How it got into that position will vary but what all zombie businesses have in common is that at best they can only service their debts and other long term commitments but cannot reduce them. Nor do they have the ability to raise new debt or invest in new projects, capital equipment or other opportunities to increase profitability. In short they are trapped by their liabilities and are unlikely to ever deliver future shareholder value.
Businesses can survive in this stage for extended periods but unless they can find a way to break out eventually they are bound to fail either through lack of financial resources or exhaustion of the management team.
Many such businesses will have already down sized and cut costs to the bone but continue to see sales and margins deteriorate in a never ending spiral. However, bank and legacy debts remain, rent and employees have to be paid the same as when times were better. The solutions lies in radical action but guess what - the business doesn't have the cash to implement those necessary changes either.
In this situation - where you are damned if you do and damned if you don't there are often genuine alternatives if tackled soon enough. Business owners don't have to feel they are only working for the banks, the landlord or others rather than themselves.
We at McTear Williams & Wood are business turnaround experts. Due to our extensive work with underperforming family and SME businesses we can assist clients struggling to refinance or restructure their business. A free, confidential no obligation meeting is the starting point to resolving the situation at which we will seek to:
More generally we work with underperforming family and SME businesses on a wide range of business rescue and insolvency related issues so we are well placed to think outside the box and help directors and business managers get through difficult times. If you would like to know more about our turnaround or insolvency services for businesses or individuals or wish to discuss any specific issues concerning underperforming businesses please contact me. Initial meetings are always free. Get in touch now by calling 0800 331 7417 for more information.