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Business Turnaround


Business turnaround: taking successful action to correct a period of deteriorating financial performance that may often threaten the solvency of the business.

A business turnaround can be a scary experience for many owner-managers, as most won’t have encountered the problems that arise and the many, diverse and difficult stresses and strains it puts on an organisation and its people. Turnarounds always require good communication with all stakeholders, suppliers and customers and must start with taking actions to stabilise the business. This often means establishing a ‘holding position’ to allow the time and the breathing space needed to move to the next stage, which is to analyse the reasons for underperformance or cash shortage, determine the actions to overcome them and put these actions into practice.

Turnaround activities may include cutting direct costs, reducing the workforce, disposing of superfluous assets, relocating to more cost-effective premises and improving cash flow – as well as changing the marketing approach for the business’ products/services. Every turnaround is different, but all have a common theme and always begin with an assessment addressing these three questions:

  • Despite past performance, can the business make a profit in the future? Without future profit, there is little reason for the business to continue.
  • Does the business have cash, or can it raise cash from borrowings or the sale of surplus assets? Without cash, despite potential future profit, there will unlikely be enough time to achieve the turnaround.
  • Does the management team have the aptitude, ability and tenacity for the obvious challenges that lie ahead? It will not be an easy journey, and without the passion, drive and ability to achieve the turnaround, it will fail.

At Playfair Partnerships, our job is to work with the management team to identify the root cause of the business problem, then help them devise and implement the strategies and tactics needed to resolve these problems and steer a path to restoring profit and financial stability.

Our first business turnaround assignment was helping a family-owned business ward off the advances of an aggressive bank, followed by working together to reorganise, rehabilitate and refinance it, so that it had a healthy future. Over the past 25+ years, we’ve undertaken a significant number of turnarounds/business reorganisations, and our team has gained a thorough understanding of the strategic, financial and operational requirements needed to deliver a successful outcome.

Our senior partner, John Playfair, is a member of the Institute for Turnaround (IFT), Europe’s leading representative body for turnaround and transformation professionals; and as all of the partners are involved, Playfair Partnerships has become a corporate partner of IFT. The IFT formally accredits its members as practitioners who are sufficiently capable and experienced in helping resuscitate businesses going through financial difficulty. This accreditation is one of the main criteria stakeholders look for when appointing a specialist to assist their distressed clients.

Playfair Partnerships specialises in business turnaround assignments for owner-managed businesses across a wide range of industries and with turnovers ranging from £5m to £100m. Additionally, following a successful turnaround assignment, we will often continue to work with the client, providing ongoing strategic guidance and financial management to protect and further enhance the business.

If you are experiencing a business downturn or financial problems, our business turnaround team can usually help, so please get in touch and we will be happy to talk to you.

Helping you with direction, planning, support and funding to grow your business. Using our knowledge and experience to give advice that effectively contributes to making good decisions for long-term success and our evaluation and contacts to provide the funding to get you there.

Using timely and accurate financial information to establish robust reporting procedures across every area and growth stage of your business. We collate, explain and use the numbers to offer sound financial management and strategic advice to ensure long-term business’ health.

Our details

4 Post Office Walk
SG14 1DL

01992 929394[email protected]

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