The Emotional Side of Closing my Small Business

Should You Sell or Close Your Business?

Recently I have had the unenviable task of closing our business after 14 years. In addition to not only the physical work involved in closing a business - has been a far more unthought of aspect of closing the business - the emotional side.

There are few resources even on the Internet to turn to when your business hits the skids and you are faced with the possibility of either closing or selling your business. With the economy in a shambles right now, more and more small and even large businesses are closing their doors, and the emotional baggage that is carried around with the owners, employees and even family members can be enormous.

Closing a Business - No Easy Task

Source

Consider Getting Business Counseling

I am not even going to try to go into all the details- legal and otherwise- that go along with closing a business. To begin with in this article we will discuss some of the emotional things that happen when you close the doors to your business- and perhaps, this article will give you some insight to even whether you should - or even have to - close those doors.

First of all: If you are in the place where you are considering selling your business, or closing the doors to your business, have you considered getting some wise business counseling?

There are some great small business resources out there - one of them is called SCORE, and they offer free business counseling. I have used SCORE services on a few occasions, both when our business was new, during the course of our business, and also when we were considering closing our business. The people that work for SCORE are usually retired former business owners that use their wide variety of business experience to help fledgling, developed or struggling small businesses. I would highly recommend that if you are considering closing your business that you first check with SCORE, or even call your local Chamber of Commerce and find out if there are other free or low cost business counseling services. Getting good advice at this stage of the game is not only critical for your business but also for your emotional well being.

Re-Entering The Corporate World

If you have already closed your business and feeling in a funk and don't know where to turn: You can also get free advice from most local unemployment or career centers. In our area (the San Francisco Bay Area) we have what are called career centers - where people seeking work can get counseling, free help with their resumes and also free networking groups for former small business owners looking to either reenter the work force or who are considering another small business venture.

After you have been in a small business, reentering the corporate world can be a very daunting task -and your emotions may be widely swinging between the loss of your business and the daunting task of changing careers, possibly relocating or figuring out what your next steps should be.

People that have been in business can testify to the fact that small business owners literally put a lot of their heart and soul into a business, and when you close your business doors it can feel like a piece of your heart and soul got closed with those doors. It's no easy task closing your business, even if it was a welcome decision or you are happy to have made the move. Whatever the cause (reason) it's still an emotional and highly charged decision.

Some simple advice? If you have closed your business doors or are considering closing your business doors, just remember that life doesn't end here, it's just another turn on the road-map of life. It can be a highly emotional decision but a positive step at the same time. Just remember to get advice and/or counseling if you need too. Wise advice is worth it's weight in gold and can help you get through the emotional side of closing your business doors.

(Dorsi Diaz is a freelance writer and former small business owner)

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Comments 22 comments

AEvans profile image

AEvans 8 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

Dorsi, I had to close my business in August due to the economy and it was painstaking to tell my clients good-bye. Many of my clients were also small business owners who closed there businesses and of course they left me holding the bag with some of there debt . I put very last dime into it, and hoped that I would continue to grow however that was not the choice I had. Luckily for me I am a nurse so I had to go back into the World of waiting for a paycheck but I do have to say I love Nursing and now wished at times I would have never left as financially our lives are now so tight. Thank you for writing this article as I do realize that others are feeling the same pain and heartache.:(


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

This hub is needed by far too many, thnaks.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 8 years ago from West Virginia

Yes it is. I had to close my business several years ago when we moved to a more rural area. I had many clents and it hurt a lot just telling them that I couldn't do it anymore. When we moved here I tried to get it started again, but it never faired too well. I ama seamstress and the contractor that we had to put in a basement shorted us 3 feet of space--so I can only do samll things. Now it is too expensive for me to try anything. Emotional it was my baby and something that I could call all mine.


Brandon 8 years ago

Very sorry to hear that you will be closing your business... I fear I may too have to close the doors soon. The economy is rough. Best of luck to you.


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 8 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

That had to be tough, Dorsi, 14 years is a long time, and a business is one's creation. 

