Top 10 Tips for Surviving Business Failure
By Michael Allen Master of Disaster at Bouncepreneurs
At Bouncepreneurs we see lots of people who have lost their business. Reactions to this happening vary tremendously. But here are Bouncepreneurs Top 10 Tips.
1. You are not a Failure
Just because your project failed it does not mean you yourself are a failure. It is vital that you split this into two different views.
You cannot keep the news of a business failure quiet. Somebody you know will take a delight in shaming you to your face or in public. Don't let it upset you. This will make you stronger and allow you to dump some relationships that do not serve you well.
2. Admit You Have Failed
There is nothing worse for entrepreneurs in crisis to ignore the fact the business has failed. I have done this myself, staying in a radically changed market for two years. It was like trying to revive a long gone patient.
Not every business failure ends with a big crash or bankruptcy, in fact most don't. Often owners bump along the bottom for years, not making any money but locked into a lifestyle. If your business is in this situation it may not need a turnaround. It may just need to be scrapped, allowing you to start again on a fresh, profitable and stimulating new venture.
3. Be Careful Which Advice You Take
When you lose a business there are many sharks around you. Often these are offering finance at scandalous rates. Do not get involved with these people. Stay wise!
Also you will meet people who have worked in roles without any real risk other than redundancy for years. They do not understand your path and situation and they will definitely not know the best way out for you. No matter how well meaning, they will always tell you that getting a job is your only choice.
4. Getting a New Job Can Take Longer Than Starting a New Business
This is especially true of white collar jobs for large companies. Recruitment, interviews appointment and then one month until you get your first salary can take 90 days. It often does. You may be able to get new revenue from a restart faster!
5. Bankruptcy is the End
No it isn't. You can operate a business effectively with a basic business account. But you won't get much joy trying to get finance. So you are looking at small, cheap, very lean restarts. But this discipline can actually be very beneficial to your overall business skills.
6. Be Streetwise
Be very streetwise, don't try to maintain the outward trappings of success. This kills more Bounce Backs than cancer! Downsize the car, downsize the house, liquidate everything in the loft and garage you never use and get enough to feed yourself and family for three months.
7. Acknowledge You Are Grieving
Business failure creates a sense of grief that is increasingly likened to losing a child! It is important that you give yourself a break. It really is. People around you will not understand how you feel - they really won't. But feeling sad about something you've worked very hard on is normal. Very normal.
8. Stay Healthy
You will need to look after yourself physically. Sleep enough, eat as well as you can and do some exercise. If you have a hobby that keeps you fit stay with it. If you are flat broke and cannot afford the gym membership walking is free, on your doorstop and can range from a little stroll to an Olympic discipline. Plus you get time to think and reset your mind.
9. Keep Your Family Involved
If you are a parent or have a family unit, sit down and explain the situation as carefully as you can. Be honest, tell the truth and reassure your loved ones you will all be ok. But tell them we may have to make some changes for a while. Ask for their help and support. You will get it. Especially from children who always value your love more than material items. Several couples who lost their business have told me that the business failure improved their family unit.
10. Join the Free Bouncepreneurs Open Session
Every Sunday evening Bouncepreneurs run an open Q&A session for all entrepreneurs who have lost their business. It is confidential, open to all suffering business failure and free. Check our website for the last joining details. We have people from all over the world take part. You are amongst friends and will find it very supportive.
Written by Michael Allen
Founder of Bouncepreneurs