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76 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k m a rc h /a p r i l 2 0 2 1 You may not think of closing a business as something you do "successfully," but it truly is. You opened your business with integrity, and hopefully operated it successfully for a long time. When the time comes to retire, switch careers, or just shut it down, you need to end your business with integrity as well. First of all, don't just move out and leave your clients wondering what happened. We've all heard horror stories about businesses that closed without a word—even to their employees. Don't be that person. After 13 years of owning a multidisciplinary clinic—employing massage therapists, a chiropractor, an acupuncturist, an esthetician, and offering other services—I closed the business while my husband was going through cancer treatment. I then accepted a job working remotely from home for a major massage product manufacturer. Upon closing my clinic, I had numerous gift certificates that hadn't yet been redeemed and package deals that had not been completed. I arranged with my former staff members and a couple of therapist friends to continue honoring them, and for the next 18 months, I paid them to do so. My staff all quickly found other places to land (most struck out on their own and opened their own practices; one worked in a chiropractic office). Since I had contact information for everyone who had a package, I personally contacted them about the closure and gave them the contact information for the therapists who would honor their remaining sessions. I contacted as many people as I could who had purchased gift certificates, but that still left a lot of people who weren't personal clients. I had no contact information for them or those who purchased the gifts. I handled that by leaving our website and our Facebook page active after we closed and listed the names and numbers of the therapists who would honor the gift certificates. Additionally, I had the local chamber of commerce publicize my closing, and I took out ads in the paper about it. I pinned the announcement to the top of the Facebook page, announced it numerous times on my own personal social media, and asked everyone who was willing to please share it. I live in a small town, and it was shared hundreds of times by locals. I left flyers with the woman who rented my former office space (which was in a high-traffic area on Main Street), and she gave one to anyone who walked in asking where we had gone. I feel good about the way I went about it. When a friend of mine closed her spa, which was located in a large city, she arranged with several different spas to honor her gift certificates and packages. She publicized it widely, and the spas who honored them advertised it as well. The spas gained new clients and no one was left feeling like they got ripped off. It was a win-win situation. Thinking of Shutting Things Down? Here's How to Successfully (and ethically) Close a Business

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