Coronavirus has forced many business owners to face the tough decision of whether to persevere and keep their business going, or to close it all down and walk away. If you are asking yourself this question right now, here are some things to consider before going down the bankruptcy road.
First, bankruptcy is a valid option to consider. But, do know that each moment you spend considering bankruptcy is a moment not spent considering how to turn your business around. Use your energy wisely, get the information you need quickly, and then make your decision so you can move forward powerfully.
Before considering bankruptcy, you should talk with a business coach or advisor who can help you reorient your business model to see if additional capital could help you dig out of the hole you’ve found yourself in. We may be able to help you here. It may sound odd to be thinking about more capital when you are already in over your head with debt, but if you have a good business model, you may just need to look at your business differently, restructure and upgrade the way you are looking at your cash flow and budgeting process.
Often what we see is that a business owner may have a great offer and a strong customer base, but may not have learned how to manage their financial resources properly. If that’s you, bankruptcy may not be the best choice. It would just mean that now you’ve got the bankruptcy on your record (a big disadvantage), and you still have to learn how to manage your finances. If that’s your situation, we may be able to help you turn things around without filing for bankruptcy.
There are two major benefits of bankruptcy. One is you get a fresh start, which you can get without bankruptcy. The other is that any debts that are forgiven in bankruptcy do not result in taxable income to you. In contrast, if you negotiate down your debt, the forgiven debt will be considered taxable income.
But that’s only one small consideration when it comes to bankruptcy. The much bigger consideration is your recovery process after the bankruptcy—whether the bankruptcy will appear on your personal credit report (vs. a business-only bankruptcy), and what you can keep and what you will lose in the bankruptcy.
Most of all, it is very important that you seek legal counsel who will first work to understand your business and your personal goals, and then help you determine your best path forward. Making the wrong choice here could mean that you would lose more than you have to. Please reach out to a Creative Business Lawyer® if you are considering bankruptcy, and they will help you review your options.