Before I go on any further I have to apologise.
Why? Because, I’m about to unashamedly engage in a brief moment of self promotion! Basically, my firm, AbedGraham Healthcare Strategies Ltd finally has a new website:
Have a look and find out a little more about my team and me.
Now enough of that. Back to business.
Today, I want to talk about a sensitive topic which fits with one of my previous blogs about breaking bad news to clients (read it here).
How do you decide a business model or project is simply beyond repair? Its simply not going to work. Not now. Not ever. No more investment, no more tinkering or tweaking. It’s simply over and we need to cut our losses and move on.
How do you draw such a bold conclusion? History is littered with examples of turnarounds, Apple and Campbell’s are some of the biggest examples. So what do we do?
Well, those of you who have followed my blog should know by now, I sometimes like to use medical analogies to make my point and this occasion will be no exception. There are so many parallels between the care and attention given to patients as the care entrepreneurs give to their businesses.
So any ailing, financially failing business project is really at the Intensive Care stage of its life cycle. It’s reached the hands of true specialists, the docs who can get you stable enough to get back on your feet and moving forward again. Intensive care medicine is really a unique place in a hospital, there’s really nothing quite like it and I’ve been fortunate enough to work there so these are my positive observations that I think can be applied to business.
If you’re a consultant or a business owner and you think your business is in a critical state take heed of these steps:
1. Take a step back and judge the overall health of your business. Does it generally seem unwell or is it one specific area that needs attention?
2. Make sure you have the right tools to monitor all the facets of your business quickly and accurately. The same way a patient in ICU is constantly having their parameters monitored you need a similar system in place for your businesses/projects.
3. Benchmark. Realistically. The range of acceptable blood results for an 82 year old patient won’t necessarily be the same as a 21 year old. So it’s similar with a well established business vs. a startup.
4. Consult with specialists, your issue may be IT, legal, accounting or even more niche. Make sure you’re talking to the right people. Hey, if a patient needs an operation then I call a surgeon, why should it be any different for you?
5. Fix the major issues first and have resources ready to allocate if a real emergency happens. The tweaks can wait.
6. COMMUNICATE. To everyone. Your whole team and any outside advisors. Make sure you’re all on the same page and you know what’s going on and that all lines of communication are open. All the time.
7. Once everything has stabilised make sure everything is documented and you create a support system in place so in future you can detect potentially critical issues before its too late.
Sometimes, you’ll succeed and other times you won’t. You can’t turn round every failing project or business, if a project had poor foundations to begin with then it is bound to fail but that’s an issue of judgement and for another day!
Take a step back, breathe and open your eyes.
You’ll be surprised what you see.
Dr Saif Abed
CEO and Co-Founder
Abed Graham Healthcare Strategies Ltd