For a loaded topic such as Business Resuscitation, it tempting to fill the article with a lot of strategy and business jargon. Turnaround, Cashflow Management, Change Management, LEAN structures and so on and so forth.
Whilst all that is important, where do you start when you are in the thick of things. You know “Cash is King”. You know you should have “Sustained Margins”. You know the DRILL, you get all this …, but, it’s all pointless in your current situation.
Let’s Cut through the jargon, simplify and get back to basics with the understanding that you are not alone. Every business, during the course of its existence, will encounter a near-death experience. There are no exceptions.
1. Analyse your position honestly
“Correct and Unbiased Diagnosis Before any treatment or surgery is prescribed” – isn’t that what we expect from our medical experts. The expectation shouldn’t be any different in this context. In fact, it should be more important here. After all, the business is your livelihood and helps pay for those medical bills.
So, when you realise the business is slipping or is in trouble, take a step back. Painful, but, necessary. Take a good, hard look at your company to evaluate and assess what is going wrong. You can’t take business resuscitation action without knowing where to start and push through.
2. Reassess the strategy
After analysing the position, chances are you would have found where you are going wrong. Or at least some idea of it. Resolve to push through or give up; this decision should be on merit. Emotions and logic both play a role here. Ideally, an independent party overlooking the business resuscitation process will yield a better outcome. So seek external help from someone who has run a business before.
If you do decide to push through; your approach failure will be the key to a successful TURNAROUND. (There you go, I used it – couldn’t help it). This is the single most important step in surviving a crisis in the business. But, also a hard one when you are alone and so intertwined with the day-to-day firefighting.
3. Evaluate the people and their roles
In these highly volatile situations, the default focus invariably goes to resources and objects that don’t talk back and retaliate. You know what I am talking about! The problem is usually directed towards software, hardware, and any other object/s in close proximity.
The best businesses are run on conviction and heaps of creative, constructive criticism and arguments. This is because they have a soul.
The most important assets in your business are people – your employees. When your company seems to be slipping away and failing; don’t just re-evaluate your strategy as resuscitation measure. But, also those who need to execute it. Restructure, invigorate and If necessary, get rid of those who are slowing you down. And hire those who can help revive the business.
It may sound selfish, ruthless and harsh, but from a logical point of view; Your first priority is the business and its stakeholders. Employees being significant stakeholders in your business – their well being and future direction is your responsibility. Leading them on, in a position they are not suited to undermines this responsibility. It wastes their time in finding a suited environment and role.
4. Be humble – eliminate pride and fear
As you evaluate the people and their roles, you cannot escape a bit of self-reflection and the role you played in getting here. WHO?? ME?? WHEN?? NAH … can’t be, surely … Well you do own the business, run the show, lead the team!
None of us set out to fail, but in reality, we all fail at some point in our lives. Some failures are small and some big. Business failures are typically a product of EGO and stubbornness. We are tuned to bottle things up and show brave facades. Until it’s too late and solutions become harder to implement and inevitably come at a higher cost.
Rather than putting on a game face or playing the blame game – look to your stakeholders and take responsibility. Show genuine humility. Thinking any other way is fruitless. Sticking to preconceived ideas and not willing to change is counter intuitive to the business resuscitation process. Rebuild and invigorate your business with renewed energy and fresh perspectives. From different sources.
Ego and Pride are both forms of fear. Get rid of them. No one really cares about your current position apart from your immediate stakeholders. Taking care of them is all that matters – remember you are one of them. Anyone outside this circle, are playing their own game. With their own issues and putting on brave facades. You can buck the trend.
If it gets hard to go it alone, get HELP! Sounding boards in the form of professionals who have run businesses are likely to see things from an unbiased perspective. Away from the storm. As much as practicable, delegate tasks to others who are capable and competent within your business. This will enable you to focus ON the task of reviving your business. Rather than IN the eye of the storm.
5. Importantly, don’t Lose your passion, hunger and focus
It may be hard, but push through and dig deep to rekindle the passion which got you to start the business in the first place. It will help you to keep going.
Passion may be the fuel you need to reignite that fire. This may not always come with the voice of reason. And this is where an external eye helps.
A few painful sacrifices now may be “the stitch in time …”.
The question therefore is, how do you effectively step back and evaluate whilst in the “eye of the storm” and in seemingly overwhelming crisis?
The answer: Like riding a bike, it is frustrating and hard as you start the process. But, it becomes second nature as you get in the flow and see the possibilities.
I am always keen to understand the challenges businesses are facing in adopting measures to increase value – so, please do connect.
Ketan Shah is a Strategic Business Design expert, advisor, management consultant and entrepreneur. Especially passionate about Business Strategy, Structures and Systems, he has designed and developed the SSS Business Design® framework for startup entrepreneurs and established business owners looking to make business decisions with clarity, confidence & control. Pursue opportunities, manage profitable growth and maintain high performance. Without the overwhelm, stress and frustration.
Moksh Pty Ltd is a Strategic Business Design, Advisory, Management Consulting, Capital Solutions, Investment & Funding Partner supporting Start Up, Commercialisation, Transformation, Turn Around, Growth and Initiatives.