Turnaround & Improvement


Businesses experience periods where they appear to lose their way.

This can be caused by external events, like the impact of an economic down-turn or a major shift in technology.

Often, the causes can be internal: loss of a major customer, or key personnel; a lack of working capital in a period of poor trading; a change in the owners’ personal circumstances; or a cumulative delay in developing the business.

Sometimes the business just isn’t working – and a variety of causes are contributing.

When this happens, the business comes under fierce pressure. Pressure on the owners and managers, financial pressure, with creditors and banks, and staff pressure. Profits are less than they should be, and the enjoyment and sense of achievement that comes from running a business are absent. In a worst-case scenario, the business can begin to “cycle-down” where results deteriorate at a faster and faster rate.

“Turnaround” is a process of direct improvement. While mostly associated with businesses in acute difficulty, many profitable businesses are often in need of improvement too. In fact, a good business should take the time to do a health-check to see if it needs improving?


The Turnaround & Improvement process starts with the question – are we achieving our best result, and if not – do we need improvement?

If you don’t know, then a short assessment exercise can quickly work out the answer to this question?

If the answer is yes –we do need improvement, the next question is how quickly? If you are clearly under pressure, a rapid Turnaround Process is likely needed. If you have time, a managed Business Improvement Process will work.

Turnaround Process

If a rapid change is needed (e.g. financial distress – time is limited) then the process to be followed is:

  • Acknowledgement of problem (by Owner / Senior Management team)
  • Diagnosis of what’s wrong
  • Develop a range of possible options to solve the problems
  • Choose/Agree the expected best approach
  • Work out the step-by-step plan, including order of events
  • Make the changes

Given time is limited, the above process will be delivered in a matter of days. It is a decisive, action-based period, with clear communication to the main stake-holders.

Role of the Consultant:

The role of the Turnaround Consultant, in a period of rapid change, is to work very closely with the Business Owner and senior management team, to deliver a result in a very short period of time. Turnaround exercises involve many moving parts, all interconnected, with (usually) a heavy financial element. Managing these fast-evolving situations is not in the normal range of experiences of most incumbent management teams. The Turnaround Consultant should be experienced in working in acute situations, be comfortable in decision making and financial management, and most importantly explaining what (and why) things need to be done.

In the end, the Consultant hands back the rectified business at the end of the exercise.

Business Improvement Process

If the diagnosis shows that Improvement is needed, but the situation is not acute (i.e. you have some time), then the process to be followed is (almost the same):

  • Acknowledgement of problem                (by Owner / Senior Management team)
  • Diagnosis of what’s wrong
  • Develop a range of possible options to solve the problems
  • Choose/Agree the expected best approach
  • Work out the step-by-step plan, including order of events
  • Make the changes

The main difference between a “Turnaround” and “Business Improvement” is time. With time on your side, better outcomes can be achieved through allowing time for reflection.

However: a Business Improvement Project’s enemy is INERTIA. It is generally inertia that leads to a business requiring improvement and inertia will block attempts by the business to break out of it. Inertia is the mud in business. Therefore, “taking time” can result in nothing changing. To succeed, you need to approach Business Improvement with as much of the zeal and determination that’s needed in the Turnaround situation.

Role of the Consultant

The role of the Business Improvement Consultant is to view the business from an external perspective, without an agenda, to see what the team often can’t see as a result of familiarity. Once diagnosed and agreed, the Consultant’s role is to be the extra pair of hands, the extra energy, to apply to moving past inertia, to get the change delivered.

In the end, the Consultant hands back the improved business to its management team.

WinAbu’s Philosophy & Approach

At its simplest: We believe that all problems have a solution.

  • Working closely with management, a clear diagnosis is made (“as-is”).
  • Logical problem solving (“if/then”) will create options.
  • The best one will be found from talking them through (“to-be”).
  • Brain-storm how to get it done, step-by-step.
  • Do them.

The X-factor in our philosophy is having the confidence to make things appear simple, borne of the experience in getting things done.