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Business: What A Turn Around Consultant Knows...

by Cat Barton


In her 30+ years in business, Cat Barton (owner of About Face), has seen just about every kind of business failure imaginable. After working with numerous businesses in every conceivable industry, Barton says, she's concluded that 90% of failures are due to bad management. “Business owners who are lax, unengaged, fearful, or in denial will never run successful companies”, she says.

Why do businesses fail?
Businesses fail because they don't make a profit. Profits are everything. Failed businesses don’t have a cash management system, they don't have cash flow plans, and they don't budget. It's not that tough to work up a budget.

Most business owners whose companies fail blame lack of funding.
If you're out of money, it's usually because you're a bad manager. Companies that are in trouble usually have not managed their resources correctly. You can't finance your way out of resource problems, you have to manage your way out of it.

Does bad management typically begin at business startup?
Often business owners have some early success. They get lazy. You can't spend all your time playing golf, you have to work 60 to 70 hours a week to be a successful entrepreneur. Companies don't run themselves.

What else is an indication of bad management?
Not having accurate monthly financial statements. If you include receivables that you're never going to collect, or fantasize about sales that are never going to happen you are lying to yourself. You have to face the truth and look at your profit and loss and cash flow statements realistically.

Don't make excuses; don't deny bad news. Face the problems and figure out why you're losing money. Deal with that right away. Don't implement a plan that will reduce your losses in six months, because you'll go out of business before then.

Isn’t confronting problems difficult for most people?
Tough decisions usually involve confrontations, and most people don't like confrontation. If you want to be a business owner, you're going to have to confront people, and if you can't handle that, you're going to fail. We all have things we don't want to do; time is money, and procrastinating wastes your money. Every day you let that situation continue or keep that ineffective employee on the payroll, it's costing you money.

How do employee issues lead to failure?
Businesses fail to demand top performance from their employees. You're paying your employees to deliver excellent performance, and if they don't, you have to find someone else who will.

There are no bad employees, just bad owners. If an employee isn't working out, you have to get rid of them. When I ask a business owner to identify an employee that brings bad karma to their business and they immediately name that employee... the question begs to be asked ask why they are still working for them.

What additional management errors do you commonly run into?
When you're a business owner you have to delegate, but you can't abdicate. Ultimately, you're responsible for the company and you have to be on top of things. Even after you've delegated something crucial to an employee, you have to circle back regularly and make sure you're getting the right performance in that area.

Don't blame others for their shortcomings if you didn't bother to follow them closely enough. If you're too busy to notice something's going wrong, you're not managing your time correctly or working hard enough.

If your business is in danger of failing, should you bring in a consultant?
A Consultant will make recommendations for the business owner to implement. When your business is failing, you need a consultant that will identify the problems and implement the changes. There is a big difference.

How can you turnaround a company in one week?
We are very experienced and prepared. The one week refers to the one week that we are physically on-site. The majority of our work happens behind the scenes. Prior to going on-site, we are evaluating management and employees, performing analysis, compiling results, and developing highly polished implementation plans. We go on site prepared to implement the changes.

How can a failing business afford to hire a consultant?
How can they not afford to? Consultants can be very expensive for small to mid-sized businesses that are struggling. We are very different; we charge a reasonable flat fee; however we require payment in advance. That may seem unusual and scary, but the psychology of requiring payment in advance, commits the owner to the process of turning their business around.

Do you really pay $5,000.00 for each referral?
We have a unique business built on word-of-mouth referrals. It’s important for us to thank our friends and associates for referring customers to us.

For more information go to www.aboutface.biz


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