No one starts a business expecting or wanting to fail. But studies show that 20% of businesses fail within their first year. And by the fifth year, nearly 50% of startups close their doors.
Failure in business is inevitable, and many successful entrepreneurs made big mistakes before things clicked for them. Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, created a dating site called SocialNet that was unsuccessful. The co-founder of Twitter Evan Williams had a failed podcasting platform called Odeo. Vera Wang didn’t make the US Olympic figure skating team, but she went on to design some of the most sought after wedding gowns later in her career.
If your business has failed and is shutting down, you’re in good company. Nearly every famous or successful person has a story about a time when things didn’t go their way. But right now that may not give you much solace. In the early days after a business failure, you may be wondering how you’ll get through the day. Here are some tips to help you process your emotions and make an action plan for what to do next.
Make Time for Self-Care
When you’re closing down a business, it may feel like there are a million things you need to do. You have to craft a formal closing announcement and inform your customers and vendors that you’re shutting down. You’ll need to take your website and social media pages offline and file forms with the government to officially dissolve your business.
Although there are lots of pressing tasks that need your attention, it’s also important to take a minute to breathe and process your emotions. For most entrepreneurs, our business is our baby. A recent study even showed that business owners have an emotional connection to their company that’s similar to a parent-child bond.
Seeing the dream you’ve worked so hard for come to an end can be downright traumatic. That’s why it’s so important to make time for self-care, whatever that looks like for you. You may find journaling and writing down all your thoughts to be stress-relieving. Or maybe you need to get away from your computer for a while and go out into nature for a few hours. Whatever you need to do to feel more whole right now, do it.
Surround Yourself With Family and Friends
Being an entrepreneur can be lonely even in good times. But when you’re dealing with failure, it can feel like no one else in the world understands your problems. Even if your family can’t really relate to the grief you’re experiencing, you can still get comfort from surrounding yourself with your loved ones. They can help you get your mind off your business for a while and provide some much-needed companionship.
Figure Out Your Next Move
If you have business debts and bills to pay, you may need to figure out your next move quickly. After a failed business venture, many people need to take a break from entrepreneurship and get a job with less responsibility. There’s no shame in working for someone else while you evaluate what went wrong in your business and decide where you want to go from here. Your experience as a business owner will make you a valuable asset to any company in your industry while you get on your feet.
Stay Connected to Your Purpose
It may be hard to remember why you started your business while you’re dealing with the grief of losing it. Launching a company may feel like a mistake because it didn’t pan out the way you hoped. But every entrepreneur has a strong mission and purpose for their company, and it can help to stay connected to that vision. Just because things didn’t work out the first time doesn’t mean you can’t try again, using the lessons you’ve learned to make your next business venture a success.
You may have to change your business model and go about accomplishing your goals in a different way. You may abandon this idea and come up with something totally new for your next project. But if you remember what you wanted to achieve with your business and keep the faith that you can do it, good things will happen.
Before I became a freelance writer, I started a makeup blog hoping I would gain a big audience and get to share my passion for beauty with the world. By the time I closed down the blog, I had wasted thousands on makeup, website design, and hosting fees. Although it never took off, writing for that website helped me discover that I love blogging and set me down the path of starting my content business.
All of that to say, you never know where this failed business venture will lead you. And hopefully when you get there, you’ll realize the experience you gained and lessons you learned from the business you had to close were essential to your success.
Have you ever had a business failure? How did you deal with it? Leave your tips below to help out fellow entrepreneurs.