Business Valuation Blog | Understanding Buying / Selling a Company

Business Valuation Specialists LLC

Recent Posts

What goes on behind the scenes at business valuation companies?

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Oct 17, 2018 11:40:00 AM

Having a company appraisal performed can seem like a simple task, but it's actually much more complex than it first appears. Though you may see the beginning and end result, you're probably not aware of the many tasks that take place in the middle to ensure that you're going to get the most accurate, reliable business appraisal that you can possibly expect. But what exactly takes place behind the scenes and how does it impact the final valuation report that you receive from your appraiser? Here's a quick look at the process from beginning to end to help get you started.

What goes on behind the scenes at business valuation companies?

  • Intake: However you get to the particular business appraisal firm that you're now speaking to, it's of vital importance that you're routed to the correct appraisal specialist. You may be asked several questions about your company's business, its size and the reason you're getting the appraisal performed. This all happens to ensure that you're sent to the appraiser with the best experience and track record for your specific needs. A quality business valuation firm will have experience in the trenches, not just determining value by the book.
  • Initial Information Gathering: Though you'll have answered some questions, there are probably many more waiting to be asked. Why? The type of appraisal you receive is, in some cases, dictated by law. This is to ensure that in some high-stress situations, everyone is treated fairly. The appraiser will also ask about your competitors, your position in the market as you see it and the overall market conditions to get an idea of how you view these factors that can impact your company's value. A solid look at your finances will probably take place at this time.
  • Research: Next, the appraiser goes into independent research mode. They take the time to look at your industry, the market, your company's specific strengths and weaknesses, its reputation in the community and industry, how it fares against competitors in a completely sterile setting and how it's doing in the market as a whole. This may also include a site visit where the appraiser takes a good, solid look around your entire business, finding areas where it's performing well compared to the competition and areas where it may need improvement.
  • Report Preparation: The valuation specialist will now take a significant amount of time to calculate the company valuation and prepare a well-researched appraisal report that follows standardized methodologies to develop a final value for your company, This will include a wide range of information to ensure its accuracy. At this time, the appraiser may have another valuation specialist take a look at the report to ensure accuracy and will work with you on any concerns you have about inaccurate values included in the report.

When you have a solid grasp of not only what happens during a business appraisal but also what happens behind the scenes at business valuation companies, you walk away with a much more solid grasp of how those companies work and what to expect from the process. This makes it much easier for you to appreciate the work that goes on to provide you with a solid valuation report on your business and the level of accuracy and integrity that you should come to expect.

Tags: Business Valuation

How to Prepare for an Acquisition With a Business Appraisal

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Oct 10, 2018 6:34:00 PM

Valuation is essential in an acquisition, no matter which side of the deal you find yourself on. Learn how to prepare for an acquisition and the role of a business appraisal in determining company valuation. 

Organize Your Business Documents 

The acquisition process is lengthy, but it will go smoother if your financials, taxes, and other business documents are in order. Take care of any outstanding issues before you put your company up for sale, pay taxes, and sort through all documentation that tells your company's story. This will make you look more attractive to potential buyers and streamline the acquisition process. Getting organized also helps you prepare for an appraisal, which will determine the valuation of your company. 

Find Trusted Partners

You can't go through an acquisition alone, so before you seek buyers, find trusted partners to help you through the process. Look for an attorney, a certified appraiser, a tax adviser, and an investment banker or other financial professional. These partners can help you manage your expectations going into the acquisition and position your business for a successful sale. 

Do Your Market Research 

While your trusted partners can help you understand the market, many entrepreneurs like to do their own research to best understand the strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats around the acquisition.

Review recent business deals in your industry to track trends. Look for companies in your industry that might be acquiring smaller players, then consider which ones are a good match for you. Ask yourself questions like "Which companies share my values?" or "Who understands my competitive advantages?" 

This helps you understand the acquisition landscape, communicate your value in meetings, and have a position of power in the negotiation. 

