Business Valuation Blog | Understanding Buying / Selling a Company

How to Set a Price When You Want to Sell Your Business

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Sep 13, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Business Valuation Appraisal Set Price Business Sale

If and when you start the process of selling your company, the determination of the right price is a critical component. How do you determine a reasonable figure that recognizes all the factors that make up value, including sales, profit margins, marketplace, industry, employees, capitalized investments, expenses, and all the hard work you have put into it over the years? What about the timing? Are you in a hurry to liquidate or do you have the luxury of waiting for several months or a year to find the right buyer?

Here are a few important considerations to take into account that will help get you started:

Don't just base your asking price on recent comparable sales in your local or regional area. Every business is different, regardless of its similarity to other companies. Yes, you should take time to review these as a possible source, however, there are likely differences to consider, including reputation, goodwill, number of years in operation, annual sales, location, and other factors that can affect the overall valuation of your particular business.

If you're thinking about selling your business within a short timeline, 60-90 days, for example, you likely won't be able to realize 100% of the fair value. You may need to settle for a lower price given the limited exposure in the market and less interest generated as a result. Unless you can afford to extend the marketing plan for a longer period, you will need to temper your expectations and adjust the price you are willing to accept in this scenario.

Is your business in a specialized market? How many potential competitors or investors in your industry can you think of that may have an interest in acquiring your company? This factor can work both for and against you. For example, if you are one of several similar businesses in your marketplace, you may be able to quickly find a potential buyer, however, the price level may not be as high or negotiable as you would like it, given the number of competitors. On the flip side, if you have a unique operation that only a few other companies may show an interest in nationwide, you can take advantage of the specific intangible value your business will bring to a buyer but it could be a more difficult negotiation trying to place a value on the many variables at play.

Regardless of where your company falls in this framework, it is important to obtain an independent business valuation to arm yourself with a supportable unbiased assessment you can disclose to buyers at the right time. This step should be taken as early as possible to better enable you to understand the right approach to setting a price to sell. A business appraisal also provides you with insights into your business, including areas that need improvement as well as the strengths that drive value. You may even want to take the time to make certain changes in company structure as a result of the valuation and then determine the right time to go to market. A business appraiser can also provide insights into the current market and industry, which may influence your timing and decision-making.

By considering these factors before entering the resale market, you can determine the best approach to selling your business at the right price.

Tags: Business Appraiser, business valuations, selling a business, appraisal, how to price a business for sale

What to Know if You Need a Small Business Valuation

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Aug 30, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Business Valuation Appraisal Appraiser What To Know

The definition of a small business will vary depending on who you ask or where you research the term. Based on the number of employees, owners, investors, annual revenue, profit margins, and specific marketplace a company competes in, your operation may likely fall into this category. The fact is that the majority of companies today are considered small businesses, especially when compared to the conglomerates who have taken over large market shares in recent years.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a broad definition, which varies greatly based on the overall industry and company structure. This has benefited many who have worked with the SBA on start-up or refinancing opportunities, as well as the related services this organization provides to business owners. Regardless of the definition, if you're considering getting a company valuation as a small business owner, you're making a prudent decision to independently assess where you are today and preparing for the future.

One of the primary reasons small businesses need an appraisal is when considering a sale or change in ownership, such as a transfer to the next generation in the family. In this example, the departing owner wants to realize a fair value independently of any subjective opinion within the family. The relative taking over the business wants to be comfortable that they're not paying too much during the transfer. The formal valuation process creates an effective tool to help both sides realize a favorable outcome.

The appraisal process begins with a review of a company's finances while completing a questionnaire that provides the valuation professional with the data needed to consider the history and future plans of the company. The next steps involve reviewing the industry to determine how your company fits into the broader marketplace. Is it currently growing or stagnating? It's important to know how your company has been doing historically in the market, but also critical to look toward future long-term viability.

A small business appraisal is a valuable tool that can be used to improve your company's operation while gaining a realistic understanding of its current value. Ensure that you engage with a certified business valuation professional with at least 5-10 years of independent experience, so you can capitalize on their insights.

Tags: business valuations, business appraisal, how to value your company, small business valuation services

Importance of a Business Appraisal During an Acquisition

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Aug 16, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Business Valuation Buy Sell Acquisition

Valuation is essential during an acquisition, regardless of which side of the deal you find yourself on. The acquisition process can be lengthy, and there are several things you will need to prepare for, including engaging a certified appraiser to complete a current valuation of the business.

Documents at the Ready

On the seller side, the overall process will go more smoothly if the company’s financial statements, taxes, and related business documents are organized and ready for review. This will give the buyer the utmost confidence that they are making the right decision moving forward with the transaction. It will also create an efficient and effective transition.

