I will be the first to tell you that things don’t always go as planned. During one of my recent live videos, I was supposed to be sitting all cozy in a coworking space. However, the coworking space was closed and I had to figure out a way to go LIVE using the tools I had available. If you didn’t see the live video, let’s just say I made it work with my cell phone and one of the seats in my car.
Now, I am hoping that when things don’t go as planned in your business, you can find unique ways to figure it out and keep moving forward. But I also know that there may be a time when you decide to permanently close your doors. We have had a couple of clients come to us recently with that decision. And let me tell you, it didn’t mean that they didn’t have amazing plans and even better backup plans.
They had everything they needed for a successful business model, so closing was definitely not anywhere on their radar. But I can definitely say they have valid reasons.
One of our clients that is closing has managed to work her way out of debt, a lot of debt, and she decided she wasn’t willing to go back into more debt for her business. She hasn’t closed yet, but she is going to be closing.
Another client had planned to sell her business back in January. When the government shut down businesses like hers, that sale fell through. She managed to find a new buyer recently, but the price she is getting for her business is now a lot less than she had hoped she would be getting. Yet, she’s still seeing profits and she has decided that this is the right time for her to get out.
There are so many different scenarios out there, but I know there are a lot of people in the fitness industry who are considering this. There are also a lot of questions around what you need to do when you close a business.
I have managed to come up with 10 things today that you need to think about when you are closing a business. A few of them are practical and need to be taken care of in order, while others cover the emotional aspects to close your business.
10 Things You Must Think About When You are Closing Your Business
- Contact an Attorney and Your Accountant
You will need an attorney throughout this process, because you could face some legal ramifications when you close. Hopefully, you have a relationship with an attorney, so you can go to them and ask questions. This will especially be helpful if you need to cancel a lease.
The good thing about doing this with an attorney is they will keep all of this information confidential. They won’t be spreading rumors that your business is closing.
- Tell Your Clients You are Closing
Once you have begun the process of closing your business, you need to speak with your clients. You must tell them directly, because they have been your biggest supporter over the years.
- Take Care of Your Clients
Since your clients depend on you, I recommend planning on taking care of them after you make the decision to close your doors. As a fitness business owner, you want to make sure that your clients’ health is a top priority. You may find that you can refer them to a competitor or even sell your client list to a competitor for a small fee. This will allow you to make a little bit of money, while taking care of your clients at the same time.
- Sell Your Assets
Any equipment you own can be sold to get some of your cash back. This will keep you from paying to store it all and losing out on even more money in the future.
- Cancel Your Contracts with Vendors
Before you can close your business, you must cancel your contracts with vendors. I recommend doing this sooner than later, so you can have those final payments clearing your bank accounts. This is also the time to thank your vendors for their time and even give them a testimonial if possible.
- Start to Close Your Bank Accounts
If you implemented Profit First into your business, this is when you can transfer all of your money into your operating expenses account. You can then close all of the other bank accounts you have open for your business. I would make sure all payments that were coming out of those accounts have cleared first.
- Close Your Last Bank Account
Once all of your automatic debts have cleared your operating expenses bank account, as well as payroll checks and other charges, you can close that account. You can transfer any money that is left in there into your personal account first.
- Contact Your Secretary of State to Begin the Dissolution Process
The dissolution process is different for each state, so I can’t speak to all 50 states. But you will be able to find the process on the Secretary of State website for your state. You must go through this process, because not every state is as good about automatically closing your business after a couple of years. Some states, like California, will continue to charge you every single year if they do not have your dissolution paperwork. This is also the time to cancel your business license if you have one.
- File Your Final Tax Return
Your final tax return won’t be until the following spring, so you may have a little time to complete this step. Simply take the same documents that you always take to your tax preparer and make sure they mark the box that states “final tax return” on it. You definitely want to make sure they check this box, so you don’t get penalties for not filing tax returns in the future when you don’t have to file tax returns.
- Grieve Accordingly
You are going to go through many emotional stages when you close your business. You are going to feel grief from closing your business. While I am not an expert on grief, I can tell you that grief comes in stages. There are five stages of grief in all. The first stage is denial and that is followed by anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. There is no rule that states how long each stage will last or the right way to grieve.
We just need to be aware of the stages and practice self care, while continuing to take care of yourself and your body. Also, let the people around you, who are supporting you, take care of you.
I know I just covered a lot of information there, but I would love to know how you are feeling about what I just talked about. I feel it is important to process everything, so you make sure you get all of the things right.
Of course, you may not be considering closing your business right now, but you might know someone who is. Feel free to invite them into this group, so you can tag them and let them see this important information.
Let’s keep these conversations going, so we can all learn from one another. Feel free to send me a message if you are struggling and need to set up a time to talk or if you have a topic that you need me to share my thoughts about in a future post.