Turn around management time can scare the be-jeebies out of any business owners, but the fact is that sometimes, things in business go bad and it’s time for fresh new insight. When business tsunamis rock the boat, it’s comforting to know there are people that focus in this highly specialized area of business.

There are times, when the proverbial “S&*T Happens!” Perhaps it is the economy, a single bad decision, not seeing the market shift in a new direction like Blockbuster Video, but for one reason or another, your business is now circling like the water in a toilet and you need help fast before it is too late.

Fortunately, there are a number of very clear warning signs that should make a business owner or CEO consider turn around management. All you have to do is face them head on. If business owners listen to these warning signs (the earlier the better), they should be able to take action before the business is gone like so many others in tough economic times. In my 20+ years of creating business turn arounds, these are the top ten signs I know of that SCREAM you need business turn around management.

1. Lowered Profit or Revenue due to “perceived” Economic Issues

This is more relevant now than ever. The economic crisis has reached every corner of the globe and has affected businesses both large and small. Many of them find that their business structure and plans cannot cope with one part of it, whether it is because they are a luxury service that people have given up or because the economic downturn has damaged their specific industry.

2. Personnel Losses

Talented People are an essential part of any organization but it’s the art of working together as a team that makes all the difference; so what do you do when someone extremely valuable leaves? There are many reasons for management or specialists to move on. Some of them move on because they find that their needs aren’t being met or because another company gave them a better offer. Some of them retire, while others simply and tragically passed on. Whatever the reason for the personnel loss, it could potentially ruin a company simply because they were a cornerstone of how that company functioned. It’s vital to understand turn around strategies “before” the company suffers a personnel loss as others may decide to leave the company upon seeing that others have.

Part and partial to great turnaround strategy is to know what to do with the “what ifs” in personnel shifts.

3. Stronger Competition

Face it, the competition in today’s economy is going to get tougher all the time, the trick is to stay one step ahead of the pack. There are very few businesses out there that do not have to be concerned about the competition – if any.

In our view, competition is a good thing at it forces an industry to continually provide better services to the public. If a company finds that they are losing customers to the new kid on the block, it’s time to change the way they approach their business before they pass the point of no return.

4. Confused Sales Projections

Sales projections allow a company to determine how to plan its future. Flawed or outright inaccurate sales projections can cripple a company as it might lead to losses, rather than profits. This is extremely dangerous as it can bankrupt a company before it knows what is going on and modifications may lead to customer losses. Turn around management digs deep into sale projection metrics and you should too when times are tough.

5. Extreme and Irresolvable Debt

Investors and debts are a part of many or all businesses, but there are times when a business may have bitten off more than they can chew. This could potentially ruin a business as they will either have a bad credit record or a terrible reputation, which could make finding money in the future impossible. As with many of the other reasons to consider hiring turn around experts, knowing how to work with banking concerns and savvy investment professionals can be invaluable at times like this.

6. Failed or Dead End Research and Development Projects

Done properly, research and development can give a company a boost against the competition, allowing them to offer something new and unique to it’s consumers. Due to the nature of research and development, a few mistakes can be expected – not all projects will yield positive results. After awhile however, given no successes, there needs to be some reconsideration. Restructuring or outside help may be required as it reveals either a startling error in the direction of their research, a sudden loss in capital as they essentially lost their investment or in the worst case, both, which can be crippling in the long term if not immediately.

7. Unclear or Unfocused Strategy

Companies today must have clearly defined strategies to succeed with so many people competing for the same dollars – a deeply flawed business strategy restrains a company from the very beginning. Generally speaking that invariably spirals into chaos, as the company has very little to guide it but that “flawed” strategy. Outside help re-organizes and refocuses the company in an effort to repair the inherent issues present in the initial strategy.

8. Cripplingly High Fixed Costs

Some costs remain the same, whether a company is making five products a day or five hundred. These fixed costs can prevent a company from growing and thus, limit its potential and make it easy prey for more flexible competition. If the competition can respond faster than they can because they have more free capital to work with, it can spell doom for a given business. Turn around teams frequently offer a different point of view and either open up capital or find ways to save money.

9. Flawed or Incompetent Execution of Business Strategy

Let’s be honest here, not everyone is cut out to be an executive or a manager. Some people simply do not have the savvy or mental make up to implement some of the more complex strategies that companies deeply need and if they cannot keep up, it does not matter how perfect the strategy is. Execution is the name of the game. Part of the turn-around process is corporate restructuring, removing what doesn’t work and finding ways to make what is there function within the confines of the business.

10. High Operational Capital Requirements

Many companies can become bloated fairly quickly, which implies that they expanded too fast, too early and in the wrong way. Much like the aforementioned high fixed costs, this can limit a company’s movements to the point where without severe restructuring the company would be doomed to financial failure.

Given even a single one of these reasons, a company must consider bringing in turn around experts to keep a company moving forward and or afloat. The temptation to ride it out can be overwhelming, but in the long run, finding and hiring crisis management experts may ensure that they have something to “actually” ride out in the future.