How to survive a catastrophic business crisis

Boom. (Credit: geralt on Pixabay)

Use these two powers to hold you steady when everything’s falling apart, and survive whatever’s thrown at you.


I just got off a call with an entrepreneur whose business has been hit by an enormous curve-ball, completely out of their control. It could spell the end of the company.

Whilst situations like this can feel like a personal doomsday, it was a reminder of two immutable powers, available to everyone, all of the time.

1. There is always a next step, with and without money

Your business can become insolvent. You can personally go bankrupt. You can lose every penny and possession you have. These are facts. Yet none of those things can stop you on your creative journey through life.

Yes, the options available to you might drastically change. Yet there is always a next step.

Don’t believe for a second that the legal entity of your organisation is more real than your own flesh, blood and mind. Organisations can vanish, yet you can continue through life undeterred.

2. You can still be guided by what matters most

When I faced a similar crisis five years ago, my friend Charles asked me to name the single most important thing I had to remember in this time. My answer? Integrity.

Not the bullshit cliché integrity that’s in every corporation’s list of ‘core values.’ I mean the deepest felt sense of how you absolutely must show up, treat people and make decisions. It became a huge source of strength to help me be resilient, and do the right thing.

No matter what happens that’s beyond your control, you always have an infinitely larger power to act from your integrity. It’s a power that can never be taken away from you.

If you make choices from this place you will personally survive intact, even if all else crumbles around you.

Real bankruptcy is not financial. It’s when you chose to walk away from your integrity.

Tom Nixon is a coach and advisor to creative founders. He’s also the founder of Maptio, a tool to visualise organisations without traditional management hierarchy. Try it for free.

Thanks to Peter Koenig and Charles Davies for the inspiration.