[SSB#7] The power of knowing what to give up in order to move forward.
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Welcome to the 7th edition of my newsletter "Supersonic Business", a fortnightly publication by me, Laura Landmark, with a focus on business growth, value and performance management, in other words, all things that make a business better.
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Sandnes, Norway, Saturday morning, 12th October 2019 🌦️
"Supersonic Business" is sent from me, a Management Accountant, to other Accountants, Finance Business Partners, CFO's, CEO's & those that have a leading position in business. The vision for the newsletter to share information, tips and tricks to build healthy, thriving businesses from the 'inside out', it is written from the finance and administration perspective.
I hope you enjoy [SSB#7], write to me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any feedback or questions.
Good morning friends
Last week I needed to say farewell to a group of guys and gals who were in my networking group. Why? because the group was closing down.
I belong to an international networking group with different chapters dotted around the region, and the particular one I belonged to had made it up to 25 people, but only approximately 15 of whom turned up regularly for the weekly meeting.
That is just not enough to gain traction or to make good business sense, so the leaders of the group took the hard but wise decision to close down, and we are now all distributing ourselves to other bigger local groups.
It was quite a heartfelt goodbye, as we as a group had bonded really well, and enjoyed our weekly Wednesday morning meeting. But it was a good proactive decision made by the leadership on behalf of everyone investing time and energy in the group. Being a business-related group, ultimately we are investing time, money and energy in the group for returns, not just for the love of it.
During our farewell discussions, the group leader said he reckoned we could go on for another year or so growing the group gradually, but there was no guarantee of success and the cost/benefit was too high.
It got me thinking about a decision we recently took in our own business to invest in something where there was a certain amount of quantifiable risk. The decision on whether to go ahead or not was not taken lightly, we calculated the cost and likelihood of the downside, then we agreed that it was a risk we could live with and were prepared to take.
I think it is important when assessing options that we don't plow on in blind faith that things will work, as there is a very big chance that they will not. As long as this has been calculated, considered and accepted, then, by all means, we can go ahead, but if the risk is not at the forefront of our minds, it may be time to pull our heads out of the sand and face reality. Everything has a cost, whether it is monetary, or an opportunity cost. If you do "this", then you don't have the time/money/energy to do "that". It's a trade-off.
A couple of major "quits" in my own personal life come to mind. I was once going to go into the retail business and had identified a shop that I was considering buying. I did a huge amount of due diligence over quite a long period of time assessing risks and opportunities.
At the end of the day though, much as my heart was telling me to go ahead, I needed to face the reality that it was burning cash at a rate I wouldn't be able to sustain, so my head said "no way!", and my head won. The previous owners were wealthy and had kept it going by investing more and more of their own cash. For me, this would have been impossible, so I filed my due diligence in the bin and moved on.
Another big moment of "quit" for me was giving up computer science in college (and Latin in school for that matter!). I tried, I mean really tried, but all those 1's & 0's were just not talking my language.
I lasted for a year, then had a serious chat with my dad (who I had secretly been trying to impress). My dad knew how hard I had tried and helped me understand that there was no shame in calling it a day and switching courses to something far more aligned with my interests and skillsets, so I moved to Psychology and loved it.
Taking our choices wisely and cutting our losses quickly is the topic of today's newsletter.
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15 WAYS SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS KNOW WHEN TO GIVE UP OR KEEP FIGHTING
This article has 15 concrete ways to assess whether the business is viable or should be canned. It says that failure is common, and usually precedes every success story. The trick is not to try to avoid failure but to develop a greater ability to assess a situation.
Passion alone is not enough to sustain a thriving business, it helps keep you sane through the inevitable ups and downs, but does not in any way guarantee success
The article poses a bunch of intuitive questions that if you were having doubts about your business, (or group, or team, or band, or hobby ++) you could talk yourself through, such as would you be happier without it? are you digging a financial hole? etc.
Read the full article here
Know When to Fold 'Em
This is not a business article, but it's on Oprah, and no one can argue with Oprah! It turns out there is actually a biological benefit of knowing when to throw in the towel.
Those that quit when facing unattainable goals suffer fewer health and mental problems than those that don't.
So how do you quit something? read and find out, there is some great advice in this article.
Read the full article here
How to Know When to Give Up
This is an amusing article that highlights the fact we are often hearing great stories of persistence, for example, Thomas Edison and his thousands of attempts before creating the lightbulb, and Albert Einstein failing to find work in physics, but rarely do we hear the stories where the moral is not "keep going", but "quit".
This is not an easy choice, as every decision is a trade-off, ie by doing A, you are sacrificing the opportunity to do B. And if we quit every time things got a little bit hard we would never make any progress. So how do you decide what to give up on, take a read and find out!
“ A good question, therefore, when you’re weighing whether or not to continue is if you have a clear idea of what you’d do instead.
Sometimes a project is hitting a rough patch, but it’s still the best idea you have of how you’ll reach your goals—you just need to push through. ” – Scott H. Young
The Power of Quitting - TEDx
Dr. Rachael Horner highlights the power of quitting, and how the negative connotations associated with quitting, for example being lazy, or being low achievers is untrue.
The fact is we all quit at some point, but often don't admit to it since our society admires hard work, perseverance, and success.
But there is a positive side to quitting, and that is to gain back our time for more worthwhile pursuits.
"gain back our time and energy that we were using on a deadend process" - Dr Rachael Horner
Know When -- and What -- to Give Up in Order to Move Forward
This article offers more on the same theme, ie that quitting is often looked down upon, however
"Knowing when to give in, or to cast off bad ideas, processes or people who hold you back is an unconventional skill thats absolutely necessary for building a successful business" - A.J. MacQuarrie
Know when and what to give up on to stop yourself going under.
Read the full article here
Did you know?
The articles above relate to quitting but don't forget that persevering in the face of adversity has been found to be a crucial success factor.
So don't quit too early or too lightly.
A recent study showed that the highpoints in our careers are random, they often do not relate to age, experience or working harder. They just happen.
This Harvard Business Review article highlights the fact that quitting too early might mean you are missing out on a success that is just around the corner. Read the article here.
Words of wisdom
Books on the bedside table this week.
I have just started this book, but so far so good. He is reminding us that growth for the sake of growth is rarely a good idea. That focus on your key strengths creates much more value in the long run, even if you end up with a smaller company.
I am looking forward to reading more.
Top Tip -
"Do less better"!.
"Imagine if we all focused on getting really good at what we do, then even better still"!
Always end with a thanks!
🙏Thanks to all my friends in BNI Energy, onwards and upwards!
Something to watch
Have a peek at my lastest videos where I talk to Kenneth Flaglien of Visma software about the purchase to pay process. (parts 1 & 2)
Thanks for reading & see you next time
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