Consolidation….. the Hardest Business Process to Get Right!
Business consolidation is without a doubt one of the hardest business progressions anybody ever has to face. With crippling effects on business when the wrong decisions are made.
Consolidation decisions are reactive and can include consolidating debt, employment, projects, equipment, inventory, customers or geographic footprint among others.
For something so difficult, why is it that every business course only educates people for business growth, management, literacy and sustainability…..
“You don’t know what you don’t know!”
My biggest consolidation was bringing a >30mil annual revenue (300+ workforce) back to a manageable, resilient and sustainable workforce which had been severely impacted by litigation combined with global industry decline.
I had no idea what I had got myself into, but I chose to see a proper consolidation of this magnitude through to the end. It was an 18 month rollercoaster that threatened my business, my family, my friendships, my health and my credibility.
Knowing Your Consolidation Principles
Just like ‘un-piecing a jigsaw puzzle’, consolidation requires the:-
- Dynamic decentralisation of the management system, combined with
- Re-routing of the fundamental processes and business controls, while
- Maintaining a viable on-going business concern.
For anybody who has been in this situation, you would understand, the sheer complexity of controlling all the risks (customer, human resource, tax obligations, licensing, sustainability, cost impacts, negative growth) are enormous.
The manner in which I went about consolidation were identified following these steps [Consolidation Planning]:
- What is the core business function?
- What are the core business elements that create the highest achievable business sustainability outcome using the least amount of effort?
- What legislative compliance requirements are needed to sustain operation on those preset parameters (1 & 2)?
- What business organisation chart is required to operate (without future risk) for the business to function as a viable ongoing concern after consolidation?
- Identify any other business pre-requisites (assets, skills, training, operations systems etc) that become a consolidation target?
- Once you have a platform of “what a viable business model would look like”, then it becomes a matter of strategically undertaking the change in the most ethical, morale, methodical and systematic manner possible – the catch is this:
Whilst Undertaking a Consolidation Plan, The Steps of Consolidation can Create Unnecessary Distractions
It is critically important to:
- Keep all your planned intentions ‘synchronised’ to your original plan,
- Give as much advanced warning to anybody involved as you possibly can afford, and
- Promote every opportunity for each parties success whenever you possibly can.
Unlike most business objectives, consolidation is about returning a ‘business burden’ back to a state of ‘control and sustainability’. It is about rendering the business fit for recommencement.
Unfortunately a consolidation is different from one business to the next, and because of this, there are no proven formula that creates a successful business consolidation. However, the biggest lessons that I learnt from consolidation are:
- If you identify the key outcomes that you want to rectify, and
- You achieve the preset goals from you consolidation plan, and
- You are able to operate a viable business after consolidation…..
You Have Succeeded!
Written by Geoff Pike, Entrepreneur, Speaker & Business Mentor
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Geoff founded a sole trader plumbing business in a remotely located and vastly underpopulated location in outback Australia. Starting business with only enough money to pay 4 weeks wages, Geoff persisted by growing the business into a multi-disciplined trade services company. Over a period of 12 years, the company Geoff established grew to employ a workforce of over 300 personnel covering an area almost half the size of Europe, receiving international award recognition with an annual revenue of over $30mil. Geoff knows what it takes to overcome adversity.