As a business owner, it’s your job to keep your company running. Whether you’re a sole proprietor, part of an LLC, or own a large corporation, it can often feel as though you’re personally failing if your business is struggling financially. However, it’s important to recognize that every business has its ups and downs, and not all downs mean that your company has to close its doors forever. Insolvency can help.

What Is Insolvency?

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Image via Flickr by wuestenigel

Many business owners confuse insolvency and bankruptcy, using the terms interchangeably when they aren’t the same. Insolvency means you cannot pay your debts; bankruptcy is the legal process of resolving insolvency in court. But for many businesses, especially small ones, bankruptcy isn’t the answer; in fact, it can make things worse.

Making Voluntary Arrangements

If your business is declared insolvent, you may still be able to make arrangements with creditors without having to go to the expense of formally declaring bankruptcy. It is in your creditors’ best interest to work with you to create a realistic payment plan; if they work with you, they may get their money back. If you choose to declare bankruptcy, then unsecured debts like credit cards will be wiped away.

Consider Reorganization

While reorganizing your business is one of the formal bankruptcy options, it’s often more manageable and less costly to informally restructure while insolvent. You’ll want to take a hard look at your profits and expenses and do your best to trim what you can while improving your company’s functionality.

This would also be the time to prioritize your debt repayment. If you work with vendors, it’s essential to continue to pay them something, even if it’s not the full amount owed, because you still need them to be willing to make deliveries. You should also focus on high-interest and personally guaranteed debts, as you don’t want to lose your assets.

Create a Reasonable Budget

Many business owners dealing with insolvency throw up their hands, uncertain of where to go next. One of the most important steps you can take is to completely restructure your budget, taking your current financial situation into account. Make sure your business is making enough to cover rent and utility bills first, then payroll, and use the rest to tackle your debt.

Avoid Additional Credit Damage

Declaring insolvency without filing for bankruptcy can help small business owners avoid massive damage to both their business and personal credit scores. Consolidating your debts can help make payments simpler to manage and give you breathing room to focus on restructuring your business for success. Insolvency doesn’t have to mean closing your doors.

Work With a Consultant

Tax issues can be challenging at the best of times. It’s difficult to know if you even qualify for insolvency. If you’re struggling to figure out your business’s tax situation, your best option is to get professional help. Small business lawyers and debt consolidation consultants can work with you to help you get the best possible outcome for your situation and give you the chance to rebuild your company.