A reader writes:

I've spent the last 9 years building my company.  Up until 4 months ago we had 14 employees, were twice listed in the Inc Magazine Top 5000 growing companies, top 20 in the LA Business Journal fastest growing LA County businesses, etc.  We felt that we'd reached a point where a solid foundation was established, as the sleepness nights worrying about (mostly) financing were waning as sales were mostly steady, month after month.
 
Now it's almost over. 

I'm down to 3 employees and they all know that the end is near---I've implored them for the past 2 months to spend as much time as possible job hunting, while at work (as there simply isn't much to do here), as the doors are most likely closing by April 30.  We've gone from $800k a month in sales to <$100k last month.  Thankfully most of my previous employees were able to find other opportunities, but there are a few who are not having much success.  The lawyers & lawsuits are at the door & explaining to them that there simply isn't any $$ to pay them---that the secured creditors have all of the company's assets virtually locked up---isn't dissuading them.  I have 5-6 of my customers who are in similar shape and I just don't have the heart to be the one that puts the final nail in their coffin.  Several of my vendors are going to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars when we go under.  I'm devastated by this as these have been my friends & business associates for 5+ years.  The effect on their families is ruinous. 

Personally, I'm ruined.  I'm facing a personal bankruptcy, whereas one year ago my personal net worth was in the low to mid seven figures.  I really don't know what I'm going to do next, and I'm stalling/procrastinating at either job searching or establishing a new business (which seems impossible given the lack of access to capital that exists).  My wife & I have a cash nest egg that should hold us through most of 2009, so we aren't in as bad a shape as most, however the sheer magnitude of the reversal of our personal situation is crushing.  We didn't make our success based on flipping houses, stupid investments, or pie-in-the-sky business investments---we both worked extremely hard, 60-80 hours a week, for the past 5-6 years and felt like we were at the pinnacle of our chosen careers.  To see it all vanish, this quickly & completely, could be depressing but for some reason isn't.  I remind myself at least 4-5x per day that we are going to be ok, that the fundamentals of our life are sound and that the country as a whole will eventually get back on track.
 
My self-assurances are beginning to sound a bit hollow.

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