proposition without presenting any specific data.
2. Not tooting their own horn: Zuckerberg said this can be a problem for women especially. One of the best ways to learn to advocate for yourself, Zuckerberg said, is to have a peer network who can do it for you.
3. They choose a cofounder with the same skills: What entrepreneurs should be doing is partnering with someone who has a different skill set.

Now, you do not any other advice to begin planning on Quitting Your Job and create your dream venture!

Good Luck!