“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time, more intelligently,” Henry Ford said. Business failure may be just an error of judgment, bad timing or incorrect implementation of an otherwise right commercial decision. Investors and regulators understand that. In a crisis, remember your only goal is to revive the business in the shortest possible time. Do not hanker for retaining promoter control equity, or other side benefits. Focus must remain on quick revival of business. People often learn more from failures than from success. Mr Donald Trump’s casino company, Trump Entertainment Resorts, Inc. is perhaps among few major US-based companies that filed for business bankruptcy maximum number of times during the last three decades. A project failure should not be considered final and fatal and a permanent label on the character of an entrepreneur. Mr Trump rose to be the president of the United States of America.
In today’s dynamic world, pulled and pushed by global forces, entrepreneurs must alter, re-align and re-adjust their response system to overcome those situations to re-boot the business successfully. As times and technology change bringing new economic models and multi-dimensional challenges for entrepreneurs, business thinking must also change that doesn’t necessarily measure success only in money terms but from a larger holisitic perspective.
Business restructuring challenges strike different entrepreneurs in varying degree at personal and family level, then at business sustenance including relationship with key stakeholders, creditors, employees and lastly the society at large. In a crisis, distinct things happening are differently consequential. These must be adroitly identified and handled appropriately in order of priority for successful evolution of both an entrepreneur as well as the enterprise because the spirit of enterprise must survive and remain kindle. One faces many setbacks on a journey to holistic success but should not let go of entrepreneurial enthusiasm, perseverance and positive attitude.
Panacea for a medical condition is systematic treatment by sustained delivery of doses at predetermined time intervals. Similarly, switching order of priorities – challenges to be overcome – is harmful and may not guarantee successful outcome. On road to recovery, considering social approval rating as a first priority is sure invitation to disastrous outcome for all. Since government policy framework has drastically changed, thinking based on past conditioning must be abandoned for futuristic business environment. Natural challenges, ignored or inappropriately handled, turn into nightmare and crisis. As men and machines have evolved from internal combustion to digital and artificial intelligence, the 21st century entrepreneurs’ response system must also develop using the grains of same commensurately. The re-boot mantra is Self Health, Family Happiness and Business Survival; strictly in that order. Anything else could be suicidal. LKK (log kya kahenge) is the last or least important of all.
The first priority for rebuilding life of individual and enterprise is at personal level. An entrepreneur facing business challenges must first take care of his HEALTH; that is one should never compromise on right food, right exercise and right meditation or spiritual engagements. This is a key not only to keeping stress at low level and being happy but also helps one mentally visualise and be prepared for a worst possible outcome. The devil must no longer be unknown. When it is known – its shape, size and colour – with professional help, one is able to build capacity to face and tackle it, may be even in smaller steps, to ultimately emerge a winner. Remember “The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground.” In no way, that ground of personal health shall be compromised.
Then comes family that provides support system when one is rising, expanding business, and more importantly when one is gliding down. Without balanced and lubricated landing gear, one is assured of crash landing. Business doldrums should not be allowed to burden family members who also sacrifice equally while an individual builds an enterprise. In fact, family is the ultimate support system and their happiness can’t be compromised. They stand with you in celebration and in distress. Family derives happiness in small moments of togetherness in all phases of life, and anything that doesn’t bring vibrancy in family relationships isn’t worth measuring.
The next area of focus is business and its economics. Do everything possible to ensure business survives; for which if some stakeholders, including entrepreneur himself, have to make extra sacrifices like taking a haircut by secured creditors or reduction in promoter control equity, so be that. Business is business. Tough times call for tough decisions. This may also include disposal of undesirable or relatively unproductive assets. Those may, and can be acquired again, in good times. Core heart of the business enterprise should be retained and nurtured. Rest all is dispensable. Specialist advisors in corporate law, taxation and turn-around strategists can offer meaningful help and successful navigation in this journey. Spending time with those specialists can really be enlightening and necessary for re-booting the enterprise.
A lot of distractions or petty interests can be avoided by remaining focused on holistic survival of the core business. Other considerations can always, and should be, avoided, by all means.
All is well that ends well. The plan must ensure fair deal for all business supporters like creditors, unsecured lenders and equity holders. They helped you while growing the business. Remember, a good deal and deed at this juncture, even with minority interest, will bring enough wealth to satisfy all. But an unfair deal with creditors or employees or equity holders will harm you unknowingly in many ways.
After these three pyramidal priorities come employees. If restructuring require shedding some for technology adoption, help them find alternative jobs but don’t be emotionally bound to anyone.
And last is the LKK (log kya kahenge). Nothing. Go with confidence again. You can do it! Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves impossible.