Get a Business Appraisal 

You may not think of an appraisal when considering how to prepare for an acquisition, but it is a necessary step. An appraisal calculates your company's worth within the market -- say, compared to similar businesses in your industry and market. 

As an entrepreneur, you are hardly objective in calculating your company's value. You are emotionally attached. Third-party certification of your business value helps you screen offers, so you know when a potential buyer is underbidding and when they are making a fair offer for the company you worked hard to build. 

Review the appraisal carefully and ask questions about the valuation. When you understand why your company was valued at a certain price and what factors affect its value, you will be a stronger negotiator.

Get Stakeholders on Board

While you may be ready to sell, not all stakeholders will understand the decision. The process will run smoother if you communicate clearly to management, board members, and other stakeholders. Your personnel, clients, and relationships are part of your value as a business, as any good appraiser will note. By retaining these partnerships going into the sale, you can keep your company valuation high and avoid infighting that could sabotage the deal at the last minute. 

The research, business appraisal, and opinion of professional advisers will help you explain your decision making and get key stakeholders on board before you pursue an acquisition. This is critical to the success of the deal, because your business looks better when everyone is on board than when there is a lack of clarity or transparency. 

By taking these steps before the acquisition, you can understand the position of your company, navigate every step of the acquisition phase with confidence, and come through the process with ease. 

Tags: how to prepare for an acquisition

Partnership Dissolution: Using a Business Valuation to Buyout a Partner

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Oct 3, 2018 9:56:00 AM

You've worked hard in a partnership for a number of years or even decades to build your business, but one way or another, it's time to dissolve the partnership. Whether it's a health issue, loss of passion for the industry or any number of other reasons, dissolving a partnership is tough enough without trying to figure out how the value of the business needs to be split. That's one of the many reasons why it's a great reason for using a business valuation to buyout a partner. It allows you to use the valuation report as the basis for the buyout using a report that is created by an impartial third party. Here's how the process works and how to make it work.

Partnership Dissolution: Using a Business Valuation to Buyout a Partner

Partnership dissolution can be painful on both sides of the situation. The partner who is leaving may have a certain amount of guilt, but also a certain feeling of entitlement after having spent years building up the business. The partner or partners who are staying may feel anger over the partner who is leaving, feeling abandoned in the business and feeling entitled to hang onto a larger share of the company. Many businesses, and friendships, are split apart over the issues that may arise during a partnership dissolution.

But who is in the right in this situation? Partnerships should usually be started with a partnership agreement, but this is unfortunately not always the case. When the partnership is then dissolved later on, there is no agreement as to what should happen to the business property and assets at that time. The partner who is leaving may feel that they're leaving a complete company behind, and therefore deserve the share of the retirement that they won't otherwise achieve when they leave. The partner left behind may feel that they are having additional burdens placed upon them if they want to keep the company running, robbing the business of vital assets and equity and, in turn, their retirement funds. Which party is in the right?

Because of the hard feelings that can come out of situations such as this, many courts demand that the fair market value be determined by a certified business valuation specialist. A certified specialist is an independent third party who has no stake in either side of the partnership, ensuring that their valuation will be impartial and fair to both sides. The methodologies they use have been tested to hold up well in court, so the report they provide will deliver a fair and equitable value to each partner. For this reason, having a professional business appraisal performed at the dissolution of the partnership gives you a great point to start negotiations.

Though a partnership dissolution is a difficult, stressful time, using a business valuation to buyout a partner helps reduce that stress while providing you with a solid basis for determining the overall value of your business. Many businesses use business appraisals created by a certified business valuation specialist to ensure that the calculations and report that is created are completely impartial to either side of the dissolution. This makes it much easier for both sides to agree, as the value is determined by an independent third party.

Tags: using a business valuation to buyout a partner

What's involved when you're preparing for a business sale?

