Zombie Bite #1; Check yourself, learn the warning signs, be alert & protected

In gory B-grade movies, Zombies are usually easy to spot. Not so much in business.
Keep Calm Avoid Zombies Poster

In Stuart Craig’s experience, their threat is real. “When Zombie companies collapse, they take other businesses with them. We see it time and time again, particularly in sectors like construction, where if a developer collapses, their subbies and suppliers are often left high and dry and in a world of pain.”

Things are opening up and restrictions are loosening. Now business owners need to see if they still have a business, and what sort of shape it’s in.

Review, Revise and Reset (again)                     

Stuart says, “This means doing what any good business owner should do – analyse cash flow (with and without JobKeeper and other Stimulus receipts), income, debts, leases and staffing. And plan to work out whether your operation is still viable and healthy. Part of that process is to keep having the six critical conversations I identified when the crisis began and refresh them. And keep doing it.

You need to be having conversations with:

But what do you need to be talking about? And what do you watch for?

According to Stuart, the first thing you need to do is look in the mirror and check you are not infected. “By checking your health, you can work out exactly where you stand and what your risks are – in precise dollar and timing terms – which are clear and understandable.”

How do you spot and protect yourself from the Zombie hoard?

Part of the conversations, and your own planning is to watch for warning signs that you are dealing with a zombie company. They are usually bad debtors, make late payments, undercut the market on price, overpromise and underdeliver on service and are loose with terms of trade and contracts.”

Stuart recommends working with your trusted advisors to ensure you have the right level of weaponry and protection in your anti-zombie defence kit. Stuart works with businesses that need to restructure or want to grow, and he says, “Get legal advice, look at PPSR, your terms of trade, your payment terms and contractual agreements.”

Some of it is mindset. “Plan to survive / work to thrive,” says Stuart. “If your business can’t do that, it is a Zombie. If it can, be like the survivors in the movies – arm yourself, and get ready for the sequel!”

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Any or all of these reasons for business owners with a Pty Ltd company who:

  • have closed or are likely to close their business without any money left 
  • cannot afford $15,000 but want to place their company into liquidation  
  • want to do the right thing and inform their creditors properly about the business closing down 
  • want to draw a line in the sand so they can get on with their future.

If you have personal assets you want to protect, like a family home or director’s guarantees, this may not be for you, but you should ask us.

Cheryl Stainsby

Cheryl is a Director’s Advocate specialising in Crisis Management; Business Health Checks, Asset Protection and Exit Strategy  Find out more or Email Cheryl.

Niall Coburn

Niall Coburn

Niall is a Litigator, Prosecutor and Corporate Investigator. Find out more or Email Niall.

Bruce Pasetti portrait photo

Bruce Pasetti

Bruce Pasetti is the ‘go-to’ for actions for Windup (or to defend companies and directors against similar actions). Bruce is a Solicitor with over 20 years legal and specialist Insolvency experience. Find our more or Email Bruce.

Stuart Craig

Stuart is a Business Transformation Specialist and Certified Practicing Accountant, specialising in business turnaround and restructure, business management and business ownership transfer. Find out more or Email Stuart.

James Flaherty

James Flaherty

James is a business consultant and accountant. He specialises in sales and marketing for the business and finance sectors. Find out more or Email James.


Ginette Muller

Ginette is a Business Crisis Advisor and Accountant specialising in Safe Harbour, refinancing, litigation funding, restructure and business crisis advice. Find out more or  Email Ginette.