How Les beat bankruptcy to start again

PUBLISHED: 12:32 17 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:47 15 June 2010

AS BRITAIN teeters on the edge of recession and local businesses fear the impact, one Seaton man gives reassurance having survived an economic crisis before.

AS BRITAIN teeters on the edge of recession and local businesses fear the impact, one Seaton man gives reassurance - having survived an economic crisis before.PC Pro group director and owner Les Kinch went bankrupt in 1990, but proves it is possible to rebuild a business.The 56-year-old, who has stores in Axminster and Seaton, had been working with a firm of IT consultants for the NHS, when the contract was withdrawn almost overnight.Out of work and struggling to find employment, Mr Kinch's pocket and self-esteem suffered.He went personally bankrupt long after the company folded. The financial worry took its toll and his wife miscarried. He said: "Having the worry of creditors' letters and trying to work out payment schedules when no jobs were available was extremely harsh. Health was a big issue and the whole family suffered."Life's problems at that point seemed insurmountable. After my wife was harangued by bank and credit card companies and had a miscarriage, I decided none of them deserved anything. "I walked into a court, paid them the fee and went bankrupt to protect my family. That night I slept very soundly."For a time, Mr Kinch says he felt like a failure, but then rationalised there was nothing he could have done to stop it. He said: "This recession is going to be the same for many small businesses and people should not take it as a personal failure. "Instead, plan to get going again as soon as the tide turns on the economy. "There's no better way than to turn failure into success."He advises those in serious financial difficulty to sit down and consider their options, such as what they would do in worst-case scenarios.He said: "It's the fear of the unknown that keeps people up all night. Get the fear out of the way by disaster recovery planning and you will sleep at night and probably do a better job of managing yourself and the business as a result."In times like these, it's out of your control. If the business does go down, you can always start again. It can take a long time, but it's worth it."He said he has learned from the experience - placing less importance on material possessions and more on his family and health.With a strong customer base, he is hopeful his business will weather the storm. But he points out this period will pass.He said: "When this credit crisis is over, people will have sorted out their affairs - and hopefully will have learned from the experience.

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