One of DWH’s most powerful tools is the business assessment.  We are asked about the assessment process and why we recommend it, so here is some helpful information.

What is the Process?

The assessment is a process DWH uses to collect quantitative and qualitative data.  This process includes a substantial information request list, interviews with your key leaders and stakeholders, and physical observations of a business and operations.  We focus on Leadership, Operations, Finance and Management Information, and Sales and Marketing.

We use this process to identify gaps between the current practices at the client and best business practices.  We also develop recommendations for closing those gaps.

What Do I Get?

The final product is a report summarizing the gaps in each area of the business.  We also provide recommendations on how to close those gaps.  The report includes a prioritized list of next steps, so owners and leaders can focus on the actions that will have the greatest effect on the business.  Priorities are based on value creation, and value creation is based on maximizing cash flow while simultaneously managing and mitigating risks.

We deliver this report to leadership and walk them through the findings.  This is a discussion.  We want to make sure that the client can use the report to correct the problems.  DWH often assists with implementing recommendations from the report.  If it is an area where we are not the best solution, then we can assist the business with the right provider.

Usually, the biggest impact an assessment report has is aligning the business leaders around the problems and prioritizing actions they need to take to address those problems.

How Does It Help?

Here are a couple of common stages in the business life cycle and how an assessment can help.

Distressed Business Businesses that are in financial and/or operational distress have less room for error.  An assessment will assist the business in identifying critical risks and weaknesses and then prioritizing actions that the business can take to improve performance.

Rapid Growth BusinessMost business owners recognize that effective growth requires a lot of planning and capital.  Our assessment for businesses looking to grow helps identify areas of the business that could challenge growth.  We also assist with forecast review and validation to ensure that financial projections are supported by market data and other relevant information, and capital sources and uses are aligned with anticipated investment, operating and working capital requirements.

Succession SituationTransitioning the business to a new leader (family or non-family) can be a leveraging event.  Our business assessment focused on succession will help to identify a path forward and potential risks that will need to be addressed.  We will also help to determine the business’s ability to fund the succession plan.  (For more information on this topic, please see this post on The Importance of Transition Before Transaction in a Family Business.)

Preparing for TransactionIn this case, the assessment would be tailored to help the business owner identify ways to increase the business’s value through improved cash flow and reduced risk in preparation for a transaction.  For more information on this topic, please see this webinar on Strategic Planning and Value Creation.)

Ultimately an assessment report is a powerful tool to identify risks and opportunities in a business and generate alignment with the leadership team on a path forward.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss how an assessment might help your business, please feel free to reach out directly to Ben Borisch ( or 616-780-5113).

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