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Money / Financial management

12 questions to stress test your business

Worrying has become a national past-time thanks to COVID life. One antidote to the stress has to been to (rightfully) celebrate our courage to pivot or pursue a myriad of other creative solutions to survive. Nobody is more nimble or better equipped than our small business community to make rapid change. We’re used to it. It’s part of our DNA. But are we talking enough about whether now is actually the right time to call it quits on your business?

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What if right now really is the best time to shut up shop

Dare to do it, David Koch told Flying Solo: 

“The hardest decision of all will be to close the business if it doesn’t have a future and can’t survive. But while will be the hardest decision… it could be the best decision. A decision which could save your personal financial resources like your house and superannuation. It’s better if you make the hard decision to cease operations than the bank, tax office or authorities.”

“This economic recession will be the toughest in living memory. It has the potential to be absolutely devastating and put a huge amount of stress on every Australian small business and their owners. The number of businesses and lives which will be destroyed by it worries me. I think we all have to stress test our businesses and think rationally about whether it will survive.” 

So how do we do that exactly?  According to David here are 12 key questions to ask.

Clear some space in your diary and approach them with a calm mind and try and take your time. 

  1. What about this business works really well?
  2. What aspects of this business need adjustment?
  3. What are the pros and cons of keeping this business? 
  4. What are the pros and cons of selling this business? 
  5. Can we address our customers needs any cheaper?
  6. Have we been ruthless enough in terms of budget?
  7. Who would my ideal buyer be?
  8. What would our customer’s reactions be to selling this business?
  9. What would ideally see myself doing after selling the business? 
  10. What skills do I now have that I didn’t have starting out? 
  11. What would my ideal business do differently to this business & can any of those ideas still worth pursuing in this model? 
  12. What do my customers think… is there still a need for my product/service, are they still willing to pay for it, what else can I do for them?

Try to remember that this is a process. 

By simply working through the questions you are essentially getting clarity on what your next steps should be; whether that IS working  towards closing your business or being more aware of changes you need to make to keep going.

It could well also inspire version 2.0 of the business model you already have.

Lucy Kippist

is an experienced Australian editor with experience in writing, podcasting radio and television, with previous senior editorial roles at News Corp news.com.au, Kidspot and Kinderling Kids Radio. In her current role as editor of Flying Solo, Australia's #1 website for solo business owners she is pursuing her passion for women in the small business space. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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