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Sep 26, 2018 12:51:00 PM

It doesn't matter whether you're getting ready to sell the business you've put your blood, sweat and tears into for decades or are simply ready to move on to your next big entrepreneurial adventure. When you're preparing for a business sale, a lot of business owners tend to skip right to the chase, simply listing the business for what it's current value is. But what if you could start by learning how to sell your business the right way, the way that would maximize your profit on the sale to get the best return on your investment during the final few months or years of operation? Here's a quick look on how to do it right.

What's involved when you're preparing for a business sale?

Unfortunately, when many businesses decide to close their doors, it happens after many years of dedicated ownership and hard work. At the point that the decision is made, many business owners just want to get done with the process. This is one of the worst approaches to take, as it means you lose some solid potential profit. Why? Consider how you've started running and building your business.

Did you build your company based on a lot of emotional decisions or did you spend some solid time studying the figures, looking at what made sense and going with what would work? Why would it make any more sense to shift from that approach now that it's time to sell your company? By taking the time to go through the process logically and thoughtfully, you can benefit from an increased sale price and better overall profits.

One of the best ways to go through this process is by starting out with a preliminary business appraisal. When you have a business valuation performed, the appraiser takes a solid look at your company's finances, assets, liabilities and overall condition. The appraiser will provide you with that information through a written report, which provides you with valuable insights into your company's current condition. But how does that impact your company's value?

Imagine that your business has a great reputation for innovation, but has a high level of bad debts in its accounts receivable or high overhead costs. When that shows up in your valuation report, you have the option to change those issues. By keeping your high points where they are or making them better while improving the rough patches in your company, you can quickly improve your company's overall value, allowing you to greatly benefit from the change at the time of sale.

You can then use the original valuation report and have a second report run after you've made changes, which helps you track how much the value of your company has improved. This, in turn, allows you to decide whether you want to make additional improvements or whether it's time to make the sale from an educated standpoint. 

By knowing what to do to get the most from your business, you can make a huge difference when you're preparing for a business sale. Take the tactics used by successful entrepreneurs everywhere whose companies sell for more by having a business appraisal performed. Make sure to check whether your business valuation specialist has gone through a certification process, as this ensures that they have an excellent mix of education, knowledge and experience to put to use for your business sale.

Tags: preparing for a business sale

Why are your reasons for a business valuation important?

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Sep 19, 2018 4:21:00 PM

When you run a business, there are any number of reasons why you may want to figure out the value of that enterprise. Unfortunately, the different reasons for a business valuation mean there are a number of different ways to determine that value. Let's take a good look at exactly what kind of situations are used for a business valuation and why they cause different values.

Why are your reasons for a business valuation important?

  • Business sale. This is one of the primary reasons a business valuation is performed. The sale of a business causes almost all business owners to wonder what their business is worth and whether they're asking the right price for it. Though this process is sometimes handled by a realtor, that doesn't give you the information you need to make improvements prior to a sale, increasing your business' value and improving your negotiating position.
  • Passing on ownership. Though this isn't done as often as valuations for the sale of a business, it probably should be. You've put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into your company, growing its reputation and its value over the years. Taking the time to get a valuation performed helps ensure you'll be in that much of a better position to enjoy your golden years.
  • Partnership dissolution. This can involve either a platonic partnership or a marriage. The side that is staying in the company wants to pay the other party the lowest possible price while the other party wants everything they can get out of it. That's one of the reasons why this type of valuation must be a fair market value calculation.
  • Settling an estate. This can be a tough situation, especially when there are multiple heirs to the business, some of whom want the business sold quickly and others who want to wait for the right price. The approach used by the appraiser typically depends on the overall views of all the heirs, allowing for a reasonable amount of time to find the right buyer.
  • Merger or acquisition. When a business is absorbed into another one, it's usually a weaker business being absorbed by a stronger one. That's not always the case, however. If business professionals feel they can go it better together than alone, if one has a reputation for innovation or any number of other reasons, a valuation specialist should be used.
  • Going public. How much do you want to start those initial shares out at anyway? There are a number of valuation techniques that can be used to compare your currently private company to a public one, allowing you to determine your company's value and price those shares at a rate that is fair to your own investment.
  • Liquidation. Though no business owner wants to consider this specific issue, it's a matter of fact for some businesses. Wouldn't you rather get a better idea of what your assets are worth before they hit the auctioneer's block?

