Business Advice, Startup Advice

How do you know when to call it a day? A business owner shares his thoughts on closing down

Martin Kovacs /

There are a variety of reasons why a business owner will decide enough is enough, and timing can be everything when it comes to closing a business down.

Getting out at the right time can not only help to prevent financial and emotional stress, but it may also be beneficial in kickstarting the next stage of your career.

One former business owner, Thomas Despin, took to Medium last year to recount his experience of closing his drop shipping supply chain management business, providing an overview of what happened and sharing his thoughts about the process.

With “the numbers going down, more interesting opportunities showing up and my motivation decreasing, I think that I totally lost interest in my own company”, Despin admitted.

Assessing what he had learnt throughout the process, Despin observed the most valuable things were “not about this business itself, but more about the mindset I developed”.

Despin discovered his potential to make money, and learnt along the way that there are many opportunities available and within reach. He also noted that, when it comes to hustling, having get up and go is all well and good, but it needs to be directed.

“Once the business is running (aka, is profitable), what you need is not to work more, but to work smarter,” he said, pointing to the need for quality over quantity.

Despin additionally stressed the need to be wrong, stating that it is a necessary part of the process, as “being wrong is what brings the most interesting insights”.

“There are some basic principles that make sense to follow,” he said.

“But for the rest, the more you test, the more you have different results. And the more you learn from those results, the more you understand what works.”

Why did he close his business?

Despin made a distinction between the triggers behind his reason to call it quits, such as declining numbers, and the deeper reasons underlying these triggers.

Not only did he question the value of the business, but he also lost interest once he had acquired new skills and knowledge. Meanwhile, a new opportunity had presented itself, providing further avenue for professional growth.

While closing a business is typically viewed as being a bad thing, Despin said his only regret is about the staff he was working with ending up jobless.

“All of this is part of the adventure as well, and when we embrace the benefits, we also have to embrace the risks,” he writes.

“Today, all of this takes time to learn from, accept and process. Yet, I am confident that tomorrow the lessons learnt today will help to build more meaningful and impactful businesses.”

NOW READ: Startup with $10 million in funding shuts down: “From first bite to the bittersweet finale”

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Martin Kovacs

Martin Kovacs is a journalist with experience covering the IT, consumer electronics, retail, finance and energy sectors.

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