There isn't too much news these days about turnarounds in business, but I'll bet there are plenty of companies that need to be turned around. Too often, however, the rank and file are waiting on someone else to take charge of the turnaround. They are either too timid, or they lack the skills to do it themselves.
Here are seven basic steps you can take to help your company get back on solid ground:
1. What are you doing? Consider the old-fashioned marketing review involving the four P’s—product, price, place, and promotion. Questions to ask: How are we different? Has our customer changed? Have their expectations shifted? Frame your questions in present and future tenses. Be brutally honest.
2. Tough decisions. Everyone knows the tough issues and the difficult situations. You must take action. Questions: Who isn't cutting it? Where is the money coming from? Who do you need to hire? What must you do without?
3. Money, money, money. Get on top of financial issues. Are invoices going out on time? Are the pricing structures consistent? What are the discounts? Do you need to discount? Do you have a serious cash flow?
4. Process flow and systems. Do you have the necessary systems in place now? Can you automate some functions? No area is too small to ignore.
5. Then there’s people. Find the best people, and then develop them. Empower them, train them, get them focused--they should be part of the broader effort. This is where you earn the big bucks.
6. Metrics and facts. You can’t lead by generalizations and wishes. Get the facts. This is the only way you can make smart adjustments. Knowledge really is power.
[See 20 rules for real radicals.]
7. Get awfully good. Ensure that your people know how to sell, and not just take orders. Do they give discounts or drop prices too easily? How are you wowing your customers? At the end of the day, it is still about making sure your customers love what you do for them. Have you forgotten this?
Obviously, this is a fairly superficial list of what must be done. But the message for today is a simple one: Why wait for someone else to be the turnaround hero at your work?
You be the one.
G. L. Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor/operator/incubator/mentor. Two of his companies have traveled the entire success path from the garage to IPO. Currently, he is chairman of JobDig, which operates LinkUp, one of the fastest-growing job search engines. His blog can be found at WhatWouldDadSay.com.