If You Find Yourself in a Hole, First Stop Digging
I have found that I’m a total sucker for the “sunk cost fallacy” in business. The Sunk Cost Fallacy states that we’re less inclined to stop something or give something up if we’ve already invested time into it. Ergo, most of us have clothes in our closets that we never wear that we refuse to give away because they were expensive. Or, you force yourself to attend a performance you’re not interested in because we already bought the tickets. Or, you stay in a relationship longer than you should because of the sacrifices you have already endured because of it.
I have run into this numerous times in a variety of ways in my business: not getting rid of clients that were making me miserable because “well, they’re paying me,” refusing to let go of a contractor/employee who is causing issues because I’ve already invested in bringing them up to speed; or putting too much time into a losing prospect, but hope that you can turn it around with just one more call.
An insidious version of this for me is the multitude of SAAS programs that I subscribe to each month. I have invoicing programs, proposal programs, social media manager programs, graphic design programs, etc. At times, I can spend hundreds of dollars a month on programs that I may only use a few times a year. And, I at times, I’ll debate getting rid of something saying “I’ve been paying for it for six months and have never looked at it, but that just makes it that much more important that I use it!”
No one likes to be thought of as a quitter, but sometimes you need to let something go. Don’t hold onto sunk costs when those resources (time, money and attention) can be used for something more beneficial.
"No matter how far you've gone down the wrong road, turn back." - Turkish Proverb