knowing when to hold and when to fold

The March/April edition of Inc. Magazine has an article about John Zimmer, Co-Founder and President of Lyft. In this article, John talked about a key investor who advised them to shut down early in the launch, when it appeared that Uber was growing too rapidly to catch.

A similar scenario hit Edoc during our early days and cash crisis when a good friend/advisor suggested we consider closing up shop. John Zimmer goes on to say that the advice resulted in his team becoming more energized which saved the company, bringing them to where they are today, a major player in entrepreneurial transportation.

It was the same with me. The naysayer advice only strengthened my resolve to fix the problem and make it work! Here we are 22 years later, a successful enterprise.

It was also during that first year or two when, desperate for business, I stumbled upon a company desiring a brochure re-design and print. When I stopped by, the CEO was holding a meeting with his C-level team.  I offered to return later, and the receptionist stated she was sure the CEO wanted to meet with me right away. She interrupted the meeting and the CEO seemed excited to see me, invited me in and introduced me to the staff. He explained his frustration that involved the color of the piece; he was looking for a specific shade. I could see this was out of my capability and turned the project over to a printer colleague in a networking group who was more than eager for the work. The printer did the work and the very day it was completed, she received a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy letter that the client company was going out of business. Can you believe it? The CEO interrupted a meeting with his top-level staff over the color of a stupid brochure when his company was going down the tubes!

So here is the question for business leaders and owners to ponder: At what point do you have to admit it is a losing battle and pull the plug? In view of a present crisis, do I shut down or carry on risking a serious well of debt? I have known a few owners who have foolishly done just that.

The best answer I can come up with is this: When you really know in your heart the business is going to succeed no matter what, yet still wise enough to know you are not just “straightening the chairs on the Titanic”. Carry on!

Jim Mullaney

Jim Mullaney

READ MORE: If you like this article you will want to read “The Battle for Disruption”

Jim Mullaney is President and CEO of Edoc Service, Inc. a total remote company that helps other businesses with tools and services for greater productivity and collaboration.