Don't Throw in the Towel Before You Answer These 4 Questions The paradox of entrepreneurship is that you must never quit and you must know when to embrace failure.

By Marty Fukuda

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


The word "quit" has many negative connotations. Some might even suggest that it doesn't exist in a winner's vocabulary. While that theory makes sense on paper, it's not healthy or realistic. As renowned business consultant Jim Collins put it, sometimes a "stop doing" list can be more productive than a "to do" list.

Quitting may be the best option, but it should never be a decision you arrive at lightly. How do you know when it's ok? Ask yourself these questions first:

1. Am I giving up too soon?

Along the path to success, even the most prepared and talented will encounter setbacks. A speed bump should never stop a plan from coming together. If you determine that an obstacle is surmountable – and that you have a good chance to move past it – then surrender is premature.

Related: Are You Quitting Too Soon or Staying With It Too Long?

2. Am I abandoning a goal for an emotional or strategic reason?

Entrepreneurs and business leaders set challenging targets with grand objectives. Since the difficulty level is high, long hours, naysayers, and push-back come with the territory.

Vince Lombardi once said, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." The aforementioned challenges can wear down even the most energetic and confident -- and the cumulative effect is exhausting. In moments of vulnerability, be cautious. Do not succumb to the temptation to take the easier road. If going in a different direction is the right move for your business, do so because it's the appropriate strategy, rather than the path of least resistance.

Related: 3 Signs That You Should Shut Down Your Business

3. Have I given it a fair shake?

It's easy to live with the decision to stop short of your goal when you can look at yourself in the mirror and see someone who gave it their all. But when the reflection you see is an individual who did less than their best, that's when doubt can strike. If you have invested 100 percent, you'll be able to move on without regret. If you haven't, charge ahead until you have accomplished your vision -- or exhausted your efforts.

4. Do I have the right attitude and energy to turn this around?

Maybe your strategy, team and timing are spot on, but the missing link is you. If so, it's time to do a mental check-up and right the ship. Feeling burnt out impacts effort and makes you fall far short of your potential. Figure out a way to reinvigorate your spirit and march on.

When hitting that fork in the road, only you can decide whether to throw in the towel. By asking some honest questions first, you'll gain confidence that you've made the right decision.

Related: 5 Reasons Why I Quit My Own Business to Work for Someone Else

Marty Fukuda

Chief Operating Officer of N2 Publishing

Chicago native Marty Fukuda is the chief operating officer of N2 Publishing, overseeing operations at its corporate headquarters in Wilmington, N.C. He first joined the company as an area director in 2008 after working in the direct sales and print industries. 

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