This guest post is courtesy of our friends at MyCorporation
The day that any business, whether it’s a brick and mortar store or an online shop, has to shutter its doors is never an easy one. However, closing an online business is a bit different than that of a storefront. In the event that you ever need to close the doors on your online small business, here’s the proper way to go about doing so on an eCommerce site whether you’re planning on simply shutting down the website or taking it offline entirely.
If you’re moving to another website…
Shutting down a website doesn’t always mean that the business itself is closing. Sometimes, this is simply the small business owner wanting to provide their products/services on another website and move over account holders and subscribers.
If this sounds like the situation you’re in, the best thing to do is a 404 redirect if you want to direct traffic elsewhere. You may also want to include a quick note on your site’s homepage about the shift and add in a mention in your company newsletter, to keep customers in the loop and from becoming confused about what’s going on.
If you want the site off of the internet altogether…
Planning on shuttering the doors on your eCommerce site forever? Here’s the game plan for what to do next.
1) Contact your hosting company to cancel.
2) Contact your domain name provider to cancel.
3) Test that the site is actually removed after you take these steps.
If your eCommerce site is registered as a formal business entity, like an LLC or Corporation, you’ll want to dissolve the entity as well as cancel the Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS, and close any bank accounts. You might also want to notify merchant services if you have been taking credit card information via the site too.
What’s a dissolution and why would my eCommerce business need one?
A dissolution is the formal closure of a business with the state. eCommerce businesses that have formally incorporated as LLCs or Corporations are considered to be active entities in the eyes of the Secretary of State. Even if the business isn’t doing any business of its own, because it has filed with the state it is considered to be active. And an active business still has state obligations like paying taxes and filing annual reports.
By filing for a dissolution, your eCommerce business is announcing to the state that you are formally closing your business. This announcement will keep you from paying any late fees, unnecessary taxes, and annual state fees associated with the business you would have had to pay if you had remained open.
Additionally, if you are interested in reinstating your eCommerce business after it has dissolved (particularly if the dissolution was involuntary), you’ll be happy to find out that most small business owners can do this. Determine why your LLC or Corporation was dissolved, submit reinstatement forms to the state to get back into good standing, and pay all outstanding fees in the reinstatement process.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.