Sometimes the best business lessons are really life lessons. Do you know the song “The Gambler”? This song hits the nail on the head: “Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run”. How can you apply this to various aspects of your business?
How about employees? Know who to keep happy (hold ’em), Know who to correct (fold ’em), Know when to pick your battles; if someone wants to leave, know if they are not worth trying to save (walk away), and know when to run: Know who needs to be terminated. Take a minute to think about your current employees. Where do they fit on this scale? Are you taking the appropriate action? If not, what’s holding you back?
You can apply the same thinking to your clients. Do you have any that you need to course correct? Do you try to hang onto clients that you should really let go? Do you know which clients you should terminate? Are you taking these actions?
And the big one – Your business! Is it time to grow your business or keep your current course (hold ’em)? Maybe it’s time to fold ’em – Give up on some of the things that aren’t working and try something new. Have you waited to long to fold ’em? Then it might be time to walk away. It’s better to walk away before you’ve lost it all. If it’s just not working, walk before you have to run. Hopefully, it’s not time to run…that means you’re personally financing the business without the ability to do so and “hoping” it will get better.
After you take some time think about what stage your business is currently in, then take some time to think about what indicates each stage for you. I’ve met far too many business owners who simply did not know when to walk away. They spent far to long in the “fold ’em” stage or as Dr. Suess would say “the waiting place”. Waiting for things to get better. While waiting, their lives begin to crumble…not just the business. Right now, you need to decide: “How will I know when it’s time to walk away?” Can you put a dollar figure on it? What is it not worth losing? Write it down. Remember it. And if you are trending towards that mark, take immediate and aggressive action to move the other direction. If the action doesn’t work, walk away before you’ve risked more than you are willing to put at stake.