13 Telltale Signs It’s Time To Sunset A Project Or Product

What is one sign you look for when deciding whether or not to sunset a new project, service or product? Why is this sign so crucial?

Product devlopers discussing

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

1. Your MVP Isn’t Working Out

Before committing fully to a project, we always create a minimum viable product. A lot of times we feel that our ideas will work. We’ve done our research and conducted customer surveys, but even customer surveys can be misleading. The only way you know for sure a project will succeed is to develop an MVP and let the market tell you if it is going to work out. – Matt Diggity, Diggity Marketing

2. People Aren’t Using It

A sustained decrease in usage of your service or product could be a signal your users are no longer interested in what you’re offering or that your offering is no longer providing value to them. Reach out to active users and get their first-hand feedback and verify if this is the case. If it is, try to adjust the service or product. If this is not possible, then consider retiring it. – Jack Tai, OneClass

3. Your Numbers Are Lacking

If you’re repeatedly missing targets, then it may be time to sunset your product. Your numbers should increase as production moves forward, so if your sales and revenue are lacking, then consider sunsetting the project. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

4. There Are No Remaining Pivots

One sign is customer feedback — if it’s consistently negative, it may be time to simply pivot and change directions. Many times this is the obvious solution. However, if you can’t give any more to meet the needs of the clients and there no remaining pivots on the project, then it’s time to sunset. – Warren Jolly, adQuadrant

Organic food business

5. It’s Holding You Back from Future Opportunities

Sunsetting something is never easy. There’s always someone somewhere who’s really passionate about it. The sign that it’s time to sunset is when the old product becomes a burden on future growth and future opportunities. If it’s holding you back more than it’s helping you, cut it loose. – Ryan D Matzner, Fueled

6. The Opportunity Cost Isn’t Worth the Net Gain

It’s easy to feel committed to a project you’ve already invested time and energy into. However, you may find that your resources are better utilized when you focus on other initiatives instead. Ultimately, you have to learn to accept sunk costs and move ahead only with projects that have a larger net gain. – Firas Kittaneh, Zoma Mattress

7. It’s Not Gaining Traction

When a product is not gaining enough traction, it could be time to let it go. Seeing the way users are interacting and the way the market is receiving it is a great way to tell if it’s time to sunset the product. – Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc.

8. You Can’t See Yourself Pushing Through to the Ultimate Rewards

Seth Godin’s book “The Dip” covers a great mindset to assess this type of question. Every project we take on has an initial learning curve that is easy but the benefits come after getting through the “hard part.” Ask yourself whether you see the company pushing through to the ultimate rewards or are you more likely to let it sit at an earlier stage? – Karl Kangur, Above House

9. Your Objectives Aren’t Being Met

It may be time to sunset a new project when it becomes clear that the objectives you set out to achieve simply can’t be met based on the parameters of the project in terms of expense, the time needed and available resources. This is crucial because it allows you to sunset the new project without significantly affecting business operations and profits. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

Analyzing business growth potential

10. The Costs Outweigh the Benefits

Does the product contribute benefits that outweigh the costs? Decide based on the data: revenue, growth, customer lifetime value, operational costs. Is the product contributing something valuable, whether that’s profit, a marketing advantage, or a technology that can be applied to other projects? If not, sunsetting may well be justified. – Chris Madden, Matchnode

11. You’re Seeing Internal Resistance

Your employees know your brand well and even embody it in their work and performance. If your new product or service does not make sense to your people and if they are resistant to it, it may be necessary to reconsider its use. Any new addition to your workplace needs to make sense and add value to your employees’ jobs. If it doesn’t, it may need to go. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

12. Customers Aren’t Excited About It

One sign is a lack of customer enthusiasm. Generally, If I make something that no one is excited about, then I know it’s time to walk away. – Ashley Merrill, Lunya

13. You Don’t Have a Direction for It

It’s not enough to know the general direction you want to push a new project, service or product. You need to understand how you’ll reach those goals. If you don’t have a clear path, you may need to put your vision on hold. When you take the time to analyze your goals, it becomes easier to find out how to turn your dreams into reality. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights