Top 10 Ways to Go Out of Business

Sep 17

Going out of business is all the rage these days! In this economy, many small business owners are going out of business. Here’s a few tips to keep up with this growing trend…

10. Act like you’re the only shop in town. If you’re serious about going out of business, you need adjust your mindset; denial is a powerful tool in going out of business. Ignoring the fact that there are other small businesses like yours in town gives you a sense of entitlement to local residents’ business and makes you less apt to listen to customer feedback. What’s that you say? You really are the only one in town? Don’t worry. With your bad attitude, someone else who wants to succeed in business instead of fail will replace you before long.

9. Treat your customers badly. People expect a superior experience from small businesses because, let’s face it, you can offer it. But should you? Not if you want to go out of business! If you treat customers badly, they might come in, but they won’t be back. With fewer and fewer customers coming to you, you’ll be well on your way to going out of business.

Watch this great example on how to treat customers badly. This couple, featured on the reality TV show Kitchen Nightmares uses customer reviews to their advantage. They ignore negative customer feedback which, especially in a customer service business like a restaurant, is a roadmap to failure-town.

8. Don’t show up during your posted hours. Treat your business like a hobby. A hobby is something you do for fun, whenever you feel like it, for pleasure and relaxation. If you consistently ignore your posted hours, there’s a good chance you will miss customers who show up when you said you would be there. Will they be back again to bring you business? Not likely.

7. Keep your business a secret. If people don’t know about you, they can’t bring their business to you. Small businesses are naturally harder to see than big businesses because of their physical size and smaller advertising budgets. Why spoil this natural advantage with bold, visible signage, smart locations, and attractive window displays? Small, unattractive, and subtle = virtually invisible. Losing!

6. Community schmommunity. You might have had help starting your business, but you can get out of it. All. By. Yourself. Other small businesses in your immediate vicinity create synergy and foot traffic that help everyone stay in business. Don’t get sucked in to helping other small businesses and local charities, or they might help you! Certainly don’t cross promote other businesses. Again, that will lead to more business coming in your door which will delay going out of business.

Don’t be wooed by the siren song of small business communities, such as RelyLocal, chamber of Commerce, merchant associations, and the like. These only serve to strengthen the voice and presence of small businesses in the community, thwarting your efforts to go out of business.

Along these same lines, try to manage all aspects of your business alone. Disregard other small businesses with services that would help you be more successful, and save you time and money. Our goal is to NOT be successful. Stay focused!

5. Don’t pander to customers’ laziness! Customers can be so lazy. They don’t want to work for anything! If you make customers work to find what they want, they certainly won’t be back. With any luck, they won’t find what they’re looking for at all!

Consider each aspect of a customer’s experience from the time they walk in your door:

  • Showrooms should be over-crowded and difficult to navigate.
  • Shelves should be disorganized.
  • Menus and signage should be vague and unreadable.
  • It should be difficult to pay.

I know these changes may take some effort at first, but just remember, who wants empty shelves? You’re much too busy to constantly stock shelves. You’re going out of business.

4. Fuel your business with wishes, not a business plan. This is especially easy if you’re newly in business. New businesses close all the time without even trying, simply because they didn’t account for all their ongoing expenses, or thought customers would magically come to them in droves. On the other hand planning ahead by saving enough money before you go into business may delay going out of business…indefinitely.

3. Never change. The customer is not always right People need to adapt to you. This is YOUR business. Put your foot down and tell your customers how you see yourself: perfect as you are. If they have the audacity to show up two minutes before opening time. Turn them away, with a little shaming for good measure. They don’t like the service you provide? Excellent. They can find another service provider. Whether they know it or not, they’ll be assisting you toward your goal of going out of business.

2. Remember, you ARE the victim. Three words: blame, blame, and blame. Blame the city, the weather, your customers, your location, the economy, the Chamber of Commerce… anything but yourself! I don’t mean to harp on this, but going out of business starts with your mindset. If you accept responsibility for lagging profits, you will spoil your blissful ignorance of changes you can make to grow. On the other hand, shifting blame to things outside of your control is a surefire way to go out of business.

1. Act like the internet doesn’t exist. The internet is everywhere nowadays. Going back to point number seven, if you’re trying to go out of business it’s important to keep a low-profile. Don’t have a social media presence. Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, Instagram, etc. are all ploys to get customers to connect to you, follow you, understand what you do, and eventually BRING BUSINESS TO YOU.

If you are already on the internet (sorry!), apply the first nine tips to your online presence as well. For instance, criticize people online who rate your business poorly, make your online presence ugly, confusing, and free of pesky facts such as open hours and location, and help your website maintain a degree of secrecy by hiding it from search engines! If your potential customers can’t find your website, it’s as if it doesn’t exist to them. Whatever you do, avoid effective tools, like RelyLocal, as they serve to help more people in your community (e.g. your target audience) see your website, and again, bring you more business.

Finally, if you’re confused about how to act like the internet doesn’t exist, remember this mantra: if it was good enough twenty years ago, it’s good enough for today.

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Amanda Liddle is a guest blogger – she and her husband, Ian have launched the Rely on Renton campaign in Renton, WA. With their years of experience as Community Builders, building a community campaign to support local businesses was an obvious fit and we are thrilled to have them as partners! Amanda can be reached at

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