Case Study

Creating an Urgent Turnaround Plan for a Struggling Family-run Business

The Challenge:

When the pandemic, market pressures, and an unexpected health crisis for the owner threatened the viability of an already under-performing manufacturing business, this company’s banker voiced concern that the aging, disengaged entrepreneur needed some help and guidance.

Mayhill’s Involvement:

Acting on their banker’s referral, the client brought in Kevin Jansen of Mayhill Consulting to serve as a change agent and temporary President as family relationships and biases were clouding prudent decision making.

The Mayhill Approach:

Diagnose the company's health, value and future opportunities.

Opportunities & Threats:

Management Team:

  • Uneven abilities
  • Poor collaboration
  • Interpersonal discord
  • Vague goals
  • Ineffective performance feedback


The leadership team consisted of three executive level positions that reported to the absentee owner.  Two of the owner’s children were members of the leadership team and they had poor interpersonal relationship skills and resisted collaboration. The company lacked performance goals at the corporate and individual levels, with the owner retaining control of most day-to-day and strategic decisions despite limited engagement in the business.


  • Changing buyer needs 
  • Covid impacts


Buyer expectations was shifting away from this client’s product line. Covid-related shutdowns also impacted the client’s customer base, further diminishing market demand. 


  • Easy-to-mimic product line
  • Few barriers to market entry


An easily copied product concept and low-cost opportunities to innovate product improvements had left the door open for disruptors and industry newcomers.

New product development was absent as the company had become a processor of low margin orders rather than an innovator.

Technology Adoption:

  • Manufacturing
  • Order management
  • Accounting software
  • HR & benefits administration

As competitors wisely invested in software and automated equipment to drive production efficiencies, the owner and family members were complacent in exploring these options.


  • Industry expertise and relationships
  • Deep product and manufacturing knowledge


The business owner had a deep, keen understanding of the business and its product lines, enabling him to trouble-shoot and solve virtually any operational issues.  As his attention to the company waned, the business lost its main creative presence. 

Customers, Concentrations:

  • Loyal, long-standing customers with ongoing repeat purchases

The company had cultivated a loyal following of buyer relationships over many years. While these customers continued to purchase, they were buying smaller, non-standard, unit volumes per order.

Financial Results:

  • Poor budget management
  • Excessive costs

For ten years running, the company had struggled to break even. Rather than diagnose or correct the issues, the owner had a history of making personal cash infusions to cover expenses.

Mayhill’s Solution:

Mayhill devised a plan to rebuild management functionality, improve financial stability and enable the owner to temporarily relinquish control to turn his attention to his critical health issues with confidence. Action items:

  • Implement weekly management team meetings.
  • Gauge each executive’s willingness and ability to embrace new leadership standards which led to long-overdue conversations and decisions between father and adult children. 
  • Act as a catalyst for change as one of the siblings was asked to step down early in the process.
  • Hire a Director of Operations. An industry veteran was sourced and hired to replace the departing family member.  
  • Establish clear, measurable, realistic goals for the company and for the remaining executives.
  • Kevin created a revenue and expense plan for the company to reach break even within a four-month period which coincided with the end of their fiscal year. 


The Results:

By the end of the four-month engagement, Kevin was able to hand the President role back to the owner with all six steps completed successfully, giving the company urgently needed stability and a roadmap to move forward. 

When I take on a client, business relationships and teamwork improves, financial goals are met, and personal piece of mind follows.

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