Amid all of the terrible things that have been happening in 2020, we can add small business losses to the list. Most small businesses start with an entrepreneur who has a dream, a hope, and a spark. Building a business involves struggling, nurturing, and growing day after day, hopefully into years, and finally into success. Owning a small business includes a constant monitor and evaluation to understand its health, and pivot when required.
A business owner typically defines their identity to the business by being vested and self-identifying to the company’s mission. The closing of that business can bring an identity crisis for the owner, leading to a potential loss of a circle of friends, a sense of community ranking, and a sense of irrelevancy.
When something or someone is lost, there is a cycle of grief. The steps are as follows:
- Shock and denial – avoidance, confusion, blame, and fear
- Anger – frustration, anxiety, embarrassment, and shame
- Depression and detachment – overwhelmed, helplessness and lack of energy
- Dialogue and bargaining – Reaching out, desire to tell the story, and struggle to find meaning
- Acceptance – exploring options and creating a new plan
- Return to a meaningful life – empowerment, security, self-esteem, and meaning
When evaluating these steps, it’s easy to identify what stage a business owner may be in the cycle.
Unfortunately, the first three steps can last a while, and in that timeframe, the business has to go through the process of closing his or her doors.