This is a very sad question and there is no right or wrong answer here to be honest. When your small business that you have put in enormous time and energy is at a point that it is better to close the business than keep sinking good money into it, it’s not a great moment.
However, in saying this: you do have the opportunity to learn from this situation for the future. Whilst it appears you have lost your business, those thousands of hours, time and energy are not all for nothing. You are further progressed than when you first started your business.
You do not say whether you employed people, contractors or the like for your business. To be honest your first thoughts must go to these people, rather than to yourself. Why?
Because they invested their time and energy into your business and you need to ensure they are paid every last cent they are owed, including any superannuation entitlements. Please do not skimp on this aspect. Your future depends on being totally honest with these people and ensuring they are paid every entitlement they are owed. Work out a payment plan if necessary, for each and every person and ensure you stick to this.
Next go to your creditors and if necessary, negotiate an extension on any monies outstanding and ensure they are paid everything they are owed. They also believed in your business by extending credit to you in the first place.
The Tax Office
Then go to your accountant - yep, you now need to ensure that you pay the government any relevant taxes owing. Your accountant to be honest should be involved every step of the way, to ensure your employees/contractors and creditors receive their money in the first instance. If necessary, again negotiate with the Tax Office a repayment plan to ensure that you pay every tax $$$ that are due.
The above are the 3 biggies, so to speak. And, they are all very challenging conversations to be had. Yes, there will be hurt, bewilderment and anger expressed towards you and your business. However, in saying this, if you are upfront, honest and stick to your word to repay every last cent, you will come through this period wiser for the process and with your integrity intact. You will also set up a future where if you do decide to open another business, people will be willing to do business with you, albeit with some caveats.
There is another group of people you will have to have a very hard and honest conversation with and that is with your family. Your family have extended their love and their support to you more likely in many ways you will not be able to quantify to assist you to run your small business.
Then have a very long conversation with yourself. Discuss what went right and what went wrong with your business. Sometimes we do not know the answer to these 2 questions when we’re in the middle of operating the business and trying to meet all expectations. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, if used correctly. This is your opportunity to learn.
Now you can beat yourself up many times over, however, that is wasting your energy and emotions. Take a clear look over the business, even get your accountant involved or a trusted mentor and ascertain all the pearls of wisdom you can gain from the experience. You need to shore up all the positives you can get from the experience as they will assist you to handle the down times, the depression, the grieving and the loss.
Whether you decide in the future to open another small business or not, you have learnt heaps along the way. You are further progressed than when you first started your business. Hopefully you are older and wiser for the experience.
Remember the lessons learnt as they will stand you in good stead for the future, regardless of what your future does hold.
Remember you are a success. You are not a failure. I will repeat this: You are a success. You are not a failure.
You have tried, possibly given your all. Now that is success. Just because the business didn’t pan out the way you expected doesn’t mean you are a failure. It just means that the combination was not at the right time for you.
Take heart and keep on keeping on.
To Your Continued Success.
PS: If you after all your discussions and increased awareness, do decide that you would like to start another small business, you do have the opportunity to start an online business that will not break your bank. However, getting the right mentor and training will make all the difference to your success.
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