The Business Owners’ Guide to Moving Forward After Setbacks


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Running your own business gives you the chance to take your dreams and make them a reality. However, things don’t always work out exactly the way we’d hoped. In fact, in entrepreneurship, they rarely do. Every business owner will face a setback at some point or another, whether it’s a full business failure, a valley you can’t seem to get out of, or the realization that business ownership just isn’t right for you. Fortunately, the right approach can make any of these setbacks far less stressful, as well as give you the tools to get back up and figure out your next steps.

Starting a New Business
First attempts at business ownership often fail. In fact, there are plenty of highly successful business people who have experienced business failure along their journey. It’s important to remember that your first business not working out doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have a future in entrepreneurship. In fact, if you can learn from what went wrong, your second attempt is likely to be that much stronger.

For example, your first business may have failed because you weren’t comfortable taking risks. This is especially common for people who run their business as sole proprietorships. In this structure, accessing the funding you need to succeed can be pretty intimidating, since your personal assets will be on the line if your business can’t pay the loan back. This time around, consider instead the benefits of an LLC, which not only offers asset protection but also provides
tax advantages. You may not have had to apply for an EIN before, but this time around, make a point to do so in order to apply for a loan and to be able to open a bank account for your business. Check out online resources to find out more about IRS LLC filing.

Revitalizing a Struggling Business

Although business failure is a common setback, it’s not the only thing that can get in the way of you reaching your goals. Some businesses don’t truly fail. However, they also don’t thrive. In many ways, this can be harder than an outright failure since you may be spending a ton of time and energy working to keep your business from going under — without seeing any real improvement to profitability.

Reevaluating Your Goals

Finally, one major setback that isn’t often discussed is the realization that your business ownership lifestyle isn’t fitting your overall life goals. This happens all the time, but for high-achievers who put their all into building a business, it can be pretty heartbreaking. However, if you’ve decided that business ownership isn’t right for you, you have to think about your next steps.

First, think about what aspects of the role aren’t working for your life. If you enjoy the work but need to have better work-life balance, you may be able to hire an assistant who can lighten your workload a little bit. If you’re proud of the business you’ve made but don’t want to personally be in charge of its future any longer, you can look into selling it to someone who can take it even further.

Remember: Goals change over time. Even if your business was perfect for you when you got started, it might not be anymore — and that’s okay!

Business ownership is rarely a smooth and easy road. You’re almost certain to come across a setback or two along the way. However, if you want to keep going, there’s usually a path forward. We hope this article helps you learn how to bounce back from setbacks and seize the future your business deserves. 

Founders Time provides a resource hub “to help aspiring military, veterans and military spouses entrepreneurs” across an array of industries with a mind toward startups. Check out our business launch guide, become a member and subscribe to our podcast today!

Author: Derek Goodman

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