Seth Godin’s The Dip-How to Know When It’s Time to Quit

I just finished reading a little book titled “The Dip” by Seth Godin, author and CEO of the social networking website My friend Jo lent me the book and told me that it was about a strange but profound topic-when to quit.

It doesn’t take long to read as it’s less than 100 pages and it was really eye opeing.. Seth’s point is that unlike what we’ve been taught (to never quite), strategic quitting is what will end up making you succeed. He says,

“All our successes are the same. All our failures, too.

We succeed when we do something remarkable.

We fail when we give up too soon.

We succeed when we are the best in the world at what we do.

We fail when we get distracted by tasks we don’t have the guts to quit.”

How can we use the “quitting strategy” as entrepreneurs? When do we hesitate to quit when we should? You’ve wanted to start a business for some time, but you still haven’t done it.

It’s time to quit being stuck and to take action. One of the symptoms business owners have when they’re stuck is analysis paralysis-researching, reading, gathering data, seeking advice, mulling over ideas and never taking action.

This can happen to business owners when they’re not sure which direction to head in, because there are so many possibilities. I’ve been there too, believe me. That’s the time when you need to revisit your long-term goals and decide which course of action will be the straightest line to those goals. Then take action. Because even if it ends up being the wrong action-it’s okay to quit! It’s better to take some action based than to never move forward at atll. Seth says we need to distinguish between quitting when things get tough but are still moving us slowly toward our goal (not a good idea), and quitting because we’ve reached a dead end or we’re spinning our wheels (a very good idea).

You can’t move forward in your business because you don’t have enough time or help.

It’s time to quit micro managing and quit overrating the necessity of controlling everything. At some point if you want forward movement, more clients, more money, more time, you’re going to have to quit your resistance to adding people to your team. That may mean an outsourced team or an employee. It doesn’t matter. Just do it.

If you’re crazy busy, then it’s time to outsource. Yes it will cost you money and yes you will temporarily decrease your profit margin, but when you begin filling up the time that’s now free with business building activities, you’ll likely dramatically increase profits. It’s like one step back, four steps forward.

You can’t seem to penetrate your market.

According to Seth, you need to be the best, the go-to company in your little niche. You also need to enter a market that you can penetrate; one that’s not so huge that your message gets totally lost because you’re the little guy without the resources to compete against the big guys who dominate that market.

Of course you could identify a small, well defined niche within that market and go for that.

And you need to keep trying to reach more and more people in your target market. If your business isn’t growing, it could be that there aren’t enough people in your market who know about you. You haven’t created “buzz”.

This is not the time to throw up your hands and quit in frustration, but to find new, creative ways to reach people who don’t know about your company now.

Your business or business model is becoming obsolete.

Technology is causing the marketplace to change so fast, it’s dizzying. If you’re a small business owner whose business or way of doing business is becoming obsolete it’s time to get out of your comfort zone, quit it, and re-invent or update yourself.

What kinds of businesses are fading fast? Seth mentions newspapers. Other types of print advertising are fading as well. CD’s and DVD’s are on their way out as downloadable music and movies become more popular. Running your business without a website or strong online presence is obsolete, yet lots of small business owners still do it.

Take a look at your business and decide, right now, what’s not serving your goals anymore and, well, quit it.

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