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The Stages of Value Maturity - Stage I: Identify

The Stages of Value Maturity - Stage I: Identify

September 19, 2022


To increase value and minimize risks in your business, you should follow the 5 Stages of Value Maturity.

Stage I: Identify

Roughly 80-90% of a business owner's net worth is locked in their business. In order to maximize your value, you must set up a system to determine the value hidden in your business. According to Christopher Snider's book, Walking to Destiny, "the ability to unlock that value at some point in the future will make a significant difference to your lifestyle and, at exit, will fund your next act." It is difficult to plan out your next act without having a professional business valuation.

Introducing the Enterprise Value Assessment

The first stage for any privately held company to begin value acceleration is “Identify.” This critically important stage begins the process of Value Acceleration and allows an owner and advisors to understand a company’s benchmarks, range of value, profit gap, and value gap. From a personal perspective, it allows advisors to understand how prepared the owner is personally and financially while understanding the business owner’s wealth gap. This Identify stage of The Five Stages of Value Maturity should be performed annually, setting the company and the owner for success each year. This first stage puts an owner on the pathway to a higher valuation and makes them more personally prepared for exit.

To have a full understanding of the business, personal, and financial aspects, the business owner must conduct an Enterprise Value Assessment (EVA). Formally, the EVA is a business valuation correlated to a personal, financial, and business attractiveness and readiness assessment to determine where the company lands within the range of value.

This EVA will consider the tangible and intangible elements of the company as well as the personal elements of the owner themselves. It will highlight areas of risk, show what improvements must be made, and most importantly, helps ensure the business owner’s goals are being met. Hence why this should be conducted annually, not just once at the beginning of the process. The EVA will allow the business owner to understand the company’s current value and potential value. Provide a full assessment of the four intangible capitals to understand the more immediate Protect Value Stage and the longer term more strategic value actions that must be conducted in Stage Three, Build Value.

The EVA is more than a showcase of the company’s current value and potential value. It can be utilized in daily operations to make significant improvements to people, revenue, efficiencies, cost reductions, and even culture.

What Risks are Lurking in Your Business?

Before a business owner can begin to protect and build value in their company, they must understand what risks are lurking in their business and any personal risks associated with it. By understanding these risks, they can prioritize what gets worked on each year and in each 90-day sprint.

Before moving out of the Identify Stage, the business owner must prioritize actions to mitigate risks that have come forth by conducting the Enterprise Value Assessment. These risks will be placed into two categories, business and personal, and then prioritized accordingly as you move into Stages Two and Three. In order to prioritize these risks, we must understand the business owner’s wealth, value, and profit gaps and their overall goals and objectives.

Needless to say, the set of risks and associated mitigation actions and priorities will vary per client. With all clients, we seek first to understand their unique profile and goals and then strive to customize our approach to help them build value over time.”

Planning For an Eventual Exit

Even if a business owner is not planning on exiting their business anytime soon, a business valuation to identify key risks in their company is still a crucial step to take.

Without first identifying your baseline business value, you have no understanding of what metrics need improving, the strength of your intangible capital, or if your business is as valuable as you might think it is. In this stage of the Five Stages of Value Maturity, owners are provided with the knowledge to enact changes that will impact both short-term operations and protect long-term business value.


  1. Annually score and understand the value of the intangible capitals: Human, Structural, Social, and Customer
  2. Annually value your business and Identify the Range of Value
  3. Understand your Profit Gap, Wealth Gap, and Value Gap
  4. Understand how your company compares to companies in your industry
  5. Understand your company’s Real Number vs. Tax Number
  6. Annually score and understand how personally prepared you are for a transition

Over the next few weeks, we'll detail the Five Stages of Value Maturity from The Exit Planning Institute's Understanding Your Business Value.

Securities and investment advisory services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. Integrity Benefit Partners is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC, or its affiliated companies. 200 Clarendon Street, 19th & 25th Floors. Boston, MA 02116. 617-585-4500. CRN202507-2694019.