“The aim is to get a company into good enough shape to be sold, and to follow-up to ensure that it will stay that way.”

Business Joensuu and Pohjois-Karjalan Yrittäjät [North Karelian Entrepreneurs] have created a new kind of learning and development environment for companies planning to change ownership in North Karelia. Moreover, the Value Workshop has become a practical and inclusive tool for entrepreneurs who want to consistently strengthen their company's competitiveness. The Value Workshop and the Value Analysis application are available to all business development organisations in the region.

Value Workshops consist of half-day meetings. One to two people from up to five companies take part in each workshop at a time. The workshops meet up every two weeks. During the four meetings, the entrepreneurs in the group will review the cornerstones of the company’s history, current situation and operations. Attention will be paid to different aspects ranging from facilities and production to investments, and from personnel to the customer base.

– Group interaction and discussions are a particularly important element of the process. Interaction in the workshops has been surprisingly open time after time, and the sense of trust is palpable. Entrepreneurs spar with each other, says Markku Paloniitty from Demaic Oy, who works as an instructor in the value workshops.

As the work progresses, the vision of both the entrepreneur and the company becomes clearer.

– The company’s future is built on this vision, and this is where the determination of value begins. The essential thing is to structure the business plans and to verbalise the objectives. In the Value Workshop, a book of values is created for every company. It is an extremely useful document for any of the company’s stakeholders: personnel, management, sponsors, investors, buyers, Paloniitty explains.

The need for sparring assistance is increasing

North Karelia is one of the regions in Finland where changes of ownership take place more frequently than in other parts of the country. This phenomenon is caused by the fact that entrepreneurs in the region tend to be older than average. Business Joensuu and Pohjois-Karjalan Yrittäjät combined their expertise and resources to ensure a better matching of ownership change services and their demand. They set off with the Jatkis project funded by the ESF.

– Services needed for the change of ownership had largely been on the shoulders of regional development companies, with relatively modest resources compared to the needs. Jatkis brought extra resources and above all new strength to the collaboration among the actors, says Business Specialist Jouko Piirainen from Business Joensuu.

The Value Workshop and Value Analysis also include a calculation application at a piloting stage.

– With the help of numbers, the business activities of a company can be dissected right down to the core. All in all, the tools and procedures that have now been created have increased entrepreneurs’ understanding of their company’s value. The value of a company is no longer a mystery, says Jan Kontiainen, Project Manager of the Jatkis project.

Get started in time!

– It is extremely important to analyse your own business activities. Through this process, you can learn the development targets of your company and how the company’s value is affected by different matters and measures. The goal is to get the company into good enough shape to be sold, and to follow up to ensure that it will stay that way, Piirainen says.

In a similar manner, Paloniitty stresses the importance of foresight. During his long career in consultancy, he has witnessed many sad cases when an entrepreneur has planned to secure their retirement days by selling a business, and the trade has become worthless.

– It is wise to start thinking about the value of your company in good time, and to be smart about things while there is still time. In order to participate in the Value Workshop, an entrepreneur does not need to be in the process of selling anything yet. Instead, it is advisable to keep your company in good enough shape to be sold every day.

More information:

Business Joensuu
Jouko Piirainen
Development Expert
+358 400 264 434

Pohjois-Karjalan Yrittäjät, Jatkis-hanke
Jan Kontiainen
Project Manager
+358 40 555 4348