Years ago I wrote a Business Plan and in it I wrote out my Exit Strategy (as was provided and documented in the template) and filled it in.
I showed it to someone and they asked why was I thinking exit on Day One.
Good point and I probably did not need to write it down in the business plan but it is important to know at what point you need to get out. At what point has the burden of starting something new become new heavy to bear and when is it time to move on.
For me it has always come down to an evaluation and identification of my Levels of Success and the Failure Path.
Levels of My Success
Take your utmost, successful result, keep it realistic and that is your ultimate success path. Now whittle it down to something that might be smaller but still successful. For instance, everyone owning a copy of a book you just published, it keeps flying off the shelves, people are buying copies for their unborn children (the last part might be going outside of the realm of realism but you get the gist) – this is the top of your success. But at the low end of the success scale it might be a published ebook that someone outside of my immediate family has purchased, read and left a comment on.
From there you need to ask yourself whether that is enough to keep going, whether that is enough for you to keep putting in the late nights and the extra hours and keep going.
The Failure Path
At this point, you are beyond success, it’s not going to come and/or while you are grinding towards it, it needs something more, another push, a little more sweat and maybe a ton more tears. So here it is – how far are you willing to go? What is that worst place that you are willing to be in and are you willing to live there for 3 months, 6 months, a year? Is it maxing out all of the company’s credit? What about your personal credit? What about re-mortgaging your house?
What is the line in the sand that you are no longer willing to pass if things go south?
So there it is- my success and failure paths when starting something new – not exact science (definitely not of the rocket variety) – but definitely helps me figure out how far I want to go in making something happen.