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When to Quit

So it was that we were at an entrepreneurial convention looking for stories and we got to asking about the best bits of advice some of the seasoned vets might offer up for the young-bloods.
27 September, 2013


“I’ll give you three of the most important bits of advice I ever heard. So vital they have become my mantra and my manifesto. I say them as I go to sleep and when I wake up. They are all an entrepreneur need ever know.”

“Great, yes please Mr [famous dried meat millionaire].”

“Never give in, never give in, never give in.”

And his eyes twinkled and he swaggered off as if he’d just saved the economy and brought hope to a million dead-broke dreamers.

Real World

The thing is, as good as this advice is and as well intentioned it may have been, statistically, real-world speaking, it isn’t necessarily very sensible.

What if you should give in? What if your energy and creativity would be better applied, and more likely to see a return, elsewhere?


Most start-ups fail and not because the entrepreneur simply gives in. They fail because the timing, the processes or the idea itself is flawed. Part of being a successful entrepreneur is knowing when to cut your losses, when to make an informed, considered decision to move on.

Learn to separate emotional and business investment and to be objective about your work. Really wanting something is not reason enough to have it. Investing time in something doesn’t mean it will work.

Don’t quit, never give in. But don’t waste your life on some doomed scheme. Will it work? What do you need to make it work?