NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When challenges threaten business performance, whether a shift in leadership or economic woes, it's sink or swim. Last year 44,111 businesses found themselves in rough waters and declared bankruptcy. But there are success stories and lessons to be learned from companies that come back from the brink.
When Bruce Barren arrived at M Line Holdings last year, the company was in dire straits. It had a negative net worth and was over-leveraged and starving for new capital to keep from bankruptcy or closed doors. On top of that, M Line was behind in its order deliveries, buried in rent arrearages and overdue employee payroll.
Less than 30 days after Barren joined, the California precision-parts supplier to the aerospace industry turned profitable, with major gains.
M Line had posted a $4.2 million loss on total revenues of $9.4 million in its fiscal year, Barren says. Its revenue is on target for a 60% gain this year, and earnings are expected to increase to $1.5 million, reflecting a $5.7 million turnaround.
M Line is one example of a company saving itself from financial ruin during particularly tough economic times. When experiencing corporate hardship, these four qualities are essential to improving performance for any business, in any industry:
Vision. Leadership is easy to come by in business, but a leader with a solid vision is rarer. When a business is struggling, a strong leader comes in with a goal-oriented roadmap executing a vision to pull the company out of the trenches. In addition to having a vision, it's important to communicate it clearly from the top down to create a sense of cohesion throughout the company.