When I started my company three years ago, I had many occasions and some very good excuses to "give up", in fact, not even to start. Let’s see, some of the common excuses known to man include: "I can’t afford it! It might not work! I don’t know how! There are too many obstacles! What if no one buys…?" and on and on it goes. But for me, the decisive moment was to answer the question "what if…"? What if someone does want what I have to offer? Then indeed it is my duty, my calling, to respond to the need. It was imperative that I not allow my entrepreneurial dream to happen without me.
My dream was to design a stylish laptop case that people would enjoy carrying and that would become a fashion accessory. I developed the concept from my business school class project with my sister Helena. Hence, we set out to make this idea come to fruition.
The entrepreneurial journey is wrought with winding roads and multiple paths that are open for discovery. There is always a certain temptation at any point along the way to throw in the proverbial towel and possibly consider procuring a "real job". But when this fleeting thought crosses the mind, one quickly snaps back to entrepreneurial sanity upon consideration of the alternatives.
Many times it is the thought of the alternative that keeps us committed to our goals. One fact remains, there is no easy way out and there is not always one way to achieve ones goals. However, if one happens to get caught up in the roller coaster of uncertainty, it is advisable to slow down, re-examine the situation, then start again with a clearer head.
Being an entrepreneur and staying the course is a highly personalized process. However, there are some universal principals from which we can all benefit. To help shed some light on the subject of how does one decide whether to go forward with a particular business venture, I spoke with serial and veteran entrepreneur Barbara Koz Paley of Art Assets, LLC in New York. "If you quit you’re dead", was her response. Here are her three action steps:
1- Be flexible — review your personal and business skills and determine what may need to be changed to capture the opportunity;
2- Look at the numbers — compare opportunities to evaluate the most feasible outcome;
3- Switch — don’t be afraid to change course if there appears to be a more suitable business idea to pursue.
Whatever you decide, do something that you can live with and that will make you happy. The idea of never giving up does not mean one should toss caution to the wind and be foolhardy. If something does not work no matter how hard you try, then maybe it is not going to work. Then on the other hand, if one has a good reason to quit and does not, does that necessarily mean the person is quixotic or possibly masochistic? It would be naive to pretend that the average entrepreneur does not possess some of these qualities on any given day. So what keeps this breed of species going? It is the vision which becomes a mission, the knowledge that if you do not do it, someone else will, when you should have - the thought that you will regret it forever if you do not. Now, can you truly afford to give up?!