By understanding the reasons for a business valuation, you have a better grasp of why these reasons can shift the value of your business one way or the other. When you need to have a business valuation performed, for whatever reason, you'll want to make sure that you're working with a certified business valuation specialist. The training, experience and expertise they have means you'll get a valuation report that reflects your business' specific circumstances.

Tags: reasons for a business valuation

How do you determine the value of a business over its competitors?

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Sep 12, 2018 9:20:00 AM

Whether you are selling an established business or looking to raise money for a startup, it's important to be able to demonstrate the value of your company vis a vis the competition. This is something many business appraisals fail to take into account, yet it fundamental when you think about it: How can an investor decide whether a company is attractive without understanding where it fits in the market? Find out how to get the valuation of a business over its competitors. 

Market-based approaches to business valuations see where a company fits in the market. For publicly traded companies, the Guideline Public Company Method makes sense. This form of business appraisal looks at prices that investors paid for businesses like yours, for instance how much similar businesses raised in Series A rounds. 

If the business is not publicly traded, the Guideline Company Transactions Method may be used. In this method, a business appraiser estimates the value of companies similar to your business. For example, an appraiser taking the value of a dental clinic may look for dental practices in the same city. When comparing your company to others, timeliness is key. Markets are always changing, so a sale that is a few years old may not speak to the value of your business at present. 

Tangible data is only one part of the business valuation equation. Any skilled appraiser understands that your company's personnel, knowledge base, and community reputation affect your market value. If you've been a family-owned business for decades and treat your clients as if they are family, this value cannot transfer with the business name and inventory. The connection is too personal. If your sales team is the best in the business and they're remaining with the company, on the other hand, the business value won't take as much of a hit. A skilled appraiser will ask the right questions to gauge the intangible essentials that make your business uniquely valuable and provide a thorough appraisal that communicates your value to investors or potential buyers. 

When comparing your company to others like it, an appraiser will look at your position from a multitude of angles. There may be some areas where your company is dominating the competition, but there may be areas where your company is lagging behind. By looking at it objectively, the appraisal will deliver an accurate valuation of your position in the industry. 

If you're thinking of selling the business down the road, it can be helpful to get a business appraisal in advance, so you can see where you fall in the marketplace. Knowing what you are worth compared with your competition, you can make informed decisions over business improvements with the goal of boosting your position in the marketplace when you're ready to sell, so you can maximize that return on investment.  

No matter which method your appraiser decides to use to value your company vis a vis its competitors, they should be able to talk you through the appraisal in clear language and explain how they arrived at the business valuation listed on the appraisal. 

You've only got one chance to impress investors with your offering, and a solid business valuation is one part of this package. Now that you understand how the local market affects your business value, you can select an appraiser who demonstrate familiarity with your industry, your market, and the business appraisal process. 

Tags: how do you determine the value of a business

Using a Business Valuation to Decide How to Price a Business for Sale

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Sep 5, 2018 1:26:41 PM

When you're considering selling your business, do you know yet how to price a business for sale? If not, you're not alone. Most business owners don't have a solid idea of where their business stands in terms of its overall value or how to improve that value prior to the sale. Fortunately, you don't need to learn the entire process, you just need to have a business valuation performed and learn how to use the information contained in that report to improve your overall business value prior to going ahead with a sale.

Using a Business Valuation to Decide How to Price a Business for Sale

If you're considering selling your business, you have a few different ways to try to figure out the value. You could look at similar businesses in your area that have sold recently and see if you can get a similar amount for your business. You could ask a real estate agent to look at your business and let you know what you think it could sell for. You could look at your books and determine what your assets and equity are worth. 

