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A Restructure Only Means A Setback To Your Business, And Not A Closure – Here’s What The Reforms Could Mean For Your Business

With the demanding conditions that have plagued the retail industry over the past twelve months, business owners need to be aware of all the restructuring options available before it is too late.

COVID-19 has unfortunately resulted in reduced foot traffic, store closures, the accumulation of legacy creditors and significant deteriorations in working capital positions.

Even with the support of JobKeeper and other government initiatives buoying business ventures from early 2021 to now, many family and small businesses are sure to continue to struggle.

The Misconceptions Of Formal Restructures

The idea of restructuring your business or reaching out for external help can appear scary and often seen as something to be avoided at all costs. However, business owners are not on their own when dealing with the difficult conditions facing them in their short-term future.

No one wants to see a business fail.

That’s why there are always options available to businesses. However, the longer a company holds off on making a decision, the more the business and its available options will deteriorate.

If companies and businesses can act early enough, their options include informal arrangements and advice, voluntary administration, and new restructuring reforms for small businesses.

With the availability of these options and the right people involved, there is no reason why a financially distressed small business cannot survive the challenging times and thrive in the future. All companies experience some form of distress from time to time and often at no fault of their own. The ones that survive focus on cash, seek appropriate advice from trusted advisors at the right time and act further on it.

How Might A Business Survive Financial Distress

Using the voluntary administration process as a restructuring tool allowed Tuchuzy (a well-known retailer in Bondi) to successfully deal with legacy creditors, refocus on high margin product lines, and ultimately, the company continued to trade profitably.

The key to Tuchuzy’s restructure was a ‘light touch’ administration to minimise costs and disruption to the business and closely working alongside the director to ensure the proposal submitted to her creditors would be acceptable than an immediate winding up scenario (of which it was).

There is a lot of flexibility and breathing space afforded in the voluntary administration process.

The administrator can quickly reset the cost base by exiting unprofitable stores, reducing the workforce, and focusing on only buying and selling favourable margin products.

Even when a liquidation becomes necessary, the process can be reasonably quick, fair and transparent if run properly.

The secret is to overcome the general stigma accompanying restructures and approach restructuring experts early who will ‘unemotionally’ explain each available option and provide an impartial recommendation that aligns best with the individual circumstances.

What Do The New Small Business Restructuring Reforms Mean For You?

For a business with few creditors and a single location, the process of voluntary administration can be expensive and unnecessary.

Indeed, voluntary administration is often not appropriate for many small businesses due to associated financial costs and the hurdle accompanying a director relinquishing control.

The government has responded to this critique and offered an alternative. This alternative comes at a perfect time as directors are, once again, exposed to personal liability for insolvent trading.

The new small business restructuring (SBR) reforms offer a lower cost and far simplified restructure process, critical for small businesses to continue to trade after government assistance such as JobKeeper ceased in March 2021. The reforms add an essential new path that will assist many retailers.

Though there have been only a handful of SBRs to date, and their effectiveness to save businesses is yet to be appropriately evaluated, it is an option to explore in the right circumstances.

Critical Questions Your Business Should Be Asking

The COVID-19 crisis has put a severe strain on many previously successful businesses. Though the government and many advisors are attempting to ensure that they do not collapse, directors and business owners need to be proactive and engage early for them to work.

Often businesses approach liquidators and advisors at the point where their financial problems have become insurmountable, and a liquidation/shutdown is often the only option left. The timing of coming and asking for help can be the difference between a shutdown and the continuation of trading.

With proper preparation and an effective plan that considers all stakeholders, any business should be able to restructure and continue to trade.

If your answer to any of the below questions is yes, you should seek immediate advice from a trusted restructuring advisor.

  1. Am I currently losing money?
  2. Am I finding it hard to pay bills on time?
  3. Have I got old debts that I am finding hard to pay down?
  4. Do I need some breathing space?
  5. Do I have my ‘head in the sand’?

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Looking To Upscale Your Business? Here’s What You Need To Know…

Posted on August 15, 2022 by admin

It’s a wonderful feeling when you have reached a point where your business is so successful that you need to upscale. Whether hiring more people or moving location, upscaling has its unique challenges. What can you do to ensure that you are hitting the ground running while upscaling?

Set Realistic And Actionable Goals

Businesses should set realistic and actionable small goals which they can work towards, rather than broad goals which provide no direction. Setting broad and unrealistic goals is demotivating and makes any progress made seem insignificant. Every person in the business should be given a target to meet over a reasonable timeline, contributing to achieving a larger goal.

Establish Standardised And Automated Processes

Small businesses can make the mistake of ‘doing things as they come’, but this means that as the business grows, adjusting to high-scale tasks is difficult. To avoid this, businesses should standardise all processes of work. Any individual placed into a role should be able to follow standardised procedures and yield a product that is of similar quality to the previous one. Investing money into automation tools is worthwhile for this procedure. This can include automating social media management, email, and customer relationships. Both of these will contribute to creating structures that support growth.

Identify Competitive Strengths And Weaknesses

Recognising the strengths and weaknesses of one’s business is essential. Strengths will allow businesses to hone in on their unique qualities, giving them a competitive advantage. Weaknesses will reveal which areas require growth so that changes can be made before upscaling takes place.

Network

Businesses should continue to develop relationships with service providers, sales channel partners, suppliers and customers. Keeping an open mind about partnerships or potential collaborations could open up different avenues of business growth.

Anticipate The Adjustment Pace.

No matter how prepared you feel, any change in an organisation will require a period of adjustment for the rest of your team. Give them time to recognise the need for change and accept this opportunity’s challenges. More importantly, they need time to understand their roles in the bigger picture of your organisation’s plans to scale and determine how they can make the most of their skill sets and add value to the company. Make sure to consider adjustment protocols and allocate a reasonable period for such adjustments in your scaling plans and process.

Outsourcing The Non-Essentials

As the business increases in stature, there will be a lot more little and frustrating tasks, meaning that you can’t focus on what’s important. Outsourcing components like payroll or marketing to companies with the professionals to do it effectively means that you can focus on upscaling the business.

Upscaling can be very stressful, but whether it’s making changes to your business’s technology or outsourcing things in the short term, to upscale a business means focusing on what is best for your business.

To get to this point, you’ve made a success of it, so it’s important not to lose your identity in the process. Upscaling your business is taking what’s great about your current operation and building it outwards.

If you are looking towards how your business can take itself to the next level, business planning for any eventualities can be of benefit. Consulting with a trusted adviser can be of great help when moving forward in your business’s upscaling endeavour.

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