Restructuring a business can be a turbulent time; you may be juggling legal issues with disgruntled employees, expansion plans with uncertain investors or faced with frustrated customers.
However, that isn’t a world away from the day-to-day nature of running a business, and you shouldn’t feel unnecessarily daunted just because you’re moving in a new direction.
Instead, draw on your management skills to steer your company – and your workforce – towards your new goal, and by dealing with their concerns, and properly researching the legal issues, you’ll be able to present the pitch for your new angle to those investors, and win them over more easily.
Plan your new structure
Any restructuring of a business – whether it’s a plan for expansion, taking things in a new direction, or consolidation during a tough period – is more likely to succeed with careful planning.
Just like setting up a brand new business, do your market research and identify the opportunities, and ensure that you’re entering a profitable industry.
You may want to draw up a complete business plan, with both short-term and long-term earnings forecasts; this gives you something to show to investors, including the banks if you are seeking business loan funding, and also gives you something to fall back on later if your restructuring feels as though it has lost its way.
Involve your employees
In general, things go better when employees are involved in the restructuring of a business – and as we’ll see below, you’re often obliged to at least inform them of any major changes to the company.
Holding regular meetings to let them know of the latest progress can let employees feel like part of the change, rather than feeling that their job is changing uncontrollably around them.
This is particularly important if some members of staff choose to leave, or if voluntary or compulsory redundancies are made, as the remaining employees may need reassuring that their jobs are not at risk.
In the most forward-thinking of companies, employees are involved from the very outset of any restructure, and you may want to canvass for opinions as to how the business can be driven forwards – you never know how useful the suggestions you receive might be.
Meet your obligations
Depending on the nature of your restructuring program, there are several obligations you may need to meet.
For example, you usually cannot enforce a significant change in job description on your employees, especially not without informing them in full – this is covered by the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations, commonly referred to simply as ICE.
These kinds of issues are best dealt with upfront, leaving you to handle the expansion of your business into its new area. If you’re uncertain, it might be worth getting professional legal advice from your company’s solicitors.