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Apr 03

Business Restructuring: Here’s What You Need to Know

There are many ways to improve business performance. There’s product differentiation, pricing strategies, or research and development. 

However, there are companies that take it to the next level by restructuring their business’ financial, legal, or operational structure. 

Why do they do this – and is it the next logical step for YOUR business? Read on to know more. 

Understanding Business Restructuring 

It’s important to understand why companies restructure. 

It may be because of poor profitability, insolvency, excessive debt, or other similar reasons. Thus, companies generally restructure to boost their profits and to remain competitive. 

Definition and key concepts 

Business restructuring is when a business significantly overhauls its company structure to streamline its performance. 

Types of restructuring (operational, financial, organisational)

Most businesses restructure the following: 

  • Operational Restructuring. They streamline processes by simplifying workflows and leveraging technology for efficiency. They also optimise logistics, improve inventory management, renegotiate contracts with suppliers, and reduce unnecessary expenses.
  • Financial Restructuring. On the other hand, financial restructuring focuses on redirecting resources towards profitable areas. It may include selling assets, renegotiating loan terms, as well as managing debts and improving cash flow.
  • Organisational Restructuring. Meanwhile, some companies also resort to changing their organisation’s reporting structures for improved communication and accountability. They also create new teams, merge existing teams, and assess leadership posts to ensure effective and productive management. 

Reasons for Business Restructuring 

Companies restructure for the following reasons: 

Responding to financial difficulties 

Businesses dealing with persistent losses restructure to regain profitability instead of shutting down the company. Here, restructuring their operations or finance processes involves adjusting payment terms, reducing costs, and improving cash flow.You can also restructure your debt management by extending loan terms, negotiating lower interest rates, or issuing new equity to raise capital. 

All these allow businesses to increase profitability, building financial reserves to weather future challenges. 

Adapting to market changes 

Businesses also restructure to remain competitive. 

Emerging competitors can push businesses to adapt new technologies, enter new markets, and adjust their processes to stay relevant. 

Restructuring allows businesses to integrate technology when automating processes. A brick-and-mortar store, for instance, can build a strong e-commerce presence by automating its inventory and sales funnel online. In addition, business restructuring enables you to adjust to new laws or regulations impacting operations or products. In some instances, it also involves finding new ways to operate within the new regulatory landscape. 

Mergers and acquisitions 

Integrating acquired businesses also requires business restructuring for more unified operations. 

The primary goal is to combine overlapping functions, consolidate facilities, and integrate operations to create a more inclusive and productive work environment. Restructuring can be useful when preparing for a merger and/or acquisition. It plays a crucial role in integrating different cultures, operations, and systems. 

Companies merge to gain a stronger market position or to eliminate duplication of efforts, allowing them to streamline operations and reduce cost. 

Thus, careful planning and execution for restructuring is necessary for any successful merger. 

Strategic realignment for growth 

In some cases, businesses restructure to enable company growth. 

Evolving customer demands, new competitors, and technological advancements require them to adapt to and capitalise on these emerging opportunities. Restructuring is also quite practical when a company’s direction shifts and there’s a need to better align the organisation with its new goals. In other cases, businesses restructure to address labor issues related to high turnover, employee dissatisfaction, or unionisation. Regardless of the reason, the common goal of every restructuring effort is to improve the company’s overall performance and long-term viability. 

Restructuring’s Legal and Financial Considerations 

Restructuring entails significant changes requiring legal and financial considerations, including the potential for restructuring debt, altering corporate governance, and renegotiating contracts. Such transformations often necessitate thorough due diligence to identify and mitigate risks associated with liabilities, regulatory compliance, and potential impacts on stakeholder relationships. 

Legal implications of restructuring 

Business restructuring involves the review and renegotiation of existing contracts, loan agreements, and leases, among others. These require several permits as well as compliance with relevant laws and regulations. From a legal perspective, it’s essential to conduct a comprehensive audit of all contractual obligations to identify any provisions that might be affected by restructuring activities, such as change of control clauses, anti-assignment provisions, or termination rights. This review helps in understanding the legal ramifications of restructuring decisions and in strategizing the renegotiation or termination of contracts in a manner that minimizes legal and financial risks.

Managing debt and financial obligations 

In addition, restructuring requires financial modeling to assess its impact on cash flow, profitability, and debt-servicing ability. 

You may also need professional valuations of assets or liabilities depending on your restructuring approach. 

Tax considerations 

There are also tax implications to consider, such as deductions and potential tax liabilities. The same goes for tax credits associated with mergers, sales, and other restructuring activities. In addition to these aspects, businesses must be aware of changes in tax laws that could affect their tax strategy and compliance requirements. This means staying informed about local, state, and federal tax regulations and understanding how these can impact various transactions. Proper planning and consultation with tax professionals can help mitigate risks and leverage opportunities for tax savings. 

Businesses also typically secure the assistance of professional accountants to help them maximise and save on taxes

Human Aspect of Restructuring 

Financial and legal considerations are crucial, but the human aspect is just as important. 

