How Do I Know When to Pack It In?


Whenever someone asks me this question in a presentation, someone else invariably mumbles, “When the money runs out”, which seems an obvious answer but I don’t agree. I don’t think the commitment needed to “keep going” is linked to money or to our love of a particular industry, craft or trade. I think our ability to keep going is linked to something deeper within us, which matters enough to us to overcome adversity. I never set out to build an educational publishing business. I set out to become an available mother and built what I had to in order to make that possible.

There were times in our early development when the money ran out but the risk of borrowing more money to continue and grow further seemed less than the risk of losing what we had already invested and having to go back to corporate employment. Corporate employment for me meant dropping my very small children at daycare very early, fetching them very late and not being with them when they were sick. No risk, to me, was greater.

Developing our Vision Model, which is the first EnQ tool along the Path of the Lion, is critical to linking our sense of purpose and commitment to what matters most to us. Our clearly defined purpose is then linked to a specific dollar or rand amount and we plan carefully around how to achieve generating that amount. In my own journey, it took us 7 years to become profitable after expenses. But I was able to scrape enough together to keep me working for myself en route and be available to my children, and therefore it never occurred to me to give up. After 7 years we had just learned enough and become sufficiently entrenched into our market to make a bigger impact. We had also built a strong system of like-minded stakeholders. The Lion’s Paw Print, which is the second EnQ tool along the Path of the Lion, is all about the process of placing systems and stakeholders around us to leverage “what we got” and to fill in for “what we don’t got”.

It’s no coincidence that many of our stakeholders who built the company alongside us also wanted to be available parents. Our business supported a personal sense of purpose, that for many of us, translated into an uncompromising commitment and an incredibly productive work ethic.

So the question we should be asking and answering is not, “When do I pack it in?” but, “when do I adjust?” The last EnQ tool is the Business Focus Plan, which is a simple numbers tracking model to alert us early to what is working and what is not working in how we are approaching and running our business. This tool is our intimate connection to our pride and if we build it and work it effectively, we are able to adjust in time before too much damage is done, and the money runs out.

“Destiny is not a place. Destiny is a feeling”

Sandy Geyer


Educational Publisher, Author, Specialist sales trainer and business coach

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