Most companies, even the ones currently considered to be among the world’s most successful, have experienced various ups and downs on the way to the top. But, within this context, it’s fair to wonder why some businesses never manage to get out of their respective ruts, while others go on to thrive and reach new heights. The truth is that, while no two companies are the same, what distinguishes the winners from the losers is their ability to implement all the right measures at the right times. With that in mind, here are five essential steps that can go a long way towards putting an ailing company back on its feet:
- Be honest with yourself
Any company that finds itself on the brink of bankruptcy or dissolution has undoubtedly undergone a series of events that have led it to this point. Retrace your steps and try to pinpoint the key moments where a better decision might’ve been taken, and write everything down for future reference. This is a time for hard honesty, when optimism has to make way for a more pragmatic view on things. The idea behind this exercise is not to lay the blame on anything or anyone in particular, but simply to learn from previous mistakes in the hopes of not repeating them again.
- Reform your business plan
While there are certainly some external factors that have to be taken into account, most companies that find themselves in a bad spot usually suffer from a few deep-seated issues, a condition that requires a careful re-examination of their core philosophy. Most entrepreneurs operate under the misguided idea that a business plan is something that only has to be written once, but significant market shifts, the arrival of new competition and the sheer changing nature of our reality all suggest otherwise. So be open to reforming important aspects of your business, from the products you sell to the market you’re courting, and resist the temptation of leaving things just the way they are if they obviously aren’t working.
- Don’t shy away from making difficult decisions
When it comes to steering a ship that has gone awry, making hard decisions are almost a given. Chances are that there will be a need for personnel overhaul, asset reduction, maybe even debt factoring. All these decisions should not be taken lightly, since there are serious things at stake, from the loyalty of your employees to the public perception of your company. That being said, in dire times, all cards should be on the table. Aim for honesty and transparency, and direct your efforts towards reducing all non-essential costs without sacrificing integrity and compassion.
- Encourage innovation across the board
An oft-underrated aspect of any successful recovery effort lies in seeing beyond all the obvious facets of restructuring and reforming. Instead, try asking yourself if your company is currently in the process of trying to innovate any of its core aspects. A stagnating company will always lag behind competition unless it actively seeks to find new ways to improve its products or services. As observed by noted industry experts such as Dr. Carlo D’Ortenzio, everything, from fresh service delivery models to innovative administrative approaches should be up for consideration.
- Seek professional support
Finally, it’s important to remember that the skills needed to manage a business in distress are quite different from the ones employed when things are functioning according to plan. If you find your situation to be unmanageable, don’t hesitate to enlist the support of an individual or an agency that’s especially trained to deal with something like this. Luckily, there are plenty of companies out there that specialize in recovery efforts, many of which will offer a free consultation in order to gauge the extent and severity of your issues at first. Set a few meetings here and there and you’ll likely find that getting a fresh, objective look at your problems can work wonders when it comes to finding appropriate solutions for all of them.
As you can see, there are a number of things that can be done in order to help a struggling business regain its foothold. As company failure rates remain relatively high across all industries, it pays to learn the optimum strategies that can prevent such an unfortunate scenario from occurring. For many people, the company they put their hearts and souls into is an integral part of their lives, which is why it deserves all the time and effort required to save it.
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