Sunday, September 26, 2010
Outsourcing and Liquidation: Business Topics for Our Times
So it’s a jobless recovery after all. Is anybody still waiting for Godot? Better to contemplate the insights in these two handy volumes for our post-recessionary times. With The Black Book of Outsourcing, the cult of outsourcing will be your friend whether you’re a still viable business or a downsized employee. If the Black Book fails to save your business, then turn to Last Rights: Liquidating a Company. It’s sure to smooth your transition to the business afterlife.
With their jet black dust jackets, both volumes would sit smartly on a doily beside the guest log at your local undertaker’s. But you can’t judge these books by the wry subtext of their covers. Inside, they are all business and absorbing reading if you find strategy to-do-lists and taking inventory scintillating.
Remember the verbal inventiveness that begat rightsizing from downsizing? You’re gonna love the verbal spawnage from outsourcing. The Black Book identifies backsourcing, cosourcing, heresourcing, insourcing, multisourcing, massivesourcing, and the self-congratultory smartsourcing. Surely writers of The Office could make hay by goosing up this material a la Seinfeld’s Label Maker episode, which explored the deeper meanings of gifting, re-gifting, and de-gifting.
While The Black Book ‘s primary audience is established businesses, its dust jacket, among other things, promises that by reading the book you’ll learn What to do if Your Job Is Outsourced. Wouldn’t you know that the book’s upbeat advice to fallen employees is essentially, Outsource Thyself!—either by brokering your skills with established outsourcers or by founding your own outsourcing kingdom.
When All Else Fails. If outsourcing can’t save your business, head straight for Last Rights, which serves up the mechanics of business liquidation from soup to nuts. “The day-to-day management of a business undergoing a liquidation involves many of the same matters as running an ongoing business, except that the goal is to reach a point where there is nothing else to manage,” observes coauthor Ben Branch, a professor of finance at the UMass Isenberg School of Management.
One of the book’s revelations involves Federal Bankruptcy Code Chapter 11. Chapter 7 offers straight-up liquidation. Chapter 11 allows you to restructure—to take another crack at business viability. But seven of eight firms that file Chapter 11 go down the tubes, notes Branch. Many,in fact, wind up deploying Chapter 11 to morph more advantageously into Chapter 7.
When Last Rights first appeared in the spring of 2007, it became the first book on the planet to offer a pragmatic guide to business liquidation that integrated business and legal perspectives. Considering that more than 95% of America’s businesses fail within their first five years, Professor Branch was puzzled. “I’m not entirely sure how to account for our singularity,” he observed. “I do know that most books on the subject have focused on the legal side of bankruptcy. There’s also a bias on success stories in business writing. In a sense, Last Rights is a guide to the management of salvaging as much as possible from a failure.”
For a view on the sunny side, check out the video below, which explores the benefits of Laughter Yoga in the workplace.
Subscribe to Wig & Pen.