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The Bankruptcy Alternative by Bruce Bowler

The full title of this book by Bruce Bowler is

The Bankruptcy Alternative: Close Your Business Your Way, Without Bankruptcy. Save Time, Save Money, Save Your Sanity!

In my review at Amazon.co.uk, I rated the book at the FOUR stars level which means I consider to be good to very good.

Here is what I posted.

Thoughtful ideas for any business owner heading into difficulty

No one starts a business expecting to have it shut down in a few years yet statistics indicate that this happens far too often.

There are two types of closure:

1 – Forced on the business owner by some kind of insolvency procedure.

2 – Voluntary when the business owner keeps control of the process and no one, other than the business owners themselves, suffer financial loss. Employees are made redundant but they receive proper payouts and suppliers get paid.

This book looks at this second type of closure where the owners accept that closure is unavoidable but have a short window where company assets will meet its liabilities as best it can.

I read widely in the field of helping businesses in difficulty but I can’t think of another book that looks at the topic. Yet it is something I did early on in my career when I closed down a subsidiary of a small PLC and the group stood behind its obligations.

The author tells his story in a way that’s easy to read. As it happens, he took advice from a bankruptcy lawyer and then had to reach settlements with the unsecured creditors.

The author focuses very much on his own experience and doesn’t take the opportunity to draw out more general lessons, which is a shame.

Recognising the time when the business has run its course is hard, both logically and emotionally.

In my experience, owners hold on for too long. They hope something will turn up, as they sink deeper into the red. I’d have liked the author to look beyond his experience and find guidelines that help to tell you when you’re on this slide.

Secondly, I think he should have generalised about what’s needed to go in this self managed liquidation approach. Again in my experience, once the end decision has been made many business owners want to put themselves out of their misery. It takes a particular character to choose to go in this direction. While creditors won’t do as well, it’s easier to hand the task to an insolvency expert and it helps to avoid the stigma associated with failure.

The book is worth reading but you must take specialist insolvency advice if you’re not going to be able to pay your creditors in full.

Because I review a lot of business books, I was sent a free copy of the book to review. My four star rating indicates that I rate the book at the good to very good level and I rarely give the full five stars to a new book.

It is available to buy from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.


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