Please Don’t Quit

Please Don’t Quit

Resignation is practically ‘de rigueur’ right now – not sure I even risk using a French phrase given EU antics, British political meltdown and even the English football fiasco.

Setting aside politics (for fear of writing a book, not a blog), the last fortnight has not just evoked questions for the future of small business but amongst my immediate circles, it has also generated debate about the very definition of success versus failure, and perseverance versus quitting.

Resignation / quitting is not a concept that sits comfortably with me but I know many small business owners who self-question and do consider exiting when the going gets tough. Resignation in a formal sense has its place of course – not least if there’s inappropriate conduct or a conflict in strategic direction. Quitting to avoid facing the music in a ‘casual-relinquishment-of-responsibility-and-duty’ kind of way is something I struggle with though. I pursue my business goals believing that ‘Winners never Quit and Quitters never Win’.

Translating all the current exit and resignation talk into lessons for business owners, I’ve been questioning how robust business owners need to be in times of trouble. Statistics vary but often hint that up to 80% of new small businesses fail within the first two years – beyond that, they’ll probably ‘make it’. But, there’s ‘making it’ aka ‘getting by’ and ‘making it’ aka ‘succeeding’.

It’s often said that the only way you can fail is to give up – notwithstanding bankruptcy/cashflow issues of course! Not quitting is an important part of the equation in business wherein patience and hard work should be the order of the day, not chucking in the towel or changing course too quickly.

I was recently pointed to an article that argued that it takes 10 years to be successful in business according to the ‘domino strategy’ of consistent momentum. Dominoes are in just the right sequence so that each small step makes the next, bigger step possible. Lots of useful comment too on magic bullets, long term visualisation, and the treadmill of disappointment that are worth a read here http://www.inc.com/empact/why-successful-people-take-10-years-to-succeed-overnight.html

Another useful definition of business success is this: ‘Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy goal’ by Earl Nightingale, which compliments the domino theory and implies too that it’s the journey, not the destination, that counts. Sometimes end-goals are not always visible but they can certainly materialise with consistent and persistent effort; quitting only breaks this momentum. Some great comment here defining success, reasons for failure and the importance of goal setting and vision http://www.nightingale.com/articles/the-strangest-secret/

The politicians and footballers may have the privilege of being able to quit and may even be warranted in doing so. Thank heavens though that the majority of us remain loyal to our goals and avoid too many hasty and premature resignations.

So for now, we really do need to set aside the ‘what if’s’ and fears. Yes, we must all consider the political and economic backdrop, but we should realise too that as business owners, we’re often in unchartered waters. Right now, small business in Warrington is booming, start-up rates are high and micro businesses make up a huge proportion of local businesses (for stats, see http://warringtonandco.com/why-warrington/fact-file/)

As a small business owner, I therefore plan to uphold the British entrepreneurial spirit as I’ve learnt it so far where persistence, hard work, flexibility and respect of differing views and strategic options are paramount. Head down and crack on. Hard times are there to be beaten and quitting should be the very last thought on our minds. Please don’t resign from your business – it wasn’t meant to be easy!

Let’s end with a link to a great video reflecting the nature of success versus failure (courtesy of a very timely share by friends, Paul & Helen Jones at Mindgift Personal Coaching) https://www.facebook.com/globalexpertspace/videos/233887956975103/

Our objective at Colony is always to support growth and nurture business success via all the event themes we select so that quitting does not become a consideration. Colony runs business networking, support and training events for small businesses. To see all upcoming events, visit http://www.colonynetworking.co.uk/events/. Our next event on 21 July covers success factors with business websites.