These steps greatly assist in the appraisal process as well and can ensure the valuation is being analyzed with every piece of data available.

Work with Trusted Associates

You can't go through an acquisition alone, so before you seek buyers, find the right people to help you through the process. This may include a business lawyer, a tax adviser, a financial professional, and a certified business appraiser. These partners can help you manage expectations throughout the acquisition process and take some of the detailed busy work off your plate.

While your associates are assisting you, take the time to do your own research to better understand the market and how your company fits into the larger industry picture. Seek to view the transaction from the buyer’s perspective. This may include a review of any similar deals in your markets and other companies that commonly acquire in your industry.

Don’t Put Off the Appraisal

As a business owner, you are probably a little biased in calculating your company's value. You may be emotionally attached and not looking at the situation objectively. An independent valuation of your business will help you see things subjectively, so you can better understand a realistic range of value in the current market. Review the appraisal carefully and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the valuation. When you understand why your company was appraised at a certain price and what factors affect value, you will be a stronger negotiator.

In summary, by taking these steps before an acquisition, you can put yourself and the company in the best position possible, while navigating each step of the acquisition phase with confidence, thus maximizing the chance for success in the ultimate transaction.

Tags: Business Appraiser, business valuations, selling a business, appraisal, buying a business, acquisition

Is the Cost of a Business Valuation Worth It?

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Aug 2, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Business Valuation Appraisal Cost Value Insight

When you are looking to get your business appraised, a common concern is how much it will cost. Perhaps a more important question is what kind of return on investment will you reasonably see from the valuation effort? A business appraisal gives you a great source of insight into your company’s financial state on many levels, from determining a need to expand into new markets, hiring new employees, reducing resources in certain areas, or generally setting new goals. If you are looking to buy or sell, a business valuation is an excellent source of information that will leverage your negotiating position.

As an investment tool, business appraisals can be used to determine where your company is financially at the present moment, and what the best course of action for your business would be. If you are considering a business expansion or looking to enter into a new market, a business valuation can assist with estimating the potential risk of new investment. It will help ensure you have a more robust financial picture thereby allowing you to make more fully informed decisions about the direction your company should go.

An appraisal can assist in obtaining traditional bank financing or new partner investment. It will also help when planning an upcoming change in ownership, from a family estate perspective or a majority share buyout. Having a business valuation completed by a certified appraiser provides documentation that is accepted for legal, financial, and governmental purposes. In short, there are numerous ways a business appraisal can assist you in your long and short-term plans.

As you can see, the cost of a business appraisal is not the important part of the equation. Whatever your business plans may be, a company valuation helps ensure that you are entering the process well aware of your financial situation along with the pros and cons you may be weighing in the decision-making process. We can assure you that at Business Valuation Specialists, we will provide a certified, supportable valuation at a very reasonable cost and we look forward to the opportunity to work with you.

Tags: Business Valuation, business appraisal, business valuation cost, value, ROI, insight

How Valuation Multiples are Calculated and Impact Your Bottom Line

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Jul 19, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Business Valuation Appraisal Multiples Financial Health

When you're reviewing a business's overall financial health, one term that is often tossed around is valuation multiples. If you are unfamiliar with this variable measurement, it can seem like a complex concept, therefore, we will attempt to break it down in a more simplistic way. Here's a brief overview of what valuation multiples are, how they're calculated and how they can impact a company's overall value.

What are valuation multiples?

A valuation multiple represents a figure that is applied to a company’s overall income or revenue based on the industry and market they are in, as well as a projection of the reasonableness of long-term earnings. The estimated figure by which the income is “multiplied” is deemed the valuation multiple. Depending on the business involved, this multiple can be anywhere from a 1x to 50x multiple on a broad scale basis.

How is the valuation multiple estimated?

Multiples represent a certain expected amount of income per year. If a company is measured at a multiple of 3x, it means that a buyer is willing to pay the equivalent of three times the expected annual income to the seller. At this multiple, the company's income is estimated to pay back the investor over the course of three years, assuming it continues to perform as expected based on historical practice. A multiple of 5x means the company is valued at five times the projected annual income and that a buyer will see the investment returned over a five-year period. However, if a company is actively growing, much higher multiples may be utilized, based in part on the reasonableness that the business has a long-term ability to continue to generate steady or growing revenue.

How do valuation multiples help measure your company's worth?

What impact can these valuation multiples have on your specific company's financial health? To use an example, a startup tech company may have revenue of $50,000 in its first full year of operation with an increase to $200,000 in the second year. If it's purchased at this point, where should the multiple fall? If it's projected to quickly grow to $5-10 million in revenue annually, say within five years, paying a multiple in the range of 20x-40x annually may be considered acceptable. This is not atypical for startups with rapid growth potential.

