Don’t fan the mummy
If something doesn’t work, don’t keep on spending time and money on it
I originally heard the expression “fan the mummy” 15 years ago from my first lawyer. I didn’t fully understand it at the time. After many years as a businessman and several as an investor, it seems like a spot-on and much-needed expression.
If an investment, project, company or client doesn’t make a comeback after several attempts, changes or failed tests, it’s time to move on to something else. You’re bound to know examples of investments or companies that were lurching around for years and that finally succeeded in taking off again, but that doesn’t usually happen. These examples tend to be huge companies, like Apple or Marvel, which were on the verge of bankruptcy and today move hundreds of billions. Despite experiencing incredible lows, these companies had patents, rights and securities, at the very minimum. That’s not the normal situation. I’ve seen many companies close that had fantastic teams but didn’t quite work out how to make a turnover or that entered the market too soon.
Sometimes you see zombie companies that don’t die but don’t recover either, entrepreneurs that need more money but can’t hit on a business model. These companies might come back to life but usually, unfortunately, you’re wasting your time and money. Remember that being an entrepreneur and investing are high risk activities; no one likes to fail but it comes with the territory.
So remember, during your life as an investor and businessperson there will be countless moments when you should ask yourself this question: am I fanning a mummy? Only you’ll know the answer, but never forget to ask yourself the question.