Some companies fall on hard times and disappear. Others falter only to roar back bigger and better than ever.
What distinguishes the two groups? Every business comeback is different, but a few common themes emerge. Invariably, the survivors bring in new leadership. Often, those leaders refocus the company on its core competencies — and many impose fiscal discipline on organizations that have become flabby.
Here are five high-profile turnaround stories that offer insights into putting your own company back on solid ground when sales and profits start moving in the wrong direction.
Apple is a Wall Street darling these days but was a dog in the mid-1990s, losing market share and hemorrhaging cash. Then co-founder Steve Jobs, who’d departed in 1984 after a dispute with his board, came back. Jobs shut down projects that were draining cash and transformed Apple from a computer maker into a consumer electronics company with products that looked and worked better than the competition’s.
Lessons: Leadership matters. Apple always had plenty of brainpower but wasn’t always focused. In Jobs, the company found a leader with the vision to anticipate what customers would want and the charisma to convince employees to deliver them — all while meeting his famously demanding standards.