Calling it a day is the last thing you want to do. It’s your business, it’s your baby and you have no doubt not only poured your heart and soul into it but also your savings too.
Whether you’re re-opening your business doors following lockdowns, you’ve kept the business going with remote working or business has continued on without too much disruption, if you’re having cash flow challenges and have limited sources of funding, it may be time to look at when to call it a day.
There are two factors that will impact the decision:
This is the obvious one. Some people think it’s as simple as asking the question “when are you going to run out of money?” But I beg to differ.
Consider the situation where you have accumulated savings. You lent money into the business in the early days to get it up and running. Then, over time, it may have been self-supporting, and then business starts on a downturn, for whatever reason.
The right question is “how much of your savings are you prepared to lose to either get the business up and running or to fund it when times are tough?”
Aligned with this question is how old you are. You see, when you’re young, you could conceivably put all your savings into the business and if you can’t get it up and running and self-supporting, call it a day and find yourself a job.
But when you’re older, the opportunity to start again and build up funding for retirement is limited.
As business owners, we’re risk-takers. It’s part and parcel of being in business. But I suggest determining up-front just how much of your savings you’re prepared to put into the business and potentially lose.
If only it were that simple, though. But it isn’t, because we have an emotional investment in the business. We don’t want to call it a day. That sounds and feels like admitting defeat and accepting failure. None of us want to fail.
It’s just like when you’re in a marriage that is breaking down. It’s not easy to walk away (I know, I’ve done it twice). Walking isn’t the solution until you’ve done everything you can think of to salvage the relationship.
Business is the same. Doing everything you can to make it work is an important component of when to call it a day.
A friend of mine who’d been in business for many years found her business to be slowly losing revenue. She tried everything she could. She tried new marketing initiatives and new product lines.
From a financial perspective, the writing was on the wall months and months before. Each month, she put more of her savings into the business in the hope that changes would improve the situation. Unfortunately, in that case, it didn’t, and eventually when the owner had done everything possible, she knew she had to call it a day.
Time to now to look at your situation. Identify how much savings you have and how much of that you’re prepared to put into the business. It’s a little bit different now because the situation is different.
Now’s the time to look at how much longer your cash resources will last bearing in mind ongoing government support if you’re eligible for it.
Where in the past, I’d be saying to identify a figure that you’re prepared to lose, now I’m saying, look at how much you need to keep going and re-build your business. Do you have sufficient funding available to pay the bills for the months you’re going to need to get the business back up to where it was and will you be able to repay that money in the future?
Every person and every business is unique and different. Each one of us has a different risk profile and it changes over time. Look at your financial and emotional commitment to determine what would trigger you to call it a day in the future.
My fervent hope for you is that you don’t need to make that ultimate decision, but if you’ve thought about your boundaries on funding and what you’re prepared to do in advance, it makes the decision to call it a day much easier if the time does come.