More commonly, however, in businesses with historic, longer-term steady levels of revenue in the small to a mid-size market sector, you will see valuation multiples between 1x-10x based on a number of factors, including diversification, contractual relationships, competition, intellectual property (ex: patents, domain names, trademarks), and the industry or market involved.

In summary, if you are interested in understanding the valuation multiples of a particular business, you should engage a certified business valuation professional who utilizes standardized methodologies to measure this variable as part of a larger appraisal effort. By understanding how valuation multiples are calculated, you're in a better position to improve those numbers and pay or receive a fair price for your company, whether it's for a business loan, company sale, or purchase.

Knowing the current value of your business can provide you with ideas to improve areas that may need help, while further capitalizing on areas of strength, to continue to operate a successful company. By working with a certified business appraiser, you are ensuring that the valuation multiples and other factors you work with are current and accurate in relation to your company's overall value.

What is SDE and Owner’s Overall Contribution to a Business?

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Jul 5, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Business Valuation SDE Owners Overall Contribution

Seller's Discretionary Earnings (SDE) is a type of income measurement that is calculated when a business is changing hands. SDE is a specific calculation involving earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), which was discussed in our last blog post, as well as other factors that impact a company's value as you engage in a buy/sell transaction. Here's a look into SDE and how it measures the value of a company

SDE is a useful tool from both the buyer and seller’s perspectives. If you're on the purchase or acquisition side, the seller's discretionary earnings will provide you with the information needed to develop a reasonable estimate of your expected return on investment (ROI), as well as obtaining an understanding of realistic expectations going forward for the business. From the seller’s viewpoint, this measurement allows you to support a high level of overall value during sale negotiations. Understanding SDE allows you to make informed decisions while preparing to buy or sell.

As noted earlier, SDE utilizes EBITDA and considers the owner's overall value to the company and the benefit they derive from the business, above any salary paid. Here is what is typically considered when measuring the owner's overall value, compensation, and benefit:

  • Value estimate of the owner(s) overall contribution to the business: The owner’s value to the business is a combination of the revenue that can be directly tied to a specific owner, as well as the value derived from their day-to-day operation of the business. This is especially important when a share of a business or partnership is being sold with multiple owners. When owners actively participate in operating the business, this measurement requires that historic, current, and projected benefits be calculated to determine the value of the selling owner's sales efforts and overall labor in the company.
  • One-time expenses: Owners benefits from the business include any number of expenses that are charged to the company and will cover a wide range of one-off or annual purchases, including items such as website design services, home office leasehold improvements, licenses, certifications, application fees, organization memberships, as well as any number of similar expenses to the company.
  • Home office and business expenses reimbursed or charged to the company: These would include reimbursable monthly costs for the owner’s home offices, including rent, utilities, healthcare, life insurance, transportation, certain travel & living expenses, and related items.

With an understanding of how SDE and the owner’s overall contribution to the business are measured, you can gain a better understanding of your company’s overall financial health and how it is viewed in the industry. Seeking a more detailed independent measurement of value for your company, especially if you plan to sell, expand or refinance debt is always a sound idea. A certified business appraiser will provide you with the overall value of your company, as well as information on the market, industry, competition, and the strengths and weaknesses of your company.

Tags: company valuation, business valuations, valuation consultant, Seller's Discretionary Earnings, SDE, Owner's Overall Contribution

What is EBITDA? How Does it Measure Your Company's Financial Health?

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Jun 21, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Business Valuation Earnings Before Interest Taxes Depreciation Amortization

When you're trying to determine the financial condition of your business, there is a wide range of formulas and techniques available. One key measurement is calculating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). What exactly is EBITDA? Here's an inside look at how this figure is calculated and utilized in measuring the financial status of a business:

A Breakdown of EBITDA

The components of EBITDA consist of:

  • Earnings: This refers to net profit, or the total revenue of your company less expenses and overhead.
  • Before: The earnings before additional deductions are considered.
  • Interest: Interest represents the cost of any loans and similar financial instruments your business has on the books.
  • Taxes: This typically refers to income taxes only.
  • Depreciation: Depreciation represents how much capitalized value you deduct for your fixed assets over a particular time period. It is typically determined using acceptable accounting standards such as the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or through an updated valuation of your company’s tangible property (equipment and real estate).
  • Amortization: Amortization is the reduction of business debt, such as loans and alternate types of financing over a given period.

As a general rule, EBITDA is a measurement to determine a company's profitability, or cash flow, however, it may not fully represent cash earnings. EBITDA considers a wide range of factors that come into play with business finances. It is not a universally accepted accounting measurement, and, therefore, has some flexibility with how it is calculated and measured.

