When you realise that your company has gone insolvent or you see that your business is looking less likely to survive, it can seem like all hope is lost.
There’s often few places to turn but sometimes it pays to look on the bright side. There are hundreds if not thousands of companies that come back from the brink when it comes to financial stress.
Of course there are high-profile collapses, we’ve seen the British high street suffer over recent years and big names fall from grace. Often this is due to mismanagement or a refusal or inability to move with the times. However, let’s be positive, there’s companies that have turned their woes around and there’s a lot to be said for remaining hopeful. Let these examples provided by insolvency specialists Forbes Burton serve as inspiration.
These days, Marvel is a household name once more. Now a subsidiary of Disney and producing films and popular TV series, there’s a lot to be said for their success. It was a different story in the mid-90s. In 1996, the firm was almost bankrupt, focusing as it had on comics and graphic novels, it had relied on its past success too much. By diversifying and deciding to strike deals with major players in the film industry, legal spats and a burst comic book collecting bubble were soon left behind and the birth of a cinematic universe meant millions in revenue and the comic books now back up the vastly superior film series, which now seems never ending.
It’s hard to believe that one of the world’s most innovative and recognisable brands was once in trouble. After languishing in 1997, Apple was considering bankruptcy but was bought out of its dire straits by rivals Microsoft. Perhaps to allay any fears that they were about to have a monopoly on home computers and technology, Microsoft making this decision created one of the most engaging phoenix from the flames stories of all time. The concentration on user experience, design, functionality and branding meant that Steve Jobs’ creations such as the iPod, iPad and iPhone have become synonymous with quality, innovation and sell in their millions year after year.
The financial crash of 2008 created many disasters and nearly the biggest of them all was, General Motors (GM), once the largest automobile manufacturer in the world. The firm filed for bankruptcy and was eventually rescued by the federal US government. In December 2013, the US Department of the Treasury exited investment in GM. In total it recovered a total of $39.7 billion from its original investment of $51 billion. This shows just how readily businesses can be rescued if it means long-term success.
Ask anyone who grew up in the late 90s and early 2000s which phone everyone had and it’s likely to be the Nokia 3210. A workhorse of a phone, Nokia was the byword for mobile phones until the mid-2000s rise of Android and Apple technology almost killed off the popular phone manufacturer. Losing 96% of its market share, the firm realised it needed to adapt or die. In possibly one of the most amazing examples of listening to the market and customers, Nokia realised its networks and equipment expertise was the benchmark of what they did anyway, so doubling down, made investments to operate as a global player for communications. These days, the company is worth billions and remains a strong player in international communications.
These may be extreme examples, but it shows that insolvency or business rescue is not the end. Sometimes it is a time to take stock, think strategically and look to the future with hope. Regrouping and seeking out what the market needs and what you can offer can keep a viable business alive where circumstances would suggest it might not.
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