The Entrepreneur Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question “How do you know it’s time to drop your startup idea?” is written by Craig Morantz, CEO of Kira Talent.
Before I discuss dropping your startup idea, I thought I should offer a few reasons why you shouldn’t. Never give up on your business because you’re scared. Never give up because you’re tired. Never give up because you’re angry, unsure of yourself, or don’t have the answers. Never give up because you think you have all of the answers. Never give up because you’re resentful. But if things truly aren’t working, it’s a good idea to take a step back.
When I came on board as CEO of the company I’m currently at, it was difficult to gain traction with our target audience of recruiters and hiring managers. The market was crowded, and HR administrators were inundated with talent assessment platforms similar to ours. It was safe to say that the HR industry wasn’t working, and we needed to pivot. The team was tired and unsure—but not ready to give up.
Instead of walking away, we took a step back and reassessed our business model. We asked ourselves, “What do we do well?” The answer: We help people assess communication skills, measure fit, and uncover what can't be found on paper. We bring applicants to life and we have a way for small teams to meet thousands of applicants without setting or conducting in-person interviews. Then we brainstormed untapped markets that could benefit from a bit more humanity. We already had a client in the higher education space and decided that
industry was the perfect fit for our platform.
Once we made the decision to change our focus and pivot into a new industry, the company was reinvigorated. Admissions officials embraced the opportunity to better evaluate candidates using our platform because it brought a fresh way for students to apply to college programs. What’s more, many schools were reporting that the platform helped with other issues like admissions fraud, which was previously difficult to detect. By realizing that the original startup idea wasn’t working and pivoting from HR to college admissions, the company found its niche, which allowed us to become one of the fastest-growing companies in the ed-tech space.
If you’re thinking about dropping your startup, you’re probably not giving yourself enough credit. But it’s also possible that you’re giving yourself too much credit, which can be equally as dangerous. The fact is that the majority of us beat ourselves up when our startup doesn’t see the kind of success we’d hoped, which can lead to the temptation to quit. But instead of walking away, take a step back. Look at what your company does well and think about how it can be implemented in a different way. If you’re willing to pivot away from what’s not working and embrace what could, then your startup might just go farther then you ever imagined.