Closing down your company? Explore a new direction

You are struggling financially and are considering closing your company. Or perhaps you have already made the decision. You are not quite sure what to do next: should you start a new company in a promising industry? Should you transition back to employment? Or should you enrol in a retraining programme? Consider all your options and decide what to do.

Closing your company does not have to be a bad thing. It can be a big weight off your shoulders and give you time to reconsider your options and come up with new plans. Before you take the plunge, think about the future.

Tips for considering your options

There are lots of things you can do after leaving your company. Here are a few options.

1. Start a new company

Take a breather and start afresh, launching a new company. With an idea better suited to today’s market than your old approach or activity. In a promising industry. Or you take it slow at first to avoid high costs or opt for security and, in addition to paid employment, start a company on the side.

Buying a business is another option. Then you will immediately have regular customers, brand awareness and a business premises. Make sure to check out the roadmap before you decide. There are lots of acquisition websites on the internet that list businesses for sale. You might also be able to find people in your network who are looking to sell. Perhaps you could take over the business of one of your industry peers? Join the family business or acquire an unknown company in a stable industry.

Are you left with debts from your previous company? Do not let them get in the way of a fresh start. It is wise, however, to pay off your debts. Our debt roadmap will help you do just that.

2. Paid employment

Go looking for paid employment. These days, you can easily apply for vacancies online, especially if you also have a LinkedIn profile. Look for job openings on social media, job apps, career sites, and with employment agencies. Use filters to narrow down your search and find a job that suits you. Get in application mode, attend online courses and webinars on applying for a job (in Dutch) and job interviews (in Dutch).

You know what degrees you have and what courses you have taken. You have the knowledge and skills you need to be a valuable employee. Having a job does not mean that you cannot tap into your entrepreneurial spirit. Inquire about labour market trends and make an appointment at a training and employment help desk (in Dutch).

Je weet welke opleidingen, cursussen en trainingen je hebt afgerond. Along with your skills, you are valuable when working for someone else. Even with a job, you can be entrepreneurial. Find out about labour market developments and make an appointment at a leerwerkloket (in Dutch).

3. Find work in an in-demand field

Your skills may come in handy in a job that you never even considered. Your skills may come in handy in a job you haven't yet considered. The employee insurance agency UWV has compiled an overview of job opportunities (in Dutch).

4. Free retraining advice

Entrepreneurs and self-employed professionals can request free retraining advice (in Dutch) for themselves or for their staff. This advice consists of 2 parts: a competency and interest test and retraining and career advice provided by a qualified independent career professional. The government, industry, UWV, and municipalities have financial schemes to encourage retraining. Your situation determines which discounts and grants apply to you. Find out (in Dutch) what you are entitled to now.

5. Explore the labour market

Regional mobility teams (in Dutch) provide guidance and assistance to help you find salaried employment. This could consist of career advice, training, and on-the-job learning opportunities. There are 35 RMTs across the country.

6. Claim Bbz assistance

Were you were born before 1 January 1960 and is your company no longer viable? In that case, you can apply for benefits or working capital through the  Social Assistance to the Self-Employed Decree (Bbz). In addition to the age requirement, several other conditions apply. For example, the hour’s criterium, an income below the social assistance level, and whether you have been an entrepreneur for 10 years straight. You can claim Bbz assistance or working capital from your municipality.

7. Claim benefits

If you are thinking about leaving self-employment because you cannot earn a living from your business, you may be eligible for benefits. You may be able to claim benefits under the Older and Partially Disabled (Formerly Self-Employed) Persons Income Support Act (IOAZ). To qualify for IOAZ benefits, you have to meet various requirements. You have to be 55 or older and must have worked for the past 10 years straight, the last 3 years of which as an self-employed professional.

You can apply for IOAZ benefits with your municipality. Make sure to do so before you close your company. After you are granted IOAZ benefits, you have to dissolve your company after no more than 18 months. The benefits will be paid (retroactively) for each month that you qualified.

8. Selling your company

Many industries have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Rebalancing industries by tapering down the number of similar companies is one way to improve the profitability of those that remain. Thinking about selling your company to an industry peer or another buyer? Make sure to prepare for the sale first by following these 6 steps. You can use the proceeds to plan for the future. 

Tip: If you are unexpectedly forced to repay COVID-19 support, call in a specialist to help. Options include your own bookkeeper (in Dutch) or accountant (in Dutch), a specialised bookkeeper, accountant, grant adviser, your industry organisation (in Dutch),or a business association.

9. Spend your time wisely

Your age or personal situation may also be reasons to consider taking a step back. Think carefully about how you will fill all your free time to avoid social isolation. Did you work on youth projects, sports clubs, or associations while you were still running your business? Keep doing what you always did. There is no reason to stop now.

10. Address money worries and emotions

Is your company in debt? Chances are that you are worried about yourself and the people around you: your family and your employees. Dealing with debt and money worries can be very difficult and emotionally taxing. Prevent problems from snowballing and reach out to a support agency. There are lots of professional organisations that are there for you and can offer a listening ear if you have mental health problems. Work together to find a solution and use the Debt roadmap.

Closing your company - video

The video neatly summarises all the steps you need to take to close your company. Either because you are selling it, because you are in debt, or because the time has come to close it.

Video: Ending your business