I feel kind of sad as I write this post. If you ever ran a small business that failed, you would know the feeling.
It was not my business.
But, you still feel for the people who tried really hard and still failed.
The neighbourhood restaurant and bar had opened about a year and a half ago, just around the corner from where I live. I could see their decorative lights from the kitchen window of my apartment. In the spirit of supporting a local business establishment, my wife and I would drop by often for a quick drink, or bite.
Last Friday as we decided to walk over, I noticed that the lights were off. Not thinking much of it, I checked their website to see if they were closed for a private event.
I got this message.
When you run a small business, there are only three outcomes that you can expect – you continue to run it; you sell it; or, you take the least preferred option and shut it down.
The controversial Forbes article that said “8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months” seemed to apply to this restaurant.
It was a business that I thought would succeed.
The owners were not novices. They had run a few other successful restaurants. A fair amount of money had been spent on the décor and layout, giving it an upscale feel. The location could have been better but was certainly OK. You could argue that it was a little far from the real action of the city centre core. The abundant free parking made up for that. It was probably one of the better non-chain bars in town.
Over the past few months, I had gotten to know the folks who ran it – Brian, Faz, Andrea, Ryan, and Terry. A bunch of good people who worked hard to make their business work.
Yet, it didn’t!
So what went wrong?
Perhaps it was the identity crisis.
Was it a bar or was it a club?
Were they trying to cater to the 25-35 crowd while the patrons appeared to be older and looking for good food and a relaxing environment.
Was it the food? Should they have gone less fancy? Did they fail to adapt?
Was the business case flawed?
In the scheme of things, the answers are less important than the fact that the folks who ran it now have to deal with the fall out. I am sure they will take this as a temporary setback and bounce back.
It’s time to hit reboot on their lives.