Turnaround specialists Sean Dunne and Tommy Murphy from ACT (Advanced Corporate Transformations Ltd), who currently feature in new RTÉ TV series Taking Care of Business, have the following advice for businesses in difficulty throughout Ireland.
- Face up to and manage debt. The worst thing to do is to bury your head in the sand. Talk to the Financial Institutions and prepare a plan for them. In this environment, people are paralysed with fear but there’s no point in hiding from the facts. Often the burden of debt is over shadowing a viable business and a successful owner/manager.
- Get help. Talk to someone that you trust and whose opinion you respect. Ideally a person external to the business. Being the owner/manager is the loneliest place to be but others have been through similar circumstances. When people feel vulnerable, especially men, who are not the best at talking about their problems, pride becomes an issue. But as the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved.
- Communicate with all stakeholders, such as suppliers, revenue and employees, and keep them up to date. Avoid giving any surprises. When you’re struggling this can be hard to do but people can be accommodating if communication lines remain open.
- Use weekly rotating cashflows. Micromanagement is crucial. Update these on a weekly basis. This way you can predict what money is coming in, what commitments they have and what money is left over to settle loans.
- Be as creative and innovative as you can. Start with one item to focus on. Refocus on the things that are in your control, rather than the things that aren’t. This can be extremely difficult when your self confidence is on the floor. Try and find passion for your business again. Look for ways to do things differently.
Sean Dunne and Tommy Murphy from ACT help businesses to remove the impediments to growth, by providing business support services that include restructuring and refinancing of debt, development of recovery strategies, negotiations with financial institutions, management and financial consultancy, staff training and additional management capacity. They re-energise business owners and remind them why they came into the business in the first place.
Commenting on their business advice services, Sean Dunne says: “We help people to help themselves by dealing with common management issues, building confidence and alleviating the stress of debt so that people’s focus can go back to doing what the business does best.”
Tommy Murphy adds: “A big thing for our clients is that they are not shouldering the burden on their own any longer; something as simple as going into a bank meeting with support from someone who has gone through it all before is a huge relief.”