Okay, you have been down this road once or twice. You have been in business for several years, or maybe you are new to the retail world. The problem is you are stuck in this crazy roller coaster of an economy and sales are not where you had originally thought they would be. Your five year plan is about to implode, so what do you do?
You have some options.
The first thing is to renegotiate your lease or mortgage to a better suited financial obligation just to help you through these times. By being engaged in your business, you should know your numbers inside and out, so having the leverage is already there, and all you have to do is open this dialog with the landlord. Most likely you will be able to do something, as long as you are open and honest with your landlord.
The second option you have is to simply pay off you existing term lease. This is expensive (depending on how long you have left) and can be brutal to your wallet. Once you settle on a price with the landlord, you simply can walk away and take all of your personal possessions with you. Of course you are leaving with dignity and pride, so as to not ruin it for the next guy looking to take over that space.
The third option you have, and one that I would strongly not recommend is to simply walk away. This leaves a very bad taste in not only the landlord’s mouth, but the bank that has been financing the landlord as well. Simply put, do not do this.
Let’s talk about that last one.
I have just heard of the worst midnight run of all times, from a very well respected franchise system. I will not throw them under the rug because it is not really their fault. This responsibility falls onto the franchisee themselves. The acts that transpired in regards to this midnight run (after electing option #3 from above) are far from having any class or integrity. The place looks like they brought in a wrecking ball and just destroyed everything in their path. The equipment was torn out, literally, and the booths, tables and seats were left turned over, upside down, trashed and just plain unusable.
Now, this causes a few things to happen (not to include some landlord boiling of blood): one thing that comes to mind is lawsuit. The landlord is now suing the tenant for not only breach of contract but defamation of property, and a slew of other things. So, I would ask the damaging tenant this: “is it really worth it?” – I would bet the answer would be a resounding “NO”.
At the end of the day, if you are stuck in this scenario, all you really have left is your integrity and self-worth. 99% of all the ‘rich’ persons build their wealth with integrity, the other one percent do it and do not last with it.