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Learning the hard way: the lessons of owner‐managers who have closed their businesses

David Stokes (David Stokes is an Assistant Director at the Small Business Research Centre, Kingston Business School, Kingston‐upon‐Thames, UK.)
Robert Blackburn (Robert Blackburn is Director, at the Small Business Research Centre, Kingston Business School, Kingston‐upon‐Thames, UK.)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 1 March 2002

8562

Abstract

There is a tendency to associate business “closure” with business “failure”, confusing owners that close a business with ‘unsuccessful’ entrepreneurs. This article reports on a study into the experiences of business owners who have left their business. Three stages of research, including interviews and a postal questionnaire, tracked businesses that closed, what the owners did next and what they learned from the experience. The results suggest that some common assumptions need challenging in order to remove the stigma from closing down a business. The overall conclusion is that the closure process can represent a positive, learning experience. Even owners who have had unsuccessful ventures are motivated and more able to make it work next time because of lessons learned. This provides further support for the concept of the serial entrepreneur.

Keywords

Citation

Stokes, D. and Blackburn, R. (2002), "Learning the hard way: the lessons of owner‐managers who have closed their businesses", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 17-27. https://doi.org/10.1108/14626000210419455

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 2002, MCB UP Limited

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