My sister had to close her boutique in NY two years ago because afer the passing of her 18 year old boy, she just didn't have the energy. As we took on the daunting task between the two of us, in getting all of the inventory out of the store, and cleaning it up, it was an emotional time for both of us, as we had many memories attached to it, and customers who became friends. The debt she was left with was high, but she went on to continue with her online business, and even if sales are rather slow now due to the economy, it pays her salary, and commissions for me and my spouse, but its a little scary for her to depend on the online business, so she is looking into other ventures.  

I wish you luck!


einron profile image

einron 8 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Sorry that you had to close your business. It is never easy to part with something you love doing in the past. Better luck next time. Since you have done it in the past, maybe it will be easier to start other things. I wish you well.


mariane14 profile image

mariane14 8 years ago from USA

yeah its hard to let go but that's hows some business go...


hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 8 years ago from Oregon, USA

I can totally relate to this. I hope to reopen my business if the right situation presents itself. Good luck with a big change in your life.


sfharper profile image

sfharper 8 years ago from Winter Springs, FL

I'm sorry it had to happen but the money speaks louder than anything :) Sheri


funride profile image

funride 8 years ago from Portugal

Thankfuly I never saw myself in such position but I´m experiencing something close to that. Some of the health clinics where I work are changing owners and that has been very "stressing" for almost every member of the organization.

All the best!


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 8 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

Thank you everyone for stopping by and the kind comments.


Enlydia Listener profile image

Enlydia Listener 8 years ago from trailer in the country

Good Luck and god bless...


jycmba profile image

jycmba 8 years ago from Los Angeles CA

As a business broker and advisor to business owners, I see a lot of folks in this situation. While ultimately the numbers dictate what needs to happen, there is very little to address the emotional human side of the equation.

I agree completely that getting the best counsel is critical at this stage. SCORE is one resource, but business brokers keep an eye on the market for business opportunities.

Over the years I've worked to reach out and connect with business owners sooner vs. later. Here's my blog, Zen and the Art of Exit Strategy.

http://www.johnchang.info/exitstrategy/

It's never to too late to get advice, but too often business owners contact me at a point where all we can do is to package things the best that we can.

Sometimes, the best that I can do is offer my sympathy. It's especially heartbreaking to see entrepreneurs who invest much more of themselves than simply money. What a shame for them to have to give up their life's work without getting anything back.


hubman profile image

hubman 7 years ago from Southeast Tennessee

Dorsi, I never really thought about the emotional aspect of closing a business until just recently. My family owned an electrial shop and I grew up there. We sold that to some people in the early 90's and the new owners were very receptive to allowing my dad to come in and help people like he had done for years. Dad is 80 years old.

Last summer they closed their business...I never dreamed that it would be such a sad feeling to see our old building sitting empty. Now our whole town is filled with businesses that have had to close.

Your thoughts really put all this into perspective and has motivated me to work towards a change and help get some life back into our town.


Alain 7 years ago

Good luck to you


Leenane Templeton 6 years ago

Good Post Dorsi, having advised many of our clients on start ups / growth / sale etc it's a trying time for any entrepreneur, especially when most business owners become emotionally attached to the business. At those times its certainly important to have an external perspective.


Becky Puetz profile image

Becky Puetz 5 years ago from Oklahoma

Dorsi, your right on target with the emotions that we go through when closing a business. I wish that I had known about "all" the services that Score provides two years ago, when I was forced to close. Thanks so much for this awesome Hub; Your story and the information here will help so many people who feel like they are the only one going through this emotional journey.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

Thank you Becky for reading and the kind comment.I found when closing our business that there was not a lot on the internet to read about the emotional side of closing. I hope this helps those in similar situations.

And yes, Score is an awesome resource.


businesstrader profile image

businesstrader 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Business owners should always try and sell before closing the doors. Entrepreneurs are always looking for the worst house in the best street....so to speak. Check out http://www.business-trader.com.au.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@businesstrader) I agree. I really feel our franchise let us down when it came to the end of our business. It's very important to have good advice when getting ready to let go of a business. I think most owners should be able to at least sell the goodwill and longevity of the business, if nothing else!!


mfriedstore profile image

mfriedstore 4 years ago from 176 Flushing Avenue Brooklyn , New York

a sad story to hear. Engaging into business is really competitive task but we have to move on and look forward for more chances. Who knows success is just one step away. Thank you so much for sharing your emotional status with regards to your business and good luck.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@mfiredstore) YW and thanks for the kind comment.

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