A business turnaround specialist is a professional person that can provide insight into your business and can also bring valuable skills, tips and tools, that owners themselves would not otherwise have access to.  A specialist also brings a unique viewpoint, usually because owners of small companies under £5m in revenues, are typically working in the business, as opposed to working on the business.

In many small businesses, it is far easier for an experienced turnaround specialist to see what is required, as they have an external perspective and are not clouded by emotions and linked to the day to day stresses of managing cash flow, debtors, creditors, staff and customers.

Far too often, a business owner can be reluctant to change and doing things in a different way, although change can be exactly what is required, to not only save the business, but make it thrive for years to come.

How to Choose a Turnaround Specialist

Any reputable turnaround specialist should be able to provide solid case studies and examples of results achieved for other businesses. Just like in any other profession, you need to choose wisely and as long as there are references available, or you can see results achieved before, you should be in a safer pair of hands and ensure you get an agreement outlining some expected deliverables, so everyone knows what is expected of them.

How Long Does a Turnaround Take?

In some cases, a turnaround can take as little as 1-3 months, but each business is different and requires a unique approach. To make it the best success possible, a turnaround requires flexibility, a willingness to maybe do things differently and a partnership between the owner(s) and the turnaround specialist, as they are working on the same side as you and should act in an impartial way and offer experience and insight, that even your accountant and financial advisers cannot bring to the table.

How Much Does a Turnaround Specialist Cost?

There are different ways to work with a turnaround specialist, some will want to charge daily fees, however I prefer to work on a success basis, where I only get paid for results, as I think this is the fairest way for all parties. In this scenario, everyone wins when the results are produced, which I think is critical for the business owner(s) as they need people that are on their side and championing their cause. This also ensures that owners can have full trust and confidence that the specialist is spending his time doing things that will help you and not simply racking up the hours, to collect fees, that may just be causing more pain to the business and adding to any existing cash flow issues.

Where Can You Find Turnaround Specialists?

A good place to start is LinkedIn. Try searching for business turnaround specialist and then interview prospective partners, to see who is best aligned to your needs and goals.


Lee Antony Smith is an experienced, UK-based, business turnaround specialist, with 4 years’ mergers and acquisitions experience. Working with small and medium-sized businesses in a variety of sectors, Lee has taken companies from a state of near closure to sale in the space of 12 months.

Contact me for more information.

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