and Business Planning
A manufacturer of ultrasound testing equipment, Sonix had developed
a unique niche and approach in the market. Their strengths were
in providing a customized product and a fully integrated product
offering. Four founders had successfully run the company for years
but were looking for a growth strategy that increased the value
of their company and offered them options to personally exit the
- The four founding partners and owners of Sonix had a good
sense of their market and their products, but tended to project
the business and revenues in one-year timelines. Growth planning
was more opportunistic.
- The elements of a strong story existed in the company's almost
10-year history, but the story itself had not been crafted for
- No succession plan was in place for the company should any
of its founders choose to leave or become incapacitated. Each
founder held largely in his head the full knowledge base for
the part of the company for which he took responsibility. No
formal, documented operations processes existed.
- To various degrees each partner wanted the option of an exit
from the business, but the value of the company was still very
much wrapped up in each individual's role in it.
In partnership with management, Lighthouse planned and executed
a step-by-step process to evaluate the company's status, shape
its message, and prepare it for its future. This included the
- Lighthouse examined the
company's business history, conducted extensive interviews of
its staff at all levels, and interviewed its customers to gain
a true sense of the value inherent in the company.
- Lighthouse also perceived that
the long-term goals of the partners were not necessarily in
alignment. In-depth personal interviews with each partner were
conducted and the results laid out in a series of strategic
meetings, arriving at a mutually acceptable and openly acknowledged
path. The absence of this had been a key stumbling block to
dealing with the future.
- Lots of good work but no
consistent or coherent message to the outside world made it
hard for Sonix to communicate value to potential investors.
Lighthouse developed, in layman's terms, a clear and compelling
story that allowed others to see the value the partners had
each department to provide a sustainable path and plan. Lighthouse
then set about, with the help of the company's own managers,
to define how the company did what it did so that it could be
improved on, expanded, and ultimately transferred to other managers.
- and initiate the potential
for succession. As a final internal step, Lighthouse helped
define the gaps in management that needed to be filled in order
to allow the company profile and value to develop distinction
from the personalities of the four founders. A recruiting plan
was developed to support this growth plan.
the company began to spread the word of its newly minted story
and prepared to back it up with new processes in order to attract
new customers, partners and ultimately acquirers.
The estimated value of the company went up 50% after these actions
by Lighthouse and the Sonix team. The company quickly received
interest form numerous outside purchasers and was ultimately sold
to Danaher Corporation. Each partner was also able to achieve
the option of complete exit from the business in addition to financial
exit and each made their desired transition to roles inside or
outside the company.
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