Rise From the Ashes.
We’re all familiar with Microsoft, however, did you know that Bill Gates and Paul Allen’s first venture was Traf-O-Data? It sold just one unit before the business dissolved. It’s important to understand that failing at a business does not make you a failure and it certainly doesn’t mean your next venture will fail. Learning from your mistakes is key to growing as a leader and knowing when it’s time to close the doors on your business can save you time, money, relationships and most importantly your health and wellness. When it’s time to move on, make sure you take advantage of the experience you have gained in the process.
So WHEN is it time to close the doors and move on? A few factors should help influence your decision when making this tough call, and remember a wise and cooler head should prevail so make sure you have trusted people who can help guide you through this difficult time. For some of you, just because your business might be coming to an end, doesn’t mean the relationships and contacts you have built also need to end. These people may carry on in your next venture so keep and maintain your contacts and social networks such as LinkedIn, which make this infinitely easier to manage.
“To gain the world and lose your soul” is not the benchmark you want to set for yourself when it comes to success, so here are some signs to be aware of when your business is going off track.
Health and Wellness
Signs to look for when it’s time to end your business include problems in your personal life. Sacrificing time with important people such as family and loved ones consistently for the sake of the business just to stay afloat is one of the most significant signs that something is wrong. Constant pressure and stress and failing health are also strong signs that you need to step away from the business and take a second look at what’s most important to yourself. Sometimes the solution can be that you need to delegate if your business is expanding, but if that is not the case, it’s time to take a closer look and see if it’s worth keeping the business going.
Creativity and Passion
There are going to be days when you wake up and you question ‘Why are you doing this?’ If this becomes your every day, then it’s time to rethink your why. A great resource to help are Simon Sinek’s books “Start With Why” and “Find Your Why.” This will help you go more in-depth in finding your purpose for your business and why you get up every morning. If your business has become a daily grindstone rather than an opportunity to learn and grow your business, then it’s either time to rethink why and if it’s what you really want to be doing with your time and money.
Innovation and Growth
If your product or service is falling behind in the market and your customers are going elsewhere for a better and cheaper version, then it might be time to innovate or let go. Losing customers and a sharp decline in profits are clear signs that something is going wrong. It’s good practice to establish a time frame and a benchmark to measure the growth of your company, products or services. If you find that any of these are not reaching the benchmark and are exceeding the time frame, then it’s time to consider letting it go or closing it.
When Closing Your Business
When closing a business, you should make sure to check these off your list. Properly dissolving your corporation by following the rules will help make sure no unexpected surprises come back to bite especially when you start a new venture. Make sure you pay off all your debts. This may seem obvious but if you are struggling to pay, consult a lawyer and debtors to decide a plan of action of a payment schedule. This also includes the tax department and consulting a trusted accountant to help keep track of payroll for employees, assets and creditors, which can sometimes become complicated very quickly. Remember to cancel all business licenses, permits, warrants, subscriptions and services. You essentially want to end with a clean slate so in the future you can start with one.
Before Starting A New Venture
Take time for yourself. It is OK to rest. Going blindly from one thing to the next will only cause you to be like the snake that eats its own tail. Take the time to reflect on what went wrong with your previous venture, be honest with yourself but also don’t take the failure to heart. Surround yourself with people who can support you and help you grow in the direction you want to take. Find a mentor, take a class, network with people and spend time with your loved ones. Rekindle your passion, read books, take more classes, get involved in meetups, travel, and try to broaden your view as much as possible because your next venture can only improve from it. Find what fulfills you and you will find new opportunities present themselves to you. Then you can grasp a clear vision of what your next pursuit will be and rise like the phoenix.
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