How do you tell when it’s the right time to close a business?

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English: This is my picture of a closed sign. ...
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It’s the hardest thing to do. To make a decision to close a business, a new small business, or project, when it is ailing or failing. But sometimes it just has to be done.

I remember the sense of failure I felt when I had to close down one of my small businesses. I had been very excited in getting it off the ground, finding the necessary legal structure, obtaining an import and VAT license and starting to trade through retail outlets. But after trying for about two years to get that business up and running I was faced with a tough decision. I did my reflection. I did my calculations. I defined the problem. I diagnosed the underlying causes. And you know what, I had no choice but to close the business.

The thing is when it comes to operating in the real world of business, theories can be useless, especially those concocted in some business schools that ignore factors that don’t support their theories. In a business it’s the facts that count. Some business schools may be exceptional at marketing their ideas and theories but you adopt them or use them at your own peril. There is one theory that’s prevalent these days but you’ll never find it in what I write about in this blog. Slowly, well-meaning, smart people are seen this theory’s flaws and giving it a go because of its “shaky evidence” and the selective case studies that support it.

In your own decision-making, when you have to make tough decisions, it’s well worth remembering the common biases that affect business decisions such as excessive optimism and overconfidence. We have to be extremely careful of over estimating the probability of positive events and underestimating the possibility of negative ones. The sooner we get over our excessive optimism, the quicker we can be at finding the facts and taking action. When we are overconfident we overestimate our skills level and our ability to produce results. If we’re not careful, we start to take credit for past positive outcomes and don’t admit that other factors, perhaps even random, play an important role.

One business adviser who works with small to medium-sized professional service businesses pointed out some time back that there are now about 200 million blogs out there. Some say blogs are good for generating leads but often you see blogs that have run out of steam and are either underperforming or not performing at all. I’ve done some reflection on my blog on several occasions to do a reality check and a rethink. Yes, it attracts a lot of traffic but not the level of opt-ins I would like. I haven’t yet decided to shut down this blog because I want to stay the course to provide the information that I think is essential to people who may be looking for an alternative way to make income when most doors have been shut in their face. Right from the beginning my belief has been to show people not to give up but find ways in which they can build their own sources of income no matter their circumstances. I’ve told many good business stories so far and still have some more to tell.

We all know that you may need more than a great idea to succeed. I’ve tried to give you practical tools in “Breakthrough Ideas” to develop, distribute, market, sell and deliver your product or service. Here’s the link.

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