Communicating with employees 

Be transparent about the challenges and uncertainties that come with the restructuring process. Inform employees about your goals and be open to questions, concerns, and feedback. 

Managing layoffs and reassignments 

Business restructuring is often viewed in a negative light due to inevitable, yet necessary, layoffs and reassignments. You can manage this by developing fair and objective selection criteria for layoffs such as performance, tenure, and skillset. 

It’s also important to offer outplacement services to laid-off employees, which may include resume writing, interview coaching, and job search assistance. 

A No Frills Guide to The Business Restructuring Process 

Here’s what you need to know (and do) if you’ve decided to restructure your business: 

Initial assessment and planning 

Conduct a thorough assessment before diving into the actual restructuring process. You can do this by: 

  • Defining the need for restructuring; 
  • Evaluating your company’s current state; 
  • Benchmarking against competitors; 
  • Exploring potential restructuring options; and 
  • Analysing potential risks and mitigation strategies

Identifying areas for change (operations, management, finance) 

Once done with your initial assessment, you can proceed by identifying what areas need to change. 

Here’s how you can do it: 

  • Operations. For operations, you have to analyse the current processes and consider potential changes. 
    • Are there repetitive tasks or redundant processes? 
    • Which systems would you like to upgrade?  
    • What is the ideal operational structure we are working towards? 
    • What resources are needed? 
    • Are the employees equipped to manage the change? 
    • What are the legal and regulatory implications?
  • Management. When it comes to management, start by evaluating your organisational structure, particularly what needs to be changed. 
    • Are there excessive layers of management? 
    • Is there a need to flatten hierarchies or restructure teams based on skills, project needs, or expertise? 
    • What are the desired outcomes after restructuring the management team? 
    • How will the change impact company culture?
    • What does the ideal management structure look like?
    • How will the transition be managed? 
  • Finance. Lastly, analyse your financial performance and how you can improve it. 
    • Are your costs exceeding your revenue?
    • What cost-cutting measures can you implement without compromising service or quality?
    • Are there other opportunities for improving efficiency or cost-effectiveness?
    • What are the potential risks involved? 
    • How will the change impact other departments?
    • What are the desired outcomes after restructuring your finance department? 

By thoroughly considering these questions, you can gain a clearer understanding of whether restructuring is a strategic move or not. 

The goal is to create a well-equipped overall framework for efficient operations, productive management, and transparent finances. 

Implementation strategies 

Here are some key strategies to consider to restructure your business successfully: 

  • Clear Communication. Be transparent with all your stakeholders, i.e. your employees, managers, investors, etc.

    Communicate the rationale behind the restructuring, estimated timeline, and target goals. Explain the challenges faced by your business and how restructuring will address them without sugarcoating the situation.More importantly, don’t delay the announcement. Once the decision to restructure has been made, communicate it to your employees. Avoid technical jargon and convey the restructuring plan clearly and concisely.This way, you can maintain employee morale, minimise disruption, and increase the chances of a successful restructuring.
  • Phased Approach. Implement the restructuring in phases. Start with less disruptive changes before moving on to bigger and more complex ones. For instance, have a detailed plan for each restructuring activity, breaking it down into smaller, actionable steps. You can also provide training to help employees adapt to the new processes.You can also consider piloting certain restructuring aspects in a small department before moving on to full-scale implementation. A gradual rollout can deliver early wins and help identify previously unforeseen issues.This way, your teams can easily adjust and adapt to the process.
  • External Support. It’s equally important to seek expert advice from other business owners who successfully restructured their companies.

    You can also reach out to outsourcing providers such as Remote Staff in case you need additional manpower or specialists. External support can be invaluable, providing an objective perspective on the different challenges and opportunities facing your business.Bringing in external advisors will also add credibility to your restructuring efforts, strengthening your negotiating position with partners, lenders, and other stakeholders.With the right team supporting you, your business restructuring efforts have more chances of working out as they should.

Monitoring and adjusting the plan 

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to restructuring. Hence, it’s crucial to monitor and adjust your plan accordingly. 

Here’s how: 

  1. Track Progress. Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) such as market share, revenue growth, and cost reduction. It also helps to set clear milestones for each phase, identifying delays and challenges early on.
  2. Gather Feedback. Get insights from your stakeholders to assess the restructuring’s overall impact. You can also conduct surveys, individual interviews, or focus group discussions to analyse what needs further improvement.
  3. Adjust the Plan. Check feedback, performance data, and KPIs. Prepare to make adjustments as needed. Better yet, consult with a corporate restructuring practitioner to develop better and more effective adjustments moving forward. 

Case Studies for Successful Restructuring 

Restructuring is challenging, but many businesses have been able to make it work to their advantage. 

Let’s take a look at some of them. 

Example 1: A tech company pivots to new markets 

Telstra, for instance, was focused on traditional fixed-line phones, pay TV, and mobile services. However, the AU telecommunications market has become more competitive since.

