Developing a plan for a small business restructure

Mar 10, 2020 | Managing change

If you feel your small business, or part of it, needs restructuring, you will need a plan for what you need and how this is going to be achieved successfully. The following steps will ensure you cover what is necessary and get the restructure right.

Ensure clarity on why the restructure is necessary

A clear business case for the restructure is an essential first step, even if this isn’t shared with many people, as it can help clarify the end result you are looking for and identify the best way to get there.

Consider carefully why you feel there is a need for change, including internal and external factors, and any key issues affecting your decision. What problems are you currently identifying that you need to resolve, what gaps are there in staffing or skills that are preventing the business move forward or perform effectively?

End result

Before you can decide how to progress your restructure and what processes might be required from a legal point of view, you need to start from the end and work backwards. This might involve an organisation design process, which you may want to consider engaging external assistance with, looking at job roles, skills assessments and producing job descriptions and a new organisational structure.

Consider what you want the organisation to ‘look like’ before you work out how to change it, and although it can be tempting, it is essential to avoid the temptation to design jobs around staff you already have, and instead to design jobs purely based on what the organisation actually needs.

Examine options

Now you are clear on the reasons for the restructure and on the end result you are looking for, you need to consider what options you may have to achieve that. Again this is something you may want to take external advice on, and the options may be very specific to your business.

You may be able to retain all existing staff, and perhaps offer additional training or other support if key skills are lacking. You may need to make some redundancies and/or recruit new staff. There may be more than one option that may work, and it may be necessary to weigh up different ones and analyse factors such as costs, risks and timescales before choosing which path to take. You may also want to seek input on these options from managers and from external HR advisors.

Planning a process

You have identified the business case for change, the desired end result, and a preferred option in terms of how to achieve that result, so the only item left in the planning process is any formal or informal procedure you may want or need to use, including communicating with employees, any formal consultation and timescales for implementation. If you are at all unsure about legal requirements for a procedure for a restructure, take external advice at this stage to avoid any issues later on.

Restructuring is far more likely to be smooth and successful, with legal vulnerability minimalised, if you take time to plan it carefully beforehand, and seek assistance doing so to make sure you get it right.


If you’d like further advice on developing a plan for restructuring your small business, do get in touch.