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Business Diagnostics Online
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Course Description

5.25 CE credits for General, Adjuster, Accident & Sickness, and Life licenses
approximately 6 hours, $245.00 (prices may change without notice: consult the VuBiz website)

Company owners may face significant challenges when attempting to secure financing for business expansion. They encounter continuous pressure to respond to a diverse set of stakeholders including employees, shareholders, clients, suppliers, bankers, and family.

Learn how business owners and their advisers complete an objective assessment of company operations. Using diverse methods, develop a clear picture of a company’s current situation, its potential areas of growth, and the means for such expansion.

The culminating Enterprise Review Summary will increase the likelihood of successfully securing financing for expansion.

7 Required Modules (each should take under 1 hour)

Funding for Business Expansion
  • Analyze the main funding sources (internal cash generation, debt financing, and external equity sources) for business expansion.
  • Examine the case of Marston Control Devices, Inc., to explore the key issues relating to a typical company’s funding requirements, financial challenges for business expansion, and the need for objective process.
External Business Environments
Some external factors affecting business finance and marketing cannot be controlled but can be identified and, to some extent, managed.
  • Assess the prevailing External Business Environment by conducting an environmental PEST analysis (determining opportunities and threats within Political/Legal, Economic, Socio-Cultural, and Technological areas) of an industry.
  • Complete a preliminary industry evaluation by answering three key questions relating to the industry description, stages in the business life cycle, and the impact of driving forces.
  • Assess the industry’s competitive conditions using Porter’s Five Forces methodology.
Internal Business Environment: Part 1
Four key elements affect the Internal Business Environment: Finance, Marketing, Human Resources, and Operations.
  • Focusing on Finance and Marketing, critically assess an individual company’s performance in order to evaluate its relative financial and marketing.
  • Review cash management practices and key financial performance indicators.
  • Examine elements of marketing including sales along with other important strategies and measures.
  • Finally, determine primary areas for financial and marketing improvement.
Internal Business Environment: Part 2
Four key elements affect the Internal Business Environment: Finance, Marketing, Human Resources, and Operations.

  • Focusing on Human Resources and Operations, critically assess an individual company’s performance in order to evaluate its relative human-resource and operations health.
  • Examine the human-resource function, and recap the key aspects of business leadership.
  • Review the activities needed to create the company’s products and services.
  • Examine the close connections between operations and the other three functional areas (finance, marketing, and human resources).
  • Finally, determine primary areas for human resource and operations improvement.
Strategic Direction
Strategic direction optimizes business opportunities within a company’s External Business Environment. Company owners rarely have time or inclination to assess their company’s strategic direction. Few company owners would be able to describe their present course, and fewer still could detail potential alternative strategic directions. Failure to assess strategic direction properly often results in failure to obtain the required level of funding from external lenders or investors.

  • To overcome this problem, examine strategies to assess the present strategic direction of a business, look at alternatives, and select the most appropriate course of action.
  • Review a company’s present strategic course and consider alternative strategies.
  • Select the most appropriate strategic direction by summarizing external opportunities and threats and identifying internal resource strengths and gaps.
  • Evaluate the impact on significant stakeholders.
  • Assess the required resources to travel the strategic pathway, and develop implementation plans.
Risk Assessment
Banks and investors are risk averse, so funding applications can be challenging.

  • Develop risk assessment skill by examining a company through the lens of a commercial banker.
  • Gain familiarity with a five-step process that mirrors the assessment process undertaken by a banking team when structuring the most appropriate financing deal.
  • Assess and mitigate any potential risks that could impact company operations.
Enterprise Review Summary
An Enterprise Review Summary (ERS) is a condensed business plan that accompanies funding applications to banks and potential investors. The ERS draws on each step of continuous improvement in the Business Diagnostics cycle: funding alternatives, external and internal business environments, strategic direction, and risk assessment and mitigation. Thus the ERS aims to establish business credibility through an accurate, convincing, and insightful report.

  • Prepare an ERS for submission to a funding organization.
  • In the process, determine the most realistic funding amount.
  • Understand the best allocation of funding proceeds.
  • Identify the most appropriate funding source.
  • Summarize key issues arising from a review of the external and internal business environments.
  • Select the most appropriate strategic direction.
  • Finally, assess the risks facing a company and potential mitigating measures.

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