‘Should I Start a Business?’ is Drastically Different to an Entrepreneur’s ‘Quit or Persist dilemma’

Many questions keep entrepreneurs and small business owners awake at night.

Deciding whether to quit or persist in particular maybe one of the most challenging. For an invested entrepreneur (blood, sweat, tears, and often all the money s/he could get their hands on) the decision of whether to quit or persist is challenging and serious.

Having had my fair share of sleepless nights mulling over this dilemma in a past phase of my career, I can only imagine the hope some entrepreneurs and small business owners had when like me they saw Bruce Kasanoff’s ‘Is It Time to Quit, or to Be Persistent?’ on linkedin.

Kasanoff’s questions/guidance on this critical and emotional dilemma

1. Can you prove it? Kasanoff’s idea here is to “test your potential success by proving you have what it takes to succeed”. The idea of getting an indication on the chances of success through performing a test of potential is extremely useful and indeed a very good idea.

2. Can you explain it easily? Indeed very useful if not necessary for the success of many ventures.

3. Is it repeatable? According to Kasanoff “If other people can’t describe what you want, then the odds are very low you will get what you want.” So people should be able to explain your idea to others.

But these questions seem more relevant to the ‘Should I start?’ question

Whilst the advice provided in Kasanoff’s article is very relevant to someone that is just getting started, it does not seem (to me) to offer any help to an entrepreneur struggling with the question posed in the title of his article ‘Is It Time to Quit, or to Be Persistent?’.

Our man in the picture

By the time an intelligent entrepreneur or small business owner has to face this serious and challenging dilemma, s/he would have “tested their potential of success” in quite a few ways; from generating initial sales, to raising funding, to getting a team on board etc.. They would have also honed their pitch and made it easily repeatable. In a lot of cases an entrepreneur would even have paying and profitable customers (if not also a profit making business) yet still face the quit or persist dilemma.

Inconveniently, the question of whether to quit or persist is unlikely to be answered in 3 questions in a brief article, and I do not believe that the 3 questions asked in Kasanoff’s article are the most relevant.

The comfort and certainty of mind needed to advance

I’m almost certain I will have to face this same dreaded question again at some point in my career. However hopefully then there will be more and specific guidance on this topic which can provide an invested human being with sufficient comfort and certainty of mind to either persist by taking action that improves the chances of success or pivot partially/completely to fulfil their potential elsewhere.

Deciding whether to quit or persist is one of many questions that keep an entrepreneur awake at night. Attempting to add more comfort and certainty of mind around some of these questions, in upcoming writings I will endeavour to my best ability to share any insight and experience which may in part aide entrepreneurs and small business owners in reaching decisions they can advance with.

Ahmed Mansour, 

Managing Partner – In Your Space & The Clear Idea

MSc Advanced Marketing Management, Lancaster University Management School

This article is the start of a series of writings aimed at sharing insight and experience from the coal face of entrepreneurship and small business.

[Originally posted and shared on Linkedin]

Since, beyond being a ghostwriter, part of my business is to analyse the market scenario, guiding my customers choices (or simply, giving them some tips), here I am with my own short list:


  1. After having found your “GREAT IDEA”, You must have analysed your scenario. The market seems ready. Your product/service seems at least as good as your competitors one. But you have also to find a plus (or a reason why) others don’t.
  2. You must have a good strategy, and a dynamic plan to act.
  3. You are willing to test yourself (and your performance), fixing a time within reaching success. You are ready to quit if not.

On the other hand…


  1. The scheduled time is gone (months or ages ago), without reaching your goal.
  2. Something unpredictable happened and you don’t have anymore the strenght or even the chance to succeed.
  3. You are losing more and more money. And effectiveness. Your reveniew is drammatic.  You are sad or not anymore in love with your initial “great idea”. You are wasting your time, and literally frittering away your whole life, which is deeply connected with what you do and how you feel.



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