The pandemic has been tough for everyone, but it has been brutal for a lot of small businesses. If your numbers aren’t coming back, and you don’t know how much longer you can hold on – here are some things to think about.
First, if a CPA does your taxes, call. They know your numbers, they know your systems, they know a lot about running a business, and they can be objective when you can’t.
Second, before you raid your retirement accounts, think long and hard about how much you want to risk for your business. Too often I see people who have emptied their retirement accounts to pay some bills, instead of pulling the plug and filing for bankruptcy; and a year later they are in my office to file for bankruptcy with the same stack of bills all over again, only this time with no retirement savings. Remember, in Oklahoma, as long as you pay your taxes, no one can take tax qualified retirement accounts from you – creditors can’t, even if they sue you and take a judgment, and a Bankruptcy Trustee can’t.
Third, put together a total list of liabilities – for you and for the business. Be as brutally honest as possible about which accounts you are personally liable for and which ones you aren’t.
Fourth, picture where you want to be in five years. Do you have a path to get there?
Finally, call a Bankruptcy lawyer, feel out whether or not you should consider a Chapter 11 filing to restructure the business. Too often small business owners make that decision too late. A Chapter 11 filing, even the new Sub Chapter V is expensive; and there has to be enough business left to save.
The one thing I can promise you is that there isn’t a bankruptcy lawyer in this Country who isn’t sympathetic right now. The pandemic hasn’t been good for us either. So, don’t be afraid or embarrassed. Just call.