In today’s world we seem to have instant access to everything. I thought it would be useful if I applied this same principal to Business Turnaround, and developed a checklist that could be used to put in place an effective strategy over the next 24 hours.
It may of course be that the business is in need of a kick start or Transformation rather than a full blown Turnaround, but in my experience the same principles apply.
The following timings simply give an illustration of what could be achieved in a single working day and take place between the hours of 5.00pm today and 5.00pm tomorrow.
(This could of course be spread out over a longer period if it was felt that this would be more effective)
Start the plan
5.00pm Think through who you are going to be doing the majority of the planning with tomorrow and pull them in. Even if you have a good management team around you, from my experience it is incredibly useful to have an external person with experience of these matters with you on the day to provide support and guidance where needed. If this is the case make the call now. If you are not sure how to chose the right person this article should help.
Stage one tomorrow morning will be to make a physical change at the workplace and you need to make a decision as to what this is going to be. It should be something that both you and your staff recognise as being a change in mind-set, a line in the sand and the start of a new era. This could be anything from going in to the office very early with a team of cleaners or decorators and spring cleaning, painting or re-planning the office, to getting your local sign maker to make you some nice new signs for the front door.
Make the Physical change
6.00am As discussed above this needs to be something that signifies change is happening NOW.
Nb It may be that just being first in and making or buying the coffee is the thing!
Create a new working environment
9.00am Adopt a whole new attitude. If it is the start of a new era, let everyone know. Be visibly uplifted about the new environment you are working in. Say to yourself and colleagues it’s going to be a good day.
This will have the effect of getting everyone’s attention and reinforcing the message that has already been started with the new office layout or sign.
It will also pull everyone together and get them ready to accept the changes that are coming.
10.30am Start to look at your strategy by analysing what is going on around you, both in your own market or sector, and in the wider business and economic environment. There are a number of very useful tools that can be used here to give your analysis a deep insight into what is actually happening both in your industry and in the broader economy. The third party advisor can be extremely useful here and ensure that the exercise is completed in good time.
12.00 noon Analyse your business model. Are you providing what your customers are looking for? What is the online strategy? Have you still got a fleet of delivery vans when everyone is buying online? Where are you positioned in the market – are you offering added bells and whistles that nobody wants anymore?
Is your best selling product costing you money every time you sell it?
Is customer retention a problem?
I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of flexibility here, and of not being wedded to the past. Be honest with yourself and start the changes to bring your product or service into the 21st Century.
2.00pm Cash is of course King when planning any Turnaround Strategy. Invariably finances are tighter than you would want them to be at this time. In my experience there are always steps that can be taken to make your cash resources fit the plan or adjustments made to the plan to fit the cash resources. Very often it’s a bit of both. If you are seeking replacement or additional finance, this will obviously have to wait until tomorrow, but if you are using a third party advisor, they will be able to give guidance on the likelihood of being able to put in place the new facilities. It’s worth making the point that your request for finance will have a far greater chance of success having put into action your new plans.
Getting everyone on board
3.30pm Once you have your Strategy and Cash flow pinned down, communicate the changes that are taking place. It’s incredibly important to get buy in here and for the majority of people that haven’t been involved in the planning process to have the proposed changes explained in a sensitive way that seeks to bind them in to the process.
Most importantly make sure everyone has a real upside once the business is back on an even keel and trading successfully.
If, as I would expect, you are asking them to put their heart and soul into the Turnaround this ‘upside’ needs to be more than working their socks off to save the business just to make some more money for the shareholders!
Keep the momentum going
4.30pm Review what has been achieved in the day, and make plans for tomorrow. Do not make the new working environment a one day wonder. Remember that you will need the support of your whole team to give the Turnaround the greatest chance of success. Try to build a real feeling of Mission about what is taking place and stress the importance of everyone’s role within this.
5.00pm At the end of the day it may have been hard work, but it will have been worthwhile.
This is just the first 24 hours……….
If you have any comments on this article or would like to discuss any aspect of it please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0845 689 8750.
John Thompson is Managing Director and founder of Trans Capital Associates
Image by: Ford Europe