Years ago one acquisitive entrepreneur I worked for (he purchased many, many companies and is now on the Forbes 500 list) refused to consolidate the operations once acquired.  That is generally opposite of what most buyers do.  Usually they try to combine and consolidate computer systems, staff functions (think personnel, legal, accounting, etc) and generally seek to reduce the overall costs.  He did not consolidate.  He said, indeed,  he wanted to make each acquired company more efficient, but it had to stand on its own, so that if he ever needed to throw it overboard (generally by selling it, but sometimes liquidating it) he could.  No anchors to weigh down the rest of the companies.

One of my clients purchased an expanded manufacturing plant, with lots of borrowed money, a few years ago.  Business fell off and the company is now facing oversized debt payments for the building, which is now too large for the company.  Given the layout, some of the space can be sublet, but not all.  The building and its debt have become an anchor.

Another of my clients has several long time, well paid, employees who are no longer fully needed.  Their expense has become an anchor to the business as well.

Another owns a number of specialty vehicles and trucks that he does not wish to sell.  After all, when business picks up, we’ll need most of those trucks.  Anchors.

To be successful, or reverse losses, some of the solutions are not pleasant, but the anchors must be tossed overboard.  Sell the building and take the losses, terminate the excess staff, part with the excess equipment, etc.  Most of the time it is more emotional for the owner than it should be.

But, the anchors must be thrown overboard, with no rope.

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