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Updated: Dec 31, 2021

You are not alone! At some point on an entrepreneur's journey, they've said: “I want to give up on my business!” Failure is more common than you may think. We are human after all.

If you spent months or even years thinking about and nurturing your business idea until it became a registered business, then you know that shutting it down isn’t going to be a decision that you make lightly. But that difficult decision has to be made. You cannot keep trying to push water up a hill.

Here are some of the signs that I put together that could tell you when it’s time to give up and stop persisting...

You know, deep down that you have given it longer than you should

If you can honestly say that you did everything you can and could to keep it afloat, then maybe it’s time to let go. You weren’t designed to do only one thing.

You have other business ideas that could yield better results if you focused your energy there

I’m sure you have other ideas. When all that’s left in running your business is passion-free frustration; and you know that if you focused your energy on another venture you could get an even better payoff, then you could consider channelling your energy there instead.

You are no longer passionate or enthusiastic about it

Being an entrepreneur is already clouded with self-doubt, fear, risk and many other family and societal pressures. What keeps people hard at the grind is the love, passion and enthusiasm for what they do, among other motivators. If this all goes away and the business books don’t look too good, it could be time to cut the business loose and redirect your energy.

You are racking up debt

This point could easily go without saying, but it should definitely be mentioned. Passion projects have a way of ‘blinding’ you from clearly seeing the depth of the financial hole you may have dug yourself into. If you’re swimming in debt, consider changing course.

The market is telling you that it is a dead-end venture

Your niche or industry is seeing a big decline, the prices aren’t right for you or your clientele, there is no demand for your product, what you offer is something people are not willing to pay for...these are all signs that the odds are not in your favour. Sometimes, these could have nothing to do with demand and supply, and everything to do with regulations or the law. If legal restrictions and local regulations inhibit your business, then your success may be out of your hands in this particular market. (Point 2 applies)

You’re hurting yourself and/or your family

If you are dwelling on a dead-end business to the detriment of your health and your contributions to your family and friendships, then it may be time to shift gears or change direction. Money will come and go, so be sure to prioritise your health and the relationships that are important to you.


These are in no way all the signs to look out for. Further, the reality of business is that it could take years before you start seeing real positive business results. Nobody ever is or was an overnight success. Like many of the big decisions we make in our businesses or life, there is no right or wrong answer to choose from, and no good or bad times to make the decisions. Use your better judgement. At the end of the day, let the data, your skills and intuition be your guide.

Good luck,




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