Need to restructure costs when everyone around you has already done so.
Immediate, urgent and decisive action.
A relatively small player in the internet industry failed to restructure their costs during the .com bust, saddling them with high fixed price contracts. This made them uncompetitive compared to larger players who had already shed high, fixed price contracts. Very shortly after being engaged, the CEO and I decided to hire legal counsel ASAP (before there were no funds to attain quality representation). Ironically, it takes a lot of money to file a bankruptcy petition.
We put together a plan that satisfied both the creditors and the courts. Through the process we realized that some of our vendors were more concerned about what we could do going forward than with what had happened in the past. One VP of marketing and business development for a major supplier readily accepted 15 cents on the dollar to settle our account provided we committed to selling more of their product and services in the future. They understood that their future was better with us than without us!
Rapid restructuring was accomplished within nine months. Today, 10 years after later, the company is still in business, serving customers, and employing numerous people.
Act in a timely manner
Retain good legal counsel to guide you through the unknowns
Understand the position of those on the other side of the table