Usually the most difficult thing to face is the fact that your business is having difficulties. Phrases such as “We’re waiting for it to get better”, “when the recession is over we’ll be fine”, “I’m battening down the hatches until things get better” are commonly heard. Business turnround specialists exist to help in these situations.
The second most difficult thing to face is the fact that you don’t have the expertise to deal with the problems. Many owners will say that they have been running their business for years and they know all about it. Consequently, how can someone else be any help?
For small businesses that can see their way through these two issues, they are then faced with a harder problem. A small business cannot afford the large fees that are often charged by the big companies to help turn the situation around. This is especially true when the business is struggling. This is when a business turnround expert can help.
“I know that I have problems but I can’t afford to do anything about them”
Business turnround specialist
This is where we come in. We specialise in helping businesses with simple, straight-forward advice and help. An outside view from an expert can be the catalyst you need to start you back on the path to recovery. Business turnround is one of the main specialties we have.
Every business is different and so understanding the issues will be different every time. This is where an outside person with a broad range of experience is invaluable.
Using these services only works if you are honest and open enough to recognise that you need help. There also needs to be a strong desire and commitment to improve.
We are not talking here about businesses that are looking at liquidation, bankruptcy or winding up. We work with businesses that just need help to improve. Your business may actually be insolvent. You will then need an insolvency practitioner. There are several in the marketplace, and any of the reputable ones will do a very good job for you.
The point is to talk to a business turnround specialist BEFORE you need an insolvency practitioner. We can tell many stories, where a business could have been saved if only they had sought the proper expert business advice earlier. So – don’t leave it too late. Speak to a business adviser as soon as things start to look a bit sticky. More often that not you can resolve the situation. You can then go on to be a highly successful and growing business.
Money is not necessarily the only issue. You may need to improve every area of your business. This could range from people management & team building, to production control, health and safety or quality and planning. Whatever you perceive the problems to be, help is at hand.
There is a range of four levels of service that you can access. You can choose any combination of these depending on your situation.
Simple business review
A simple Business audit and review can quickly identify those areas that you need to give most attention to. As its title suggests this is a very straight-forward. It is nevertheless a thorough examination of every aspect of your business. The output from this will be a one or two page “Management Action Plan”. This will highlight the key priorities needed to take your business forward in the way you have said you want to go.
Typically a Business Audit Review will take one day of time over a period of about a week.
Full business review
You may need a full business review to establish the complete detail of where the key problems are, and what you can do about them. The full business review will involve talking with many of your staff, and detailed investigating of facts and figures. The output from this will typically be a comprehensive report that will make a series of recommendations of what you need to do, how to do it, what it is likely to cost and the possible outcomes. Sometimes the report will make unpleasant reading because it will not duck issues. Sometimes the cause of the problems are people and what they are, or are not doing. These can be difficult issues to deal with.
Typically this work will take around 10 days of time, over a 3 to 4 week period, involving a number of visits and requests for detailed information.
The output from the assignment will give you a detailed view of what you need to do in your business to turn it round. It is impossible to say in advance what will be in the report because no two situations are the same.
Very often the presentation of the final report will involve a number of the Company’s Directors or owners and be a lively session that brings about a determined desire for change and clear plan of what to do to make it happen.
You may want someone to come in and take over the operation to sort all the issues out. It can also often be the case such a request will follow from the full business review. If you are the business owner you simply may not have the time available to do all that needs doing. You may also recognise that you do not have all the skills needed. You, the owner, may want someone who can implement the recommended changes. There are many reasons why it can be hugely beneficial to use someone from outside the organisation to implement the changes:
- It is less expensive than hiring a full time permanent person;
- We can bring a degree of independence to bear – no axe to grind;
- An internal person sometimes won’t take the difficult decisions;
- An outside person will usually be more objective and unbiased;
- An outside person will bring fresh ideas and can often act as a catalyst;
- Because of the independence, an outside person can often be a good arbitrator or mediator.
The interim management role will normally be full time, and for a period of between 3 and 6 months, depending on the scale of the operation and the scale of the issues that need resolving.
Often a part of that role will be to recruit a full time Director to come in and take over the running of the operation once we complete the interim assignment.
Taking on an Interim manager is not a quick and easy decision, however if your company is having difficulties it may be the only way to get them dealt with quickly and effectively.
Ongoing business advice
This service is normally one or two days per month, and will often follow from one of the Business Reviews. Having received a report, indicating all the things that need resolving, it makes a lot of sense to ask the advisor to stick with you and help you to make them happen. It can be too easy to receive a report, agree that these things need doing, and then find yourself embroiled in the day to day crises and not actually tackling the core issues.
Your Business Advisor will help to keep you on the straight and narrow! The role will actually be much more than that as your advisor will act in a “mentoring” capacity, giving you sound advice and guidance with whatever business issues come up. S/he will be your sounding board and you will very quickly get used to having someone to call on (in person, over the phone or by email) whenever there is something you want to talk through.
You can think of it as a “Non-Executive Director (NED)” role for a small business that does not have a formal board of Directors or a Non-Executive Director.
You do not always need to commit to any of the services listed above. A good business adviser will often be able to very quickly identify what needs doing. Also as long as you act on that information, you can very quickly turnround your business.
If you feel you have a potential business turnround situation and would like to talk to one of our specialists, please call or drop us a short email. Please be assured that everything we do is in strictest confidence.