Tough Times/ Tough Decisions

We are approaching a period where a number of tough decisions will need to be made by Business Owners and Directors as they plot their future path. All markets will be significantly changed after what has occurred. With many businesses now being back, surveying the situation that faces them, having received Government and Bank support in some cases to help them through – tough choices and challenges face them. Questions like:

  • Order book – what does it look like? – how have our customers fared in lockdown? – what can we expect from them now? How can we rekindle a strong order book?
  • Suppliers – what shape are they in? – is our supply channel safe? do we have alternatives?
  • Inventory – what stock do we hold? – what is its real book value now? what’s the best course of action?
  • People – what resources do we need to face future challenges? who are the people we need to rely on?

On the latter point we have heard a number of businesses say that they are amazed how well they have coped when trading across recent months with less staff. Inevitably this leads to the question – ‘What staff level do we REALLY need going forward?’

Our advice here is not to ‘knee jerk’ into hasty decisions on staff based on what has gone on in the last few weeks and months. Rather think forward and use your experience and imagination to determine what market challenges you will face, where your business is going and what obstacles and opportunities might crop up. Finally, to equip you to take advantage of those opportunities and overcome the obstacles, what talent, skills, experience and resource do you need?

Only when this objective forward thinking groundwork is done, clearly outlining the tasks that must be done well to succeed IN THE FUTURE, can you start to put together the right organisational structure to meet your needs for the road ahead.

As far as the essential aspects of your people decisions go, it is pretty obvious that you must retain your key people. We often here that people are the biggest assets within a business. I’ll qualify that – the RIGHT people are the biggest asset for a business. These people are self-motivated, focused, adaptable and form a vital part of your organisation. They are capable of dealing well with change and moving forward. You will need them ‘on your bus’ more than ever!

So, retain the right people and put square pegs in square holes. Divide the future work required by department and individual and share with ALL of your people just where you plan to take the business and also share their importance in relation to that journey. Then trust your delegation skills and allow you people to achieve what you ask of them by offering help and support when required and measuring output and providing constructive feedback. The adaptability and capability of your key people (the right people) will play a big part but the balance of the selection that completes the organisation must be right too.

At the end of this exercise you may well find that you do need less people and we recognise that letting people go is never a pleasant task. However, if you have done the preparatory work objectively as above, you can be sure that the decisions have been made for the right reasons and without emotion or bias. This is being rigorous in terms of managing your business rather than ruthless. This should give you confidence when imparting bad news to those leaving and explaining the rationale to both them and those remaining. You and your Company will be respected with Company morale undamaged if things are done right in all cases.

Remember that going forward the most important asset for all businesses will still be people but the RIGHT people. Working in an objective way to chart the future, bringing those with you that your future needs and letting people go in a legal, fair and compassionate way is the right path to follow.

Need some help to ensure you don’t ‘knee jerk’ into problems and ensure that you get it right first time? We have the real business experience and skill within our team to help you avoid potentially expensive mistakes that could cost you many, many thousands of pounds. For a free one-hour chat about your specific situation, with no obligation at all, get in touch with us at, or call on 0116 232 5231

Alternatively, contact me directly at the points below:

07747 023610

David Turner

Managing Director