When is it time to walk away from your business? Advice from the Dragons

Not every business is going to be a success. That’s just a fact. Unfortunately, too many entrepreneurs don’t know when it’s time to wind things down and move on to other, more profitable things.

According to Jim Treliving, it’s easy to know when to close your business and start something new. “When it’s not making any money, and everybody doesn’t want the product,” he says.

Manjit Minhas has a slightly more concrete timeline

“If a business, after three years, is not living on its own— it doesn’t have to be making money, but not even breaking even — it’s time to move on,” she says.

That sounds easy enough, but for so many business owners, even ones who aren’t making any money, their business is tied to their identity.

“Letting your business go is an easy thing to tell people, it’s a hard thing for people to do,” says Arlene Dickinson.

“A business doesn’t have to be perfect,” says Lane Merrifield. “It doesn’t have to be knocking out of the park in every category, but there needs to be something that you’re hooking into and running with, beyond just your own personal desire to not quit.”

For those who don’t know when it’s time to fold up and move on, the costs can be serious, and not just from a financial perspective.

“When you fall in love with an inanimate object, like a corporation or a product, it’s bad,” says Vincenzo Guzzo. “You’re not gonna get love back from that corporation or that item. It’s only about you giving, and getting nothing back. And eventually you will be void, and you will have lost a lot more than just money.”

More than anything, it’s important to remember that even though your business may not be a success, it doesn’t make you a failure as an entrepreneur. It just means you haven’t found the right idea yet.

“The entrepreneur is never limited to one idea,” says Michele Romanow. “A lot of people think they could never do anything else, but really you just have to keep experimenting with something else.”