Leadership & Productivity

Five ways to recover your firm when it's on the brink of failure

5 min read

26 March 2018

CEO at AeroBlue and business turnaround expert, Ruta Gabalis, offers five ways to recover your firm from the brink.

It is common knowledge within the world of business that only 20 per cent of startup companies survive beyond the first year of trading. What might have started as an original and thriving concept needs serious considerations in order to survive.

You might understand the industry you are in but need to learn how to continually grow your business and maintain profitability by deliberating aspects such as admin requirements and who you hire.

The 20 per cent of businesses that do survive face continued risks following their initial success as the market is ever-changing and increasingly competitive. After the first year, it’s vital to remain relevant and on top of your game.

While the well-known brand Kodak was hugely popular, they failed to keep up-to-date with societal changes in the use of photography and no longer met the needs of an increasingly demanding technological market. As such, they filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

Even tech behemoth Apple needed help in its early years, receiving a $150m investment from Microsoft in 1997. Richard Branson has fallen victim to a number of well-documented business failures but believes the overall success of Virgin is due to letting things go when they don’t work out and knowing how to rescue the parts of his business that are successful.

Business owners will be well-aware of the inevitable instability in the early stages of starting up. As your company grows it can feel like you’re losing control. Here are five ways to recover your firm.

1) Understand changes in your industry

If your business is going to continue, you need to know your industry inside out and be responsive to any changes in the market. Once you’re aware of these trends, think of ways that you can continually develop and meet demand.

Maybe there are a lot of new competitors in the market that you need to research so you know how to stay on top of your game. Your business needs to remain unique, but how do you know how to differentiate yourself if you don’t know who else is out there doing the same thing as you?

2) Know your customer

Be in conversation with your customers at all times so you can keep up to date with what they want from your business. Utilising social media will enable you to see customer feedback straight away and listen to what they are saying about your business. Your company may fail if you lose sight of what people want from it or why it was initially popular.

3) Deal with the problem early on 

There is no use burying your head in the sand and prolonging whatever is causing your business to struggle. Detecting and acknowledging the problem as soon as possible will not only save time that might be wasted further down the line but gives you the opportunity to outsource the best business assistance that your company needs. Having more time also means you can consider all the advice you have been given and decide the best options.

4) Confront any breakdowns in leadership

All too often, businesses fail due to poor decisions that have been made at the top. Sometimes, an honest mistake has been made but it has been left to others to fix. Confronting any problems with leadership and communicating openly will help you to address where failings in your business began.

You might work brilliantly for yourself but need to learn how to manage others and after all.  employee morale is what makes people want to work for you. An unhappy workforce will only decrease productivity and profitability, which might have been the problem in the first place.

5) Seek professional advice 

This will be a great investment for your company in the long-run, as experts can look at your business with a fresh perspective and help to identify where the problems originate. They might notice something you haven’t yet identified due to being occupied with the day-to-day running of things.

Experts can also help you recover your firm and come up with a turnaround strategy, relieving the stress of rescuing a failing business by organising meetings for you and assessing your business performance.