Disruptive trends are currently challenging established business models in almost every industry. Actively shaping the new reality is one of the key management tasks in a "post-COVID" world. "Currently, government corona aid has overridden proven market mechanisms," says Hans-Ulrich Bachert, founder and managing director of Bachert Unternehmensberatung GmbH & Co. KG. With serious consequences especially for medium-sized businesses. He recommends using the state aid wisely and restructuring now as a preventive measure to forestall the foreseeable wave of insolvencies. He refers to a survey conducted by his company of 72 market and industry experts for SMEs, including banks, consultants and lawyers.
"Corona and financial government intervention have prevented necessary restructuring and natural reorganization on a large scale in the SME sector," says the experienced restructuring consultant. One of the questions now is, will government aid continue after the election? Bridging aid III and short-time working allowance have been extended until the end of 2021 for the time being. According to Bachert's assessment, they are likely to be withdrawn soon after the government is formed.
Corona is accelerating the structural upheavals in numerous sectors. According to the survey, brick-and-mortar retail, the automotive industry, tourism and small businesses across all sectors are particularly affected. Supply bottlenecks and skyrocketing energy and raw material prices are further exacerbating the situation in manufacturing SMEs. Overall, the result is a "toxic mix." The survey experts expect the wave of insolvencies to build up slowly from spring 2022.
The classic drivers of restructuring are the banks - but they themselves are under cost pressure and have to meet tougher capital requirements. According to the survey, many banks will no longer be able to afford to accompany restructurings in their current form. If the number of cases increases, standardized procedures will replace individual consideration, especially in the SME sector. At the same time, unregulated hedge funds from Germany and abroad are expected to take over the financing of the necessary restructuring as private equity investors, because capital is available in abundance in the markets.
Therefore, his appeal to entrepreneurs is not to wait, but to restructure their business now as a preventive measure. "Corporations are already working on the digitization of their business models with enormous investments - SMEs must follow suit." In his opinion, many will want to sit out the topic next year because they cannot foresee the consequences, fear the expense - a mistake in his eyes. This is where the ongoing Corona support could be put to good use.