Take a moment to consider the phrase “starting over” as it relates to small business. Does it make you feel exhausted or annoyed, frustrated that you’re back at the drawing board all over again and worried that the second time won’t be the charm? Or does it excite and reinvigorate you, filling you with the possibilities of new beginnings and ideas to come for your new startup? It’s pretty common to have both feelings, actually. 50 percent of start-ups don’t make it to their four-year mark and if your business happens to be one of the unlucky ones, you may be more inclined to wish for a hole to open up in the ground that you can crawl into than you would be to grab a shovel and start digging a new hole.
The truth is no business is guaranteed to be endlessly successful or immune to going through rocky times. Beginning again is sure to have its fair share of obstacles, but this time around you’ll have the lessons learned from starting your first business to fall back on as a guide. Some of these may even be included below — here’s what entrepreneurs should keep in mind when starting over again:
Make sure you file a dissolution.
This is more of a general housekeeping note than anything else, but before you start a new business, you’ll want to make sure the existing one is formally closed. The best way to go about doing this is by having your Corporation or LLC file Articles of Dissolution to terminate its existence. If these articles are not filed, the state still considers the company to be in existence, whether or not it is doing any actual business at all. The owners of the company may still be charged unnecessary fees as well, so if you know it’s time to close the doors on one business, make sure you officially dissolve the entity with the Secretary of State.
Assemble what you learned and pivot from it.
Maybe the business or its industry didn’t turn out to be what you expected, but that doesn’t mean you didn’t learn from it. Take what you learned from being in business the first time and leverage that experience for a new business entirely. Who knows — you might even wind up using that experience to create a new take on your former business later on!
Meet with your professional mentors.
You’ll be doing plenty of soul searching during this time to determine if you have the money, time and energy necessary to dedicate to the next business, but it’s also a good idea to meet with successful business owners too. Use them as a resource for extra guidance for objectively viewing your next start-up and to flush out further opportunities together.
Head back to the workforce.
Sometimes the answer isn’t even to start over with another business. Sometimes it means going back to the workplace — but don’t see it as the end of the world either. Entrepreneurs who head back to the office, even in a corporate business setting, can leverage their expertise as a business owner and entrepreneurial spirit in the work that they do there. Brainstorm new ideas, volunteer to take on a more diverse workload and be willing to test out new concepts to see if they’re a fit. In time, you’ll find that you’ll learn just as much there as you did with your start-up. Whether you’re launching a new business or going back into the workforce, you’ll ultimately be able to confidently bounce back as an entrepreneur.