Congratulations on completing another year in business! For most entrepreneurs, their business is their most valuable asset. Unfortunately, most business owners do not know what their business is worth and what they should be focused on if they want it to be worth more.
If you are curious about what your business is currently worth and what areas can most increase that value of your business going forward, we invite you to complete this survey that will provide you with a complimentary report showing you how the market would value your business today.
Why are we offering this for free you may ask. Simple, we are entrepreneur enthusiast dedicated to helping business owners get the most from their business. We enjoy being a valued resource for business owners. Our goal is to earn your business one day as a trusted advisor to help you make your business work better for you and/or as a business broker when you are ready to cash out of this venture so you can step into the next chapter with the resources needed to continue pursuing what matters to you.
When considering the value of your company, there are basic value drivers. While it is difficult to place a specific value on them, one can take a look and make a “ballpark” judgment on each. How does your company look?
|High & Steady
|Large & Growing
|Good & Steady
|Wide & Growing
|None in Years
The possible value drivers are almost endless, but a close look at the ones above should give you some idea of where your business stands. Don’t just compare against businesses in general, but specifically consider the competition.
As part of your overall exit strategy, what can you do to improve your company?
© Copyright 2015 Business Brokerage Press, Inc.
Business valuations are almost always difficult and often complex. A valuation is also frequently subject to the judgment of the person conducting it. In addition, the person conducting the valuation must assume that the information furnished to him or her is accurate.
Here are some issues that must be considered when arriving at a value for the business:
Product Diversity – Firms with just a single product or service are subject to a much greater risk than multiproduct firms.
Customer Concentration – Many small companies have just one or two major customers or clients; losing one would be a major issue.
Intangible Assets – Patents, trademarks and copyrights can be important assets, but are very difficult to value.
Critical Supply Sources – If a firm uses just a single supplier to obtain a low-cost competitive edge, that competitive edge is more subject to change; or if the supplier is in a foreign country, the supply is more at risk for delivery interruption.
ESOP Ownership – A company owned by employees, either completely or partially, requires a vote by the employees. This can restrict marketability and, therefore, the value.
Company/Industry Life Cycle – A retail/repair typewriter business is an obvious example, but many consumer product firms fall into this category.
Other issues that can impact the value of a company would include inventory that is dated or not saleable, reliance on short contracts, work-in-progress, and any third-party or franchise approvals necessary to sell the company.
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Consider two different companies in virtually the same industry. Both companies have an EBITDA of $6 million – but, they have very different valuations. One is valued at five times EBITDA, pricing it at $30 million. The other is valued at seven times EBITDA, making it $42 million. What’s the difference?
One can look at the usual checklist for the answer, such as:
- The Market
- Revenue Size
- Regional/Global Distribution
- Capital Equipment Requirements
- Intangibles (brand/patents/etc.)
- Growth Rate
There is the key, at the very end of the checklist – the growth rate. This value driver is a major consideration when buyers are considering value. For example, the seven times EBITDA company has a growth rate of 50 percent, while the five times EBITDA company has a growth rate of only 12 percent. In order to arrive at the real growth story, some important questions need to be answered. For example:
- Are the company’s projections believable?
- Where is the growth coming from?
- What services/products are creating the growth?
- Where are the customers coming from to support the projected growth – and why?
- Are there long-term contracts in place?
- How reliable are the contracts/orders?
The difference in value usually lies somewhere in the company’s growth rate!
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Two businesses for sale could report the same numeric value for “earnings” and yet be far from equal. Three factors of earnings are listed below that tell more about the earnings than just the number.
1. Quality of earnings
Quality of earnings measures whether the earnings are padded with a lot of “add backs” or one-time events, such as a sale of real estate, resulting in an earnings figure which does not accurately reflect the true earning power of the company’s operations. It is not unusual for companies to have “some” non-recurring expenses every year, whether for a new roof on the plant, a hefty lawsuit, a write-down of inventory, etc. Beware of the business appraiser that restructures the earnings without “any” allowances for extraordinary items.
2. Sustainability of earnings after the acquisition
The key question a buyer often considers is whether he or she is acquiring a company at the apex of its business cycle or if the earnings will continue to grow at the previous rate.
3. Verification of information
The concern for the buyer is whether the information is accurate, timely, and relatively unbiased. Has the company allowed for possible product returns or allowed for uncollectable receivables? Is the seller above-board, or are there skeletons in the closet?