How to Cope When Your Business Fails

With the current economic crisis, we are seeing businesses fail at a greater pace. Companies that have had past success records are downsizing at substantial rates, not to mention those that are completely closing their doors.

Large companies aren’t the only ones feeling the crunch of economic hardship. Small businesses are going out of business as well. On top of the challenge to survive the first two years of business, inflated costs of doing business are growing at rates never seen before.

The question then is, “What do you do when your business fails?” For many small businesses they started with someone’s savings, an investment fund, loans from friends and family just to get started. Now that’s gone, the reality of “shutting down shop” sinks in and the entrepreneur/small business owner is again with his idea and the thoughts of what could have been.

At some point you have to embrace the reality that it’s over and when that happens now what?

Focus on the Positive Things that Were Accomplished
It doesn’t matter how long you were in business every business has had bright days. It could have been new contacts and partnerships. Patients for products that you know can work. Systems that you developed and implemented. Perhaps, it was the day or week you reached records sales.

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Ask The Hard Questions
Why did it fail? Was it poor planning? Was there lack of knowledge of the market? Did it come down to personnel? Maybe it was the wrong sales strategy. Whatever it was, as an entrepreneur asking the hard questions will help get away from the blame game and addresses the facts, both good and bad.

Learn and Move On!
Entrepreneurs can be extremely strong-willed individuals. It’s because of that they experience success and reach their goals. However, the one thing that separates them from others, is that the fail, learn and move on. Often times it’s in the same type of business and same product: just a new approach.

Ask the hard questions, learn from it and move on. Assemble another team, think creative about your funding and try again. What is that age-old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

Have you had a business that has failed? What did you do? What did you learn?

Written by Jeff Springer

Jeff Springer

Jeff Spring is the Finance & Markets Editor at He's currently spending his days backpacking across Europe. While he may be living outside of the United States, he stays connected to American financial markets and M&A's more than is probably healthy for any single person. His love of a good book and a Bloomberg terminal can't be understated.