In another life I was the new GM of a company that just came out of a failed merger. The company had a loss of $340K versus profit the year prior of $1M. It had debt of $1.1M versus year prior of cash in bank. It had revenue of $3.4M versus $4.5M the year prior. A Complete mess.

My job was to turn it around and make it work. The upshot of 15 months work was:

  1. Profit went from $340K loss to $2.5M profit
  2. Revenue went from $3.4M to $6.7M
  3. Debt paid back in full
  4. Business got sold for many millions of dollars

Here’s what I did to turn it around.

  1. The general manager (me) was on very attractive incentive program
  2. We contained the cash outflow – put the cheque book in the draw
  3. all expenses scrutinised and reduced
  4. strict budget & cashflow – measured daily then weekly
  5. worked out what to stop doing, continue doing & start doing
  6. writing project plan of 149 initiatives – shared responsibility
  7. relocated the business – a breakthrough happens after a breakwith!
  8. hired above average people – total team of 17 FTE’s
  9. position descriptions, performance standards & career development process implemented
  10. non financial incentive programs implemented
  11. created a fun and success driven environment – people wanted to come to work
  12. involved team on decisions and shared all of the KPI’s
  13. increased training budget to 7.5% of salaries
  14. set up management structure with weekly “soft” & “hard” reporting
  15. hired a sales team with clear focus – sell
  16. invested heavily in IT to reduce downtime and speed up processes
  17. wrote extensive systems on “the way we do it here”
  18. increased client numbers by 11% with marketing initiatives
  19. increased price of one major product line by 36%
  20. created new product – responsible for $1m rev & $400k profit

I learned that a successful turnaround can happen if you have a plan, your are focussed, disciplined and the work you do is in the right area.