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My Business Is About To Fail, What Should I Do?

I’m sorry to hear about the serious problems with your business.

The big question with any struggling business is whether you are in the early stage of decline or whether problems have been going on for some time and have used all or virtually all of your spare cash in the business together with any money you can invest or lend to the business.

From your query, it sounds like the second so turnaround options are probably not available.

In that case you may have to follow an insolvency procedure.

This depends on the legal form of the business in the UK.

Is the business in a limited company? If so, its assets and liabilities are separate to your personal items unless you’ve given personal guarantees to a bank, landlord or someone else.

Or are you trading as a sole trader or partnership, in which case the business liabilities become your personal liabilities, along with any partner. Partners are what is known as “jointly and severally liable” for the liabilities of the business so, in the event of business failure, creditors will go after the wealthier of the partners.

As a limited company you need to go to see an insolvency practitioner and talk about liquidation. In this situation, the business is closed and the creditors may receive a little money.

If you’re a sole trader, with significant personal assets that well exceed the business liabilities, personal insolvency isn’t appropriate.

In this situation, you have the option of either accepting the business is over and using your personal assets to pay the business debts.

Or deciding that you want to try a turnaround. This means identifying and then reversing the causes of decline, if possible.

Finally if it’s a sole trader style business and you don’t have significant assets, you should talk to an insolvency practitioner about personal insolvency.

Sorry there is little good news here but perhaps I have misunderstood the urgency and level of your situation.

If you think your business is heading for failure in 3 to 6 months unless something is done, a turnaround may be viable.

If so, my Business SOS free consultation may be a good starting point. Please provide more of a history about your business and how performance has changed over the years. What has caused these changes? What have you tried to fix the problems? Then I’ll see if I can help.

If you don’t think you can last more than a few weeks, it is time to talk to an insolvency practitioner. Even then, failure isn’t inevitable if the underlying business is sound. They have other insolvency procedures available that can help to come to a compromise with your creditors about the amount to be paid and the timings of regular payments. However I must emphasise that the core business must be strong and big enough to cover the monitoring fees charged by the insolvency practitioner.

Good luck.

Paul Simister

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