Valuation: What is Your Company Worth to an Interested Buyer?

by | Oct 20, 2020 | 0 comments

Calculating the worth of a small business can be accomplished in several ways. These include valuing based on its financial strength, sales/earnings projections, or comparison to similar businesses. Let’s take a look…

Asset-based Valuation

This calculation determines net worth (assets less liabilities). Then the net worth is adjusted for goodwill and other intangibles. This is considered a good valuation to set a price floor.

Cash Flow Valuation

This valuation takes a period of time during which there is a positive and recurring cash flow. From this cash flow a capitalization rate or the business’s expected rate-of-return is calculated.  This is the rate of return a buyer would expect to earn on the purchase price of the company.

For small businesses this rate is usually in the 20-25% range. Which means that the purchaser would expect to get back her entire investment in 4-5 years.

Discounted Cash Flow Valuation

This valuation calculation uses the business’s projected future cash flow and time value of money to determine the current value. While the calculation can be complex there are online valuation calculators that will assist.

Market-based Valuation

With this method the business’s current value is determined by comparing the recent sale prices of similar businesses. Finding relevant comparisons can be difficult but look at several ‘similar’ businesses. Online databases are available to find comps which can then be adjusted.

Seller’s Earnings Valuation

This calculation is determined on how much money (cash) it takes to run the business excluding owner’s salary, benefits, and other non-essential expenses.

Reasons to Evaluate a Small Business

  • Want to sell the business
  • Trying to attract investors
  • Buying out other owners/partners
  • Offering employees equity
  •  Personal event, such as: death, marriage, divorce
  • Applying for a loan or line of credit
  • Analyzing the business

Valuation Preparation

You can perform an evaluation on your own or by hiring a professional business appraiser or business expert (banker, venture investor, CPA). Either way, here’s what you are going to need:

Financial Documents

At a minimum you will need three to five years of tax returns and financial statements. Including balance sheets, profit and loss statements, cash flow statements.

Other Essential Documents

Copies of business licenses, permits, and deeds. Ongoing contracts, insurance policies, vendors and dealership information, client list, any loan information and credit reports.

Listing of Intangibles

Copyrights, patents, and goodwill or brand equity worth. Email lists, membership rosters, domain names, social profiles, unique processes and systems.

SWOT Analysis

Prepare a SWOT analysis to show the business’s strengths and weaknesses.

Regular Evaluation

It is a good idea to value your business on a regular basis. This aids in tracking progress over time and uncovering growth opportunities. Calculating the worth of a small business is common and varied depending upon the reason for the valuation.

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By Jim Lavorato

Jim Lavorato is the founder of 4M Performance which is designed to assist businesses to survive and thrive in these uncertain times. Jim launched an entertainment-related company in 1988. He was at the forefront in cinema technology and helped spearhead the movie industry's transition to digital presentation and distribution. He also co-founded the Arboreal Group, an environmental consultancy. He has published articles on the motion picture and media industries and is a contributing editor for ScreenTrade magazine and writes a blog "Cinema Mucho Gusto". He is a certified SCORE Mentor in the SCORE Greater Phoenix Chapter and lives in Scottsdale, AZ. Learn more about Jim in his "About" page.

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