Polls Show Many Small Business Owners Burdened by Debt

A Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index poll from the spring of 2013 shows that, despite increasing optimism about the general business environment, many small business owners feel they are carrying too much debt for their company to successfully manage.

When debt becomes too large to handle and a business owner needs help to recover his or her financial footing, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, or even liquidating the business in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, may be a wise decision.

Survey Reveals Concern Over Small Business Debt

In the second quarter of 2013, a randomly selected group of 603 small business owners was surveyed by the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, which has been surveying small business owners since 2003. As reported by Gallup, the results revealed that more than a third of small business owners in the nation - 36 percent - are either "somewhat uncomfortable" or "very uncomfortable" with the amount of business debt they have.

More information from the poll shows that:

  • 76 percent of small business owners have carried debt to support their businesses.
  • 20 percent of small business owners reported that they have more debt than one year ago.
  • 49 percent of small business owners said it is extremely, very, or somewhat difficult to reduce their current business debt load.

Reduce or Eliminate Business Debt through Bankruptcy

When a business is carrying too much debt, filing for bankruptcy can help. Some business owners may feel that, by filing for bankruptcy with their business, they have failed and shouldn't try again. However, that simply is not true.

Gallup reported statistics from the U.S. Small Business Administration showing that about half of all small businesses fail within the first five years of operating. Many of these business owners learn valuable lessons from the experience. Those lessons aren't lost; they're applied to future businesses, businesses which likely have a greater likelihood of success.

And besides, bankruptcy itself does not necessarily mean the end of the business.

When a business has an unmanageable amount of debt but is otherwise strong and financially viable, reorganizing the debt through Chapter 11 bankruptcy can help the business weather the temporary debt storm and move on to a brighter future. When it seems the business will not ever be able to operate profitably, however, it may be more beneficial to liquidate the business through Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Opting to file for bankruptcy and deciding which chapter to file under can be a complicated decision, and having the counsel of an experienced bankruptcy attorney can certainly help. If your business is struggling with debt, contact a bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your options.