Overcoming emotional attachment to a business when you need to close and move on

For many business owners, starting and growing their business is tantamount to fulfilling a dream, often as much as raising a beloved child. Unfortunately, no matter how carefully plans are made and how much investment, effort and nurturing is put into the business, for one reason or another, things don’t take off as anticipated.

One of the biggest hurdles in making the final exit is not only dealing with the paperwork and tying up the loose ends that come with deciding to close, but overcoming interfering emotional attachments. Not letting go of the business, while understandable, can cause further financial debt as well as other financial and legal headaches.

No one likes being labeled as a “failure” or a “quitter” and fear of labels may be part of the root cause of reluctance to face the situation realistically. Then there’s the feeling of guilt, the “what did I do wrong?” that can overwhelm even the most astute business owner.

Whatever the reasons, it’s time to face the inevitable and consider closing the business and moving on. Allowing emotional baggage to hold sway can cloud one’s better judgment and result in losing money by failing to take action before running up more business-related debt. Stop blaming yourself! Looking at the experience objectively, as a series of lessons that could prepare you to successfully run a future enterprise, can ease the pain of closing and help you to think more clearly when evaluating your exit options.

Think of it this way: assuming you really tried but in spite of your efforts and investments, it’s just not working out, what lessons can you take away from the experience? What would you do differently if another opportunity presents itself? Trying to stand back and view the whole experience more objectively as necessary lessons will result in a more positive outcome.

Smart owners with an eye to the future will want to put the closed business behind them quickly – and correctly. Working with an experienced business dissolution professional is an option available to owners, whether sole proprietors or corporations, looking to reduce their filing and paperwork burdens and expenses in a timely manner while remaining compliant of the current regulations.

The further in advance you can plan your exit strategy the more peace of mind you’ll have: you’ll need receipts, forms, IRS tax records as well as employee documents, if applicable. Remember that you’ll also need to keep records of your business dealings and income for several years, so keep that in mind when organizing your paperwork and relevant documents.

Making closing a straightforward business decision based on the numbers, current and future profitability and the owner’s dedication and commitment levels can ease emotional attachments that inevitably arise. It’s not always easy to know when to let go and move on, but when that day comes, making sound choices will free you to move on to your Next Big Thing.

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