The problem with those approaches is that they don't give you an accurate picture of what your business is actually worth. The restaurant down the street may have a better location or worse reputation that means that you're asking too much or too little for your own place. The real estate agent may price your business too high to ensure a good commission or too low because they need some fast cash. Your books may not properly reflect your business' actual value if the market is bearish or bullish. These versions of valuation will give you a value, but it's not necessarily the best value.

Additionally, these types of valuation won't provide you with ways to improve your business prior to selling, giving you the opportunity to get everything you can out of the sale of your business. The only way to ensure this is through a business valuation. But what exactly happens when you have a business valuation performed? 

The business appraiser looks at every aspect of your business, your market and your industry. They will take into account any fluctuations in the market, calculating exactly the value of your business. Does your business have a reputation for leadership and innovation in your industry? That can have a big impact on your company's bottom line. They'll also look at the finances and operation of your business, helping you find areas where your business can be improved. If there are ways you can cut your overhead, reduce waste or improve profits, a business valuation specialist can help you find it.

By taking the time to have a business valuation performed, you can learn how to price a business for sale at a fair asking price. This knowledge, in turn, allows you to make changes that allow you to get everything you can out of your company when you choose to sell it. Make certain that you work with a certified business appraiser, as they are able to act as an independent third party, providing you with an accurate business value that is completely without bias, making it a strong negotiating tool when you're ready to sell.

Tags: how to price a business for sale

Take advantage of digitization by valuing a high-tech firm

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Aug 1, 2018 3:06:00 PM

Digitization. It's a hot buzzword everyone in the business world is talking about, with implications on every industry and sector. But did you know that valuing a high-tech firm can help you determine whether it would be a good investment with the digitization trend? Before you invest in a business for its potential with digitization trends, it's important to learn its value and all the aspects that determine that value. Here's a quick look at how you can use a valuation to determine where your new business would fall in terms of digitization.

Take advantage of digitization by valuing a high-tech firm

Because digitization is such a hot topic right now, a lot of businesses are willing to throw a lot of money at the situation in an attempt to take advantage of something they don't really understand. Let's take a minute to define exactly what digitization is and how you can take advantage of it by investing in a high-tech firm.

Digitization is an overall change in how we do business. It's a switch to mobile technology, supercomputing power, analytics, the Internet of Things and a customer-focused business model. It's causing disruption as new enterprises like Uber, AirBnB and Amazon take over the market share from traditional businesses. It's part of what's causing the ship-to-store craze and the pervasiveness of being able to track the order you placed last week, no matter where it goes. It's building transparency into business processes so that customers are comfortable with the companies with whom they do business.

If that seems like a complicated concept, it is. But it's also the way the world is going. So how can you take advantage of this change? It's easy to invest in a high-tech firm, but it's much more important to invest in the right high-tech firm. It used to be that startups had tons of money coming in from the hope of investors who wanted to find the next Microsoft. Unfortunately, the stakeholders in those companies didn't always invest those funds wisely, choosing instead to purchase obnoxiously expensive desk chairs and similar frivolous purchases.

Fortunately, there is a solid way to separate technical companies into those that are good investments and those that are poor investments. A business valuation takes a good, solid look at the business, from finances and operations to market share and competition. One area of particular interest to investors is the company's reputation for research, development and innovation. If you're hiring a certified business valuation specialist, they should be able to tell you if the company does well in adapting to changes that have come along and where they compare to other tech companies that are going through the digitization process.

By valuing a high-tech firm before you make an offer, you can determine exactly what to expect from that firm in terms of digitization. But don't settle for guessing figures based on similar businesses, what a real estate agent estimates or a friend in the tech industry thinks its worth. A certified business appraiser uses a wide range of calculations to determine a business' value based on tested methodologies that have come under strong scrutiny in legal, insurance, financial and tax circles. Only a certified appraiser can provide you with the true value of a company.

