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How do you know when it is time to kill your start-up?

Regina Potter's Profile

It's a hard decison. What are some best/creative ways to proceed?


Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Make a plan.
Determine the best course to take for you, your employees, your customers (if any) and your vendors.

Communicate the plan.
Let them know the plan and which parts affect them.

Execute the plan.
Once you decide to pull the trigger, do it. There is no reason to prolong the inevitable, which in the long run should save you money and emotional stress.

Topic Expert
Dana Price
Title: Vice President, M&A
Company: McGraw Hill Education
(Vice President, M&A, McGraw Hill Education) |

When you want to kill your co-founders, when you cannot achieve MVP, when you have run out of money or can't raise any money. Or if you find yourself in need of medical benefits. Then follow Wayne's advice.

Mark Stokes
Title: CFO
Company: Private
(CFO, Private) |

It may be a lot later than you think. I have been at two companies that, simply by dint of surviving, of hanging around, managed to get to far superior outcomes. I've done a lot of startups and I did have one hit the wall. Ouch! But I've had many others make it to a variety of outcomes, a couple of them genuinely nice outcomes. Each time, it seemed as if the walls were closing around us. But each time we managed to give ourselves life, either through massive restructuring, or sticking around long enough to hit a fundable milestone.

So while I agree with Wayne as to the course of action once you are well and truly at the wall, I also find too many folks' primary reaction when initially faced with the wall is "I surrender". I am NOT saying that this is what you are doing. Every circumstance is unique. But if there's anything there of value, ask yourself these simple questions: 1)Do I believe there could be a good outcome for this company if we can just hang on, and 2)What do we have to do to hang on. Just live baby! Make it to the next day. Go back to two gals in a garage/living room. Whatever it takes. Keep the product out there, give others a chance to come to you with an offer. Just live.


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