• Accounting Systems
  • Cash Flow Processes
  • Advisor Coordination
  • Budgeting & Forecasting
  • Production & Operations
  • Banking & Capital
  • Strategic Financial Planning
  • Risk Assessments
  • Revenue
  • Operating Rhythm
  • Succession or Exit Planning
  • Readiness & Attractiveness
  • Price/Multiple
Summit Insights
Mar, 24

Watershed Distillery: Toast to a Successful Exit with FocusCFO


Building Value for an Award-Winning Craft Distillery

For many entrepreneurs, the ultimate goal is a successful exit. For Watershed Distillery, an award-winning craft distillery based in Columbus, Ohio, that dream became reality in 2023. This wasn't a stroke of luck, but the culmination of years of strategic planning and meticulous financial preparation with the support of FocusCFO's embedded Fractional CFO program.

Watch the video below to hear more from Greg Lehman and Jim Zins about their experience working together:

A Vision for the Future

Greg Lehman, Founder and CEO of Watershed Distillery, had a clear vision: to sell the business by 2030. With this goal in mind, he engaged FocusCFO in 2017, six years ahead of the targeted exit. Jim Zins, Watershed's Fractional CFO, became an integral part of the leadership team, guiding them through transformative changes that built value and positioned the company for success.

Transformation Through Collaboration

"We went from a couple guys that were really just trying to make the business work, to a mature business that had its arms around our numbers, a strong understanding of what we had done, and a nice financial roadmap of where we were headed," says Greg Lehman, reflecting on the journey with FocusCFO.

Jim Zins played a crucial role in this transformation. He worked alongside the Watershed team to:

  • Implement strategic financial practices. "FocusCFO provides a high-level financial mind," this included improving budgeting, forecasting, and financial reporting, providing the leadership team with clear and actionable insights.
  • Drive operational efficiencies: By streamlining processes and optimizing cash flow, while taking into account the unique challenge faced by a distillery in investing capital in bourbon for the future.
  • Prepare for the future: With a clear understanding of the business's value drivers, Watershed was able to make strategic decisions that enhanced its attractiveness to potential buyers.
  • Learn more about the work that FocusCFO did with Watershed Distillery.

The Moment of Truth: An Unexpected Offer

When a multinational food and beverage group approached Watershed in 2023, the company was ready. Greg Lehman recalls, "I knew that Jim had been working all along to ensure the business was both ready and attractive. We were ready for the opportunity when it came." Learn how to navigate unexpected offers for your business here.

A Seamless Exit

Jim Zins' expertise proved invaluable during the due diligence and negotiation process. He helped create the financial presentation for the buyer, assisted the advisory team, and ensured all financial information was readily available. As Greg Lehman puts it, "When the buyers approached us, Jim had all our ducks in a row on the financial side. That was so valuable to the buyer. I know I didn't have the [financial] expertise, but with Jim beside me, I looked really smart."

Watershed's story is a testament to the power of strategic financial planning and the value of an embedded Fractional CFO. By partnering with FocusCFO early on, they were able to navigate the complex world of mergers and acquisitions with confidence, securing a successful exit and achieving their entrepreneurial dream.

Ready to start building value in your business?

Contact FocusCFO today and learn how our Fractional CFO program can help you achieve your financial goals.