Tags: valuing a high-tech firm

Best Ways of Valuing a Construction Company Before a Sale

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Jul 25, 2018 11:19:00 AM

You've worked hard to build that construction company, and now you're preparing to sell it. This is often a bittersweet time for business owners, especially those who founded the business and who remember firsthand all of the hard work in getting their construction firm off the ground. Before you seek buyers, get an objective valuation of the construction firm, so you understand how much your construction company is worth to others. Then you can set your price, seek buyers, and move forward with a sale that honors the business yo have worked so hard to create. See below for the best ways of valuing a construction company when the time has come to sell. 

Asset-Based Valuation 

An asset-based valuation works well for construction companies that hold assets, whether that's equipment or real estate. If your construction company owns a lot of equipment but there is not much income then the business may be worth more being sold off as assets. To get an asset-based value for your company, an appraiser will sum up the value of all of your assets, then subtract liabilities to show the value as a snapshot in time. A formal equipment appraisal is suggested for situations like this.

Income-Based Valuation 

An income-based valuation is a reliable way to gauge the value of a construction company when the company is generating a profit to where there is value above just tangible asset value. Either the discounted cash flow or capitalization of earnings method can be used here. In discounted cash flow, appraisers look forward five years to estimate the business's future revenue and spending, then extrapolate a current value that accounts for risk in going forward. With capitalization, the appraiser normalizes the construction company's earnings and divides by a capitalization rate, which reflects for anticipated growth and risk.

You only get one chance to sell your business, so take the time to do it right. Search for an appraiser with experience in construction company valuation, ask questions before you hire them (so you know what to expect), and make sure you understand what their business valuation really means -- not just the final number.   

Tags: valuing a construction company

Selling Services: What's involved in valuing a consulting firm?

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Jul 18, 2018 3:06:00 PM

When your business is based on the expertise, experience and services you've developed over the years, how do you put a value on it? Valuing a consulting firm can be vastly different than valuing other types of businesses. What is involved in the process of having your consulting business valued? What should you expect in the process? How is it different than how other businesses are valued? Here's a quick look into the entire process and why it uses different methodologies than those used for other types of businesses.


Selling Services: What's involved in valuing a consulting firm?

When a regular business is sold, the asking price or value is typically based on a complex series of calculations based on assets, liabilities, income and other aspects of that business. Machinery, real estate, market conditions, future income, goodwill and reputation all come into play when the business is valued. However, that process doesn't work as well when a consulting company is being valued.

Generally speaking, a consulting company has a much higher level of intangible assets. These assets can include expertise in the field, experience in the industry or specialty services that are hard to put a dollar figure on. What's the value of an hour of your time? For many people in consulting companies, it goes far beyond an hourly wage. It includes a significant amount of overhead, especially time spent in forming network connections, marketing the business and developing new programs for their clients.

In other industries that sell services, you can often estimate the value based on what other professionals in the area or industry are charging for their services. A lawyer, accountant or dentist are all able to charge a particular amount based on what the market will bear and what their overall expenses are. But when you're selling less common consulting services, determining and proving that value can be much more difficult. How do you prove the value of your consulting business when it matters the most?

Let's say a consulting partnership exists that provides evaluations of workplace safety. If one of the partners has a health issue that forces them to leave the business, how do you determine the value of that partner's share? When a business valuation specialist looks at the situation, they use a number of different methodologies to help calculate that value. They may look at the income that particular partner has brought into the business, and made adjustments based on that partner's contributions to the business, such as unconventional thinking, a reputation for driving innovations, goodwill in the community that has brought in more business and similar areas of concern.

By understanding the differences between valuing a consulting firm and valuing other types of businesses, you can get a better grasp of how the entire process works. This will help you make wise business decisions that will boost your business' equity, allowing you to grow into the future and reach your dreams. But don't settle for an average real estate agent who doesn't understand the complexities of your business or make a guess based on what similar businesses have sold for in the past. Make sure that your business is appraised by a certified business valuation specialist to ensure that you're getting a solid, accurate value for your hard work.

Tags: valuing a consulting firm