Without a doubt, perseverance is a core characteristic of every successful entrepreneur. You’ll never make it in the startup racket if you can’t push through some adversity. But there’s a difference between intelligent and insane perseverance. Not every business is long for this world. If you’ve got a loser on your hands, there’s no point in dying a slow, painful death. If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging! Cut it loose and move on.
How do you know when to fold ‘em? There’s no easy answer to this question. The only practical advice, that you probably won’t follow because it’s the hardest thing for a passionate entrepreneur to do, is to make sure that you don’t dig yourself into such a deep hole that you can’t get out. In other words, don’t invest all of your retirement savings and home equity into your business. Make sure that you have a safety net. It’s intelligent to be financially committed, but insane to have your entire net worth on the line. It’s better to lose the battle and still have a shot at winning the war.
Another important piece of advice – if you do have to shut down, realize that there’s no shame in it. Serial entrepreneurs invariably say they learned a lot more from their failures than their successes. Take the lessons you learned and use them to make your next company even better.