Turnaround Management – How To Survive A Downturn In Business

Business is a daily minefield of customers, employees and suppliers all with different and often competing demands for limited resources. Add to this the need to keep up with technology, competitors and new developments within the industry and it is no wonder that maintaining a balance in business can be very difficult. With so many elements to juggle, often a business can be heading in a downward direction long before it becomes obvious to owners or management. If you find that business is indeed heading the wrong way, here are some tips to help manage and survive the downturn while turning business around. Survival Tips 1. Accept the reality of the situation. It is not always easy to admit that as an owner or manager that the business is indeed not performing to expectations. By being realistic and accepting the reality of what is going on, it will be much easier to begin the turnaround process. 2. Seek help from those with more experience. This is not a time to try and solve problems all alone. Talk with other owners or managers that may have been through a similar situation – what did they do and why? What worked and what didn’t? What area of the business should the focus be on? Another option is to consider engaging experts in turnaround management. There are firms (like Kestrel Solutions) that are experienced experts in the business turnaround process and in stressful times, this experience (and objectivity) can be invaluable. 3. Take immediate action steps to stop the downward momentum. Speed of action is something that can be critical – don’t... read more

The 3 Most Common Mistakes Made When Hiring A Business Coach

Making the decision to hire a business coach is not only a major one for any business, it also represents a significant investment.  While making the initial decision to hire a coach may have been easy, what is not so simple is ensuring the right steps are taking during the hiring process. There are some common mistakes that business owners and managers make when hiring a coach that can significantly reduce the benefits of coaching.  Specifically, these are:  Lack of clearly defined business outcomes No selection criteria (or criteria that are poorly defined) Rushing the hiring process. An outline of each of these mistakes along with how to avoid them is outlined below. Mistake #1 –  Lack of Clearly Defined Business Outcomes It may sound obvious but often when the decision is made to get some business coaching, there is little consideration given to the specifics of what the coaching will achieve.  This is a sure recipe for disaster and usually results in poor results at a significant cost. Solution:  Before hiring someone to help with the business, it is important to be very clear on what it is that the business is looking to accomplish.  Is it help with planning, managing employees, strategic development, mentoring, financial management, operations, marketing, sales or a combination of these that is required? Take the time to formulate what the outcomes and expectations for business coaching will be, along with the business goals and objectives.  It is often best to do this in consultation with any relevant managers or staff to ensure maximum benefit to the business. Mistake #2 – No Selection Critieria... read more

The 5 Step Process for Turnaround Management

Turnaround Management is about business restructure and renewal.  Often, a turnaround management strategy is employed when the business is under financial stress.  However, it is not necessary to wait until the situation becomes too dire to commence a turnaround strategy.  In fact it is preferable to commence the process before it could be too late. To help understand how turnaround management works, below is an outline of the 5 step process involved.  Having a good understanding of this process will make it easier to identify if and when, it should be applied. Step 1 – Define & Analyse During this stage the definition of performance problems within the business are clearly outlined.  It is particularly important during this step that any areas of financial stress within the business are identified and a thorough analysis undertaken. The objective of this is to arrest any further decline in the business while continuing to trade and avoid insolvency. Step 2 – Scope & Strategy Once the business has been stabilised, it is now time to commence a strategic planning process.  The first part of this is to scope the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis) of the business. It is important during this stage to not only look internally (strengths and weaknesses) but to strategically analyse the external environment (opportunities and threats) as well. From the SWOT analysis, the long term vision, mission and objectives for the business can be defined.  Knowing where the business is heading then allows the development of a strategic plan. Step 3 – Link & Action Now it is time to take the strategic plan and... read more

5 Benefits of Hiring a Business Coach

Making the decision to hire a business coach is not always an easy one.  It requires a high level of trust and transparency that can be uncomfortable for many in business. While this is understandable, regardless of your level of business experience, the benefits of hiring the right business coach will definitely outweigh the downsides.  In particular if the business is struggling to grow and develop or is even going backwards, the investment in a business coach could be exactly what is need to turn the business around. Hiring a business coach has many benefits and the 5 most significant are summarised below. 1.  Objectivity When working day in, day out within a business an intimate knowledge of the business is inevitable, making it very difficult to maintain a degree of objectivity.   Every little aspect of the business becomes important and often there are many things that become far more important than they should. At the end of the day being in business is all about the bottom line and only those aspects of the business that contribute to this in a positive way should be focused on.  A business coach will bring a level of objectivity that can be difficult for entrenched business owners and managers to facilitate and help bring the focus back to what is important. 2.  Structure and System Development Another aspect of business that can suffer is the proper setup of structure and systems that help it to run smoothly.  It takes time to set these in place and see them become a routine part of the business.  Because of this, many businesses don’t... read more

What Is A SWOT Analysis?

A term that is often used when referring to business planning of any kind is a SWOT analysis.  It is the starting point for any type of business plan, whether that plan is for a start up venture or a company that has been running for many years.  This article will discuss what a SWOT analysis encompasses and how to utilise it in business planning. What Does S.W.O.T. Stand For?  Strengths  –  Weakness  –  Opportunities  –  Threats Image by Dave Hallmon Strengths and weaknesses are factors internal to the business.  That is, every business will typically display strengths in certain areas, while it will also have definite weaknesses that are impacting its performance internally. Opportunities and threats are external to the business and are a collection of elements from the environment in which the business is operating that could affect its performance both in the short and long term. Strengths and opportunities are seen as favourable to the business.  Alternatively, weaknesses and threats are unfavourable factors. Internal Factors The first step in the SWOT analysis is to analyse the business with an ‘internal’ focus.  It is necessary here to consider the business objectively and assess its strengths and weaknesses.  It is also important that all areas of the business are considered e.g. sales, marketing, manufacturing, warehouse management, financial management etc.  All these areas of the business are interrelated and often a strength or weaknesses in one area can impact one or more other areas. Strengths are those areas of the business that give it an advantage in the marketplace.  Often these strengths are what will positively differentiate the business... read more

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