We often hear from supporters of Unreasonable Ventures who are in the dark that a company they once supported has closed down. “Hey, how is [Insert Unknowingly-Closed Venture Name] doing? I have not heard from them in a while.” From there, we have to share the news with the eager supporter that the company they once were so excited about closed its doors. This leaves everyone feeling a bit empty and with a bad taste in their mouth.
The difference is in how customers and clients come away after the doors are closed at a company. Tweet This Quote
Liga Masiva is a company that shut its doors a few years back. It is also an example of a company that left customers and clients feeling good about it. Emily Kerr (Founder and CEO of Liga Masiva) came through the first ever Unreasonable Institute in 2010.
The company’s traction and momentum was incredible: they raised funding, increased farmer income by 200%, and sold their delicious, fair trade coffee across the United States. Unfortunately, after 3 years and for a variety of reasons, it wasn’t going to work. Emily and the Liga Masiva team decided to close their doors.
When you close your company, clearly lay out what worked and what didn’t, so others can learn from your experiences. Tweet This Quote
The difference is in how their customers and clients came away after they closed the doors on the company they put so much blood, sweat and tears into over the past three years.
Here’s what they did:
1. They told supporters what was happening.
Liga Masiva didn’t just quietly go off the scene as some early stage companies do. They were honest and forthcoming about what was happening. They even shared the date of when things were coming to an end so customers and clients knew.
2. They helped others learn.
Liga Masiva very clearly laid out what was and wasn’t working so that others could learn from their experiences. The things they learned could very well help others increase farmer incomes in the future.
3. They took care of their stakeholders.
One of my favorite things they did was suggest very specific coffee roasters (companies that were once viewed as their competition) for their customers to purchase from, due to aligned values and product quality. Additionally, they made sure key teammates stayed on to take care of the farmers (their suppliers) until the end. Even though they weren’t going to be in business any longer, they continued to take care of the people who were most important to them.
4. They gave customers a last chance to support them.
They didn’t wait until the doors were shut to tell the news. Liga Masiva told us they would be closing soon and gave us one final chance to support their cause and buy their delicious coffee. One last delicious bag of coffee was still available for us.
Even if you won’t be in business any longer, continue to take care of the people who are most important to you. Tweet This Quote
Rumor on the street is that after their final communication with their supporters, someone was interested in buying Liga Masiva to keep the company, the impact on farmers’ lives, and the coffee flowing. Delicious.
Save this post into that file we all hope we never have to open: the one about closing down a company. If the time comes for you, take a page out of the book of Liga Masiva and close it down the right way, so your customers and clients leave feeling good.
A version of this post originally published on UNREASONABLE.is in October 2012. It has been updated and reposted to inspire further conversation.