When Should You Give Up On Your Big Idea?

Stephen King once wrote a book called “On Writing” in which he details his ideas about what it takes to be a truly great writer. He says that it was the hardest thing he ever had to write. I’m not going to talk much about what the book was about because this blog is primarily about marketing and lead generation. However, one passage sticks out for me and is something that I think is important here.

To paraphrase, King said something about when it was appropriate to finally give up on trying to become a published author. He said he wasn’t really sure. After 6 rejections? Certainly not, he said. After 60? No. After 600? Maybe. After 6,000? His words stick with me – “after six thousand tries, my friend, it is time to find a new vocation.” (or something to that effect – I read it many years ago and have long since misplaced my copy of the book).

So when is it time to give up on your business idea and try something else? Mind you, we’ll assume that you’ve already launched and that you had a reasonably good reason to launch to begin with.

Can You Afford to Go On?

The first and biggest question to ask yourself is, can you afford to keep going? Unfortunately, people can’t eat great ideas. Rent and electricity bills are not paid by good intentions. Thus, if you were able to raise a certain amount of capital and you absolutely cannot find more then you need to figure out at what point the money is gone and it’s time to pack up, painful though it may be. Buying a bunch of lottery tickets isn’t the answer either by the way. Although, before you give up due to lack of funding, be sure to turn over every stone looking for new funding sources from angel investors and venture capitalists.

Have You Seen Any Interest?

If you built up a business for yourself and you are basically seeing zero interest from your potential customers, you need to ask yourself why that is. You may truly believe you have a great idea. However, after a year or two of really trying to build up your new business, if you find that you simply are not able to get customers, perhaps it’s time to tweak the idea or simply walk away. Even if you firmly believe you have a great idea – after a certain point, it’s time to accept that there just doesn’t seem to be a market for what you have for sale.

Do You Still Believe?

Probably the most important metric to consider here is whether you still believe in the product that you have for sale. Do you still believe that it’s something people would want to buy? If you no longer believe it’s worth anything then it’s going to be that much harder for you to convince other people that your big idea is worth something to them.

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