A comedy of errors

Do you know that feeling, where you try to do things right and whatever happens, doesn’t seem to go the way you planned it?

And you’ll know the phrase “You win some, you learn some!”

Yet do you actually learn?

After 7 years, I’m cashing up the virtual till, shutting the virtual windows, and locking the virtual door for the last time on one of my businesses. It is time to say goodbye.

Not because I am dead, or any living being has been brought to a swift and premature demise. But because I realised the business was no longer serving me. It had become a drain on my time, my money, and my own health.

It reminded me of one of the critical things that, as a business owner, you need to have planned from the start – your exit strategy. Because in reality, you only have 7 ways to exit a business:

• Your death

• Your expulsion

• Your ill health 

• You lose your marbles

• You liquidate

• You keep in the family

• You sell

When I’ve spoken with business owners, they think about the last two, with aspirations of building something to pass on or sell later in life to reap the rewards of their hard work. 

The thing is, it is not always going to end that way, and you need to be thinking about the other five ways…

You may realise a loss, but this is not always a bad thing, if you can capitalise it before closing the business you can use it as part of your tax allowance. As with everything to do with your business finances, you need to speak with your accountant. Make sure you have a fabulous relationship with them, if your accountant doesn’t initially feel expensive, you only see them once a year, and they don’t suggest ways of maximising your money –  you are with the wrong accountant!

Reflect on what you have learned, people you met that you may not have had you not started the business. The experiences that may never have opened up. The loss is part of your education, so make it count – after all, it is a foolish man who doesn’t learn from his mistakes.

You can free up capital to use elsewhere. Yes, if there are assets in the business, you need to find a buyer. And assets aren’t always physical items like property or machinery, it could be intellectual property, or a relationship, perhaps you could help other businesses by introducing them to suppliers or customers. Did you systemise something that makes things easier, cheaper, more predictable? Can you help other businesses learn from your mistakes?

Then there is always the next adventure. Having realised the effect running major transformations for global enterprises from my micro consultancy firm was having on my own wellbeing, I’m now concentrating my effort on Physique and Lifestyle coaching for business owners. You never know, I may find a way to fix the obesity crisis

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