Hence, they decided to implement a major restructuring program by streamlining operations and investing in new areas such as cybersecurity, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT)

Since the restructuring, Telstra made progress in reducing its debt, improving its financial performance. 

Example 2: Retail chain restructures for online growth 

Meanwhile, Myer’s traditional department stores were losing sales to fast fashion chains and online retailers. 

Thus, it embarked on a comprehensive restructuring program, investing in its online presence, streamlining product selection, and introducing click-and-collect services.

Now, their online business continues to grow, helping Myer remain competitive in a very dynamic retail environment.

Lessons learned and key takeaways 

Both Telstra and Myer restructured their operations and improved profitability and financial stability as a result. 

They also successfully adapted to changing market dynamics, especially when technology and the internet came into play. 

In other words, restructuring their business models and product offerings kept them competitive since they were able to cater to changing consumer shopping habits. 

Challenges and Solutions in Restructuring 

Restructuring processes are rarely smooth sailing, with many challenges that arise. Fortunately, there are also plenty of tried and tested solutions. 

Common pitfalls in restructuring efforts 

Employers usually face the following challenges when restructuring: 

  1. Employee Resistance. Potential job losses due to restructuring tend to generate resistance and fear among employees. The same goes for relocating businesses.
  2. Loss of Institutional Knowledge. It’s also inevitable to lose experienced employees, especially those who aren’t open to relocating. As a result, your company can lose valuable knowledge and expertise in the process.
  3. Implementation Difficulties. Planning restructuring is one thing. However, the execution itself is a more complex task that requires coordination across different functions.
  4. Short-Term Disruption. Expect temporary disruptions due to changes in systems, workflows, and structures. 

Strategies for overcoming obstacles 

Fortunately, there are things you can do to make the transition easier: 

  1. Employee Engagement. Involve your employees in the restructuring process. Address their concerns while offering the necessary support in case of retrenchment or job relocation.
  2. Knowledge Transfer. You can also implement knowledge transfer programs before your key personnel leave. This way, you can retain expertise and ensure a smooth handover.
  3. Project Management. Develop a detailed restructuring plan and flowchart with clear objectives, milestones, and deadlines. You can also have a virtual assistant or an admin assistant help you keep track of these.
  4. Change Management. Embrace change management practices such as constant communication, support, and training to maintain employee productivity and adaptability. 

Future-Proofing Your Business Post-Restructuring 

Business restructuring often brings your company a renewed focus. 

However, it doesn’t stop there. You still need to proactively build on your new foundation for long-term sustainability, growth, and innovation

Sustaining growth and innovation 

It’s important to foster a culture of adaptability and continuous learning. To do this, you must encourage your employees to upskill and reskill. 

Provide opportunities for self-directed learning by offering training programs and employee development initiatives.

Continuous improvement and adaptation 

Your improvement efforts shouldn’t stop after restructuring and you should continue to monitor your company’s progress.

This way, you can recognise achievements and milestones while enabling continuous development.

Building resilience against future disruptions 

Lastly, prepare for future disruptions by developing contingency plans for economic downturns, technological shifts, or supply chain disruptions.  

It also helps to refine your contingency plans along the way to ensure their effectiveness. 

FAQ Section 

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about business restructuring

What is the first step in a business restructuring process? 

Start by identifying the need for restructuring. 

This means conducting internal assessments, defining triggers, and identifying external factors that can help establish the right direction. 

In addition, the following tips can also guide you in: 

  • Setting clear goals and objectives; 
  • Aligning goals with strategy; and 
  • Conducting thorough assessments.

Can a business survive without restructuring? 

Businesses that don’t adapt and evolve will have difficulty surviving. 

The same goes for companies that don’t actively seek alternative solutions or fail to anticipate challenges on the horizon. 

How do employees benefit from restructuring? 

Restructuring is often associated with retrenchment or relocation. 

However, when implemented right, it can deliver potential employee benefits such as:

  • Enhanced skills and knowledge; 
  • A more productive work environment; and 
  • Stronger company culture. 

In other words, a successful restructuring can actually lead to improved employee performance.

Conclusion 

Ultimately, how you restructure depends on your company’s overall goals.

While business restructuring is complex, it’s also one proven way to stay competitive in a dynamic business environment. 

If you’re currently considering restructuring your business, look no further. 

Remote Staff has been providing AU SMEs and entrepreneurs with insights from our partners on how they can restructure their businesses. Contact us here.

Remote Staff  also provides efficient remote workers who can provide administrative or technical assistance during restructuring and beyond.

Whether you need to outsource accounting tasks, delegate non-core business functions, or strengthen your IT support for the entire process, we’ve got you covered. 

Call us today or request a call back now. 

 

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Syrine is studying law while working as a content writer. When she’s not writing or studying, she engages in tutoring, events planning, and social media browsing. In 2021, she published her book, Stellar Thoughts.

About The Author

Syrine is studying law while working as a content writer. When she’s not writing or studying, she engages in tutoring, events planning, and social media browsing. In 2021, she published her book, Stellar Thoughts.

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