You’re The New CEO Of A Failing Business: 5 Things To Do To Survive

ceo-2Businesses fail and in some cases rise again. However, for almost all businesses, the reasons for failing in the first place ranges from management to other reasonable factors that made it difficult for such business to survive.

When a business fails, it is almost always impossible for the same set of managers to turn the business around using the same products, techniques, and team.

This has always been the reason most companies appoint new management, set up new strategies, organize new teams and reinvent their product to be able to make it back in the market.

Most often the responsibility for organizing this process and turning the company around falls on an individual who is either appointed from outside the business or who has been in the business to lead this initiative.

In a situation where you have been appointed to lead this process as the new company CEO, here are some things you can do for the first 50 days.

  1. Innovate More, Talk Less

The first thing to do at this point is not press briefing, rather, you need to spend time looking at how things are done in all areas of the company and how to improve them for better results.  Most times, companies fail due to many reasons, among which is the inability to innovate. innovation in most cases transcends the entire organizational structure.

At this point, what you need to do is to carefully look into how things are done in this organisation and how you can improve it by implementing key innovative techniques and policies that will allow the company come up with the blueprint and action plan for an efficient organisation.

  1. Carefully, Select Your  Core Team

For the company to experience any change in it operational procedures, product development and management techniques, individuals who understand the key policies and strategies you wish to implement need to be well-informed, articulate and organized.

This team cannot be the generality of the organization workforce at the first instance, rather a carefully, hand-picked individuals who understand the company mission, vision, and its core competencies and are willing to make a great sacrifice to turn the company around.

  1. Build on Existing Revenue-Generating Products

The Fact is that you need to survive another day to innovate! So don’t kill your cash generating products while innovating. You need to hold dearly your already revenue generating products while making innovations or designing new product. Hence, the first thing to do is to concentrate efforts in making sure that the products currently give you money and maintaining your customers base are in best shape.

Any attempt to scrap the entire structure in the name of fresh innovation may result in bad news for the company so keep the revenue continuously flowing in while aggressively building your next innovative products. 

  1. Discard Unwanted Structure, People or Products

There is no need keeping anything not very important to the survival of the company. So as the new CEO, on of the first thing you need to do is to sieve the grains from the chaff and get rid of the chaffs.

You have to simply do away with all the products that are not the focus of the company and fire all redundant, incompetent and lazy employees. getting rid of products that are not the focus of the company will enable the organisation to focus its production, marketing, research and sales efforts towards the products that bring money for the business. The same way firing those not at their best in the company will create opportunities for the organisation to operated with the very best of its employees while reducing labour cost and creating room for a new workforce.

Apart from labour and products, the new CEO also need to get rid of excessive bureaucracy and administrative bottlenecks that have hindered innovation in the company.

  1. Get Into Action and Do it Quick.

After making all the plans, developing products, building  a team and putting structures that will enhance innovation the most important of them all is to get into action. You just have to do the actual work of the organisation to see all these turn into success.

Create an impression that you have started implementing the strategies set and based on the time set for completion of each target make it a policy never to miss deadlines and targets.

implement a system of reward and punishment for committees and teams that completed or fail to complete their goals and target respectively.

Chigozie Ezugwu
Chigozie Ezugwu
CHIGOZIE Ezugwu is a Nigeria Startup Entrepreneur, the founder/CEO of is an educational startup that aims to make quality research and content available to everyone for free. It also gives users of the platform (researchers, publishers, authors, students, and freelancers etc) an avenue to monetize their own research contents like YouTube video creators. Chigozie studied Human Resources Management at the University of Nigeria and Business Management at Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.


  1. Changing a business requires changing the core paradigm. We start with the brass tacks:
    PICTURE = Planning + Innovation + Capital + Transparency + Unification + Reinvention + Evolution

    Then align, cut, and reinforce from there. Then if you can’t change the people, change the people.

  2. If one is to turn around a failing business there are really only two ways. Increase profitable revenue, reduce overhead, or a combination thereof. It should be noted that there is a very real difference between revenue and profitable revenue.

    It has been my experience that failure to jettison the dead wood on the staff is more often than not a major cause of failure.






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