Phil MeekinView Profile
The following is an open letter from an anonymous ex-director, who recently underwent an insolvency procedure.
Establishing the company
“My partner and I started a print-related company many years ago. I ran the business initially, and my partner joined the company when it had become established. He left behind a well-paid secure Print Managers job and took over as MD.
“Surprisingly, we actually worked well as a team; we were what you would describe as ‘grafters’. Also, we were not afraid of the hard work it entailed to drive the company forward.
“We worked long days and weekends and holidays became a distant memory. We managed to run it for a further five years and employed around fifteen staff.
“Although we had to sacrifice holidays due to the workload, we managed to move into our dream home in our ideal location with lots of land. We had the four-wheel-drive each and the sports cars, so life was pretty good. It was nice to see some of the rewards for the long hours we were putting in. We did feel very fortunate.”
The recession hits
“Then around seven years ago the recession hit, we saw many of our competitors and customers going into liquidation or bankruptcy. Many of our remaining customers were also struggling and subsequently stopped paying us. The rent on our premises went up massively, but the wages still needed paying.
“We went without our wages some weeks just so the staff wouldn’t suffer. Any savings we had put aside were used to try and survive. We even stupidly raised money on credit cards just to pay the wages.
“After many a sleepless night, we finally had to accept defeat and become insolvent. It was heartbreaking and frightening at the same time as we had both lost our lively hoods. Telling our staff was the hardest part, but they didn’t hold any malice. They had seen how hard we had tried to keep things afloat. I wouldn’t wish that on any director!
“As the house and cars were tied up in the business, they had to go, forcing us into rented accommodation. You just end up thinking what next as you can`t see a way out of the black hole you are in. It feels like a bereavement, and you don`t know which way to turn.
“My best friends favourite saying is “you never know what`s around the corner” and it is true you don’t, we have finally rebuilt our lives and are both working, but nothing compares to owning your own company that you put blood, sweat and tears into.
“Looking back, we should have sought the help of an insolvency practitioner sooner, instead of letting pride get in the way.”
If like the director in this open letter, your business becomes insolvent, it can be difficult to admit defeat and step away from something you’ve put your heart and soul into. However, if it’s got to the point where the business can’t continue, you need to seek help from a licensed insolvency practitioner immediately to limit the damage.
Wilson Field offers free, impartial advice with no obligation, and can advise you of the best route forward for your business.