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How to regroup when the chips are down in your business

Article written by Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market

Many business owners will identify with the saying that “it is lonely at the top”; especially when the chips are down and the business is struggling to stay afloat.

Most of us will be able to cite an example of someone we know who either lost their business, marriage, or even their life, because their business failed and their livelihood was destroyed. If you have ever been in a situation where you do not know if your business is going to see month end, or you do not know if you will be able to foot the bills, you will also know that desperate times call for desperate measures. You might consider attracting an investor merely to float the business, or setting the business up for a fire sale, or even just closing the business and walking away from the challenges you face.

If you have been, or are currently in a dire situation, you might be inclined to do the following:

  • Feel deeply responsible for the situation and refuse to speak to a confidant about the challenges you face
  • Be too proud to ask for help
  • Postpone the inevitable

This can lead to:

  • The decline of your health
  • Getting too little sleep
  • Relationship challenges (at home and work)
  • Unmitigated actions
  • Wondering if everything is worth it.

Here are some thoughts to consider when faced with such a situation (the list is in no way complete):

  • Mind over matter – this too shall pass. Life is full of challenges and victories. See it for what it is and try to focus your attention on possible and productive solutions to the challenges you face.
  • Engage with your life partner and involve him or her in the conversation.
  • Create an inner circle of people you can trust. Table your challenge with them and seek their guidance on how to resolve it.
  • Appoint a qualified business coach to work with you in finding solutions.
  • Maybe you know what to do, but you are burned out or depressed. Seek the support of a qualified
  • You can also opt for ‘business rescue’. Here is a link to the CIPC web page where the business rescue process is explained in detail.
  • You can also make use of The Business Turnaround Plan which you can download for free from the our website.

I trust that this information will motivate you to stand strong as a business owner and consider all options before the realities of a business struggle gets the better of you. May you go from strength to strength.

To support business owners with the important task of business planning, Sanlam gives you free access to the book Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, which provides an easy and straight forward framework needed to draft a well-crafted game plan that will create the positive change and growth necessary for business success.

Go to to download your free copy.

Sanlam is a proud Partner of the NSBC.