From an application perspective, it is used by banks and financial services companies to estimate debt servicing levels. It is also commonly used to compare similar businesses within an industry or market and as a tool to preliminarily estimate a company’s current value using multiples of EBITDA.

A similar calculation that provides the same basic information is the earnings before income and taxes, or EBIT. The difference with this measurement is the exclusion of depreciation and amortization. When these variables are removed from the calculation, it represents the company's operating profit vs. overall cash flow.

With an understanding of how EBITDA is measured and utilized, you can gain a better understanding of how your company is viewed in the industry and its overall financial health. It is always optimal to have a more detailed independent measurement of value completed for your company, especially if you plan to sell, expand or refinance debt. A certified business appraisal will provide you with the overall value of your company, as well as information on the market, industry, competition, and the strengths and weaknesses of your company.

Tags: business valuations, appraisal, business valuation appraiser, EBIDTA, Financial Health

What is the Best Approach to Appraising Your Business?

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Jun 7, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Business Valuation Best Appraisal Approach

There are different ways to perform business appraisals. Whether you're hoping to buy an established company and get into business for yourself or sell your company for a fair price, it's important to know the different approaches to valuing your business and which one is the most appropriate for your situation.

Pros and Cons of Market-Based Business Valuations

A market-based business appraisal makes sense for many industries. Consider the owner of a semiconductor manufacturer located in California who wants to sell the company and retire. If there are other businesses nearby, operating in the same or similar marketplace, a business appraiser can compare the subject business being sold with others like it, getting an idea of the market share and competitive advantage of the business.

A “Gross Revenue Multiple Method” may work in these cases. Under this method, the appraiser takes the transaction price and divides it by the revenue. They then find similar companies and determine a gross revenue multiple. This multiple is applied to the target company's revenue to roughly estimate a business value. This method is simple and quick, however, far less detailed than other appraisal methods, and often best for preliminary measurement purposes only.

Pros and Cons of Asset-Based Business Valuations

An asset approach estimates how much it would cost to build a similar business from scratch. In this type of valuation, the professional appraiser will estimate the total assets and liabilities of the business. Subtracting liabilities from assets, the appraiser will come up with a valuation.

This method works well for companies that have significant physical assets. However, companies that have intangible assets find that an asset-based method may not accurately reflect their worth. Consider the example of an innovative engineering firm. The imaginative engineers who come up with elegant solutions to problems are not captured as “added-value” in an asset-based approach. If the engineering company was sold to a new buyer, but the existing staff quit, much of the company's true value would be irretrievably lost.

Pros and Cons of Income-Based Business Valuations (The “Discounted Cash Flow” Method)

If your company has a stable earnings flow, then the “EBITDA”, (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) can portray an accurate business valuation. Since this provides a snapshot of the business valuation at one point in time, it might not be the best method if earnings are projected to spike or if the company is experiencing a slow quarter.

If the business is going through an inconsistent period, the discounted cash flow method may work well. Here, the appraiser estimates the future benefits of the company, then converts them to present value to come up with a fair market value.

Ultimately, a certified, experienced appraiser can determine which method makes sense for any given company at a given point in time, and reasonably estimate the company’s value, while explaining the process to key investors and owners. Given all that is at stake when considering selling your business, it's critical to hire a certified business appraiser who understands your industry.

Tags: Business Appraiser, business valuation approaches, business appraisal services

What Happens When a Valuation Firm Works with my Business?

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on May 24, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Business Valuation Appraiser What to Expect

When you need to have a business valuation performed, a reputable valuation firm can provide you with significant insights into your company that in turn, can offer a wide range of benefits to your business. But what exactly happens when you're working with a valuation firm? What can you expect from a certified business appraiser? Here's a quick look at what takes place when undergoing a business valuation

To start with, a quality business valuation company will look at much more than just the basics of your business and its financial health. They will complete a comprehensive review of the industry and what factors may affect your business's ability to perform in the marketplace. They'll take a solid look at the risks and rewards of certain growth plans and provide you with a detailed report of what your business is worth along with areas in which it is strong and in those which could be improved.

Here are the typical steps that are taken in the process:

  1. The appraiser will gather basic information about your business. This will include the type of business, availability of key information, potential areas of importance to the business valuation. The purpose of the valuation is also determined, as particular types of appraisals are required for different situations.
  2. The business valuation appraiser will then provide a proposal including the timeframe expected for the appraisal report and the cost expected. They will also request all internal documentation for the valuation, including financial data, asset information, and data on specific areas that may be unique to your business.
  3. Next, they will take a look at what aspect of the industry your business falls into and what portion of the market share it holds, while examining key areas including finances, overhead costs, regularity of income, the actual market value of assets, and related documents. Intangible factors such as your reputation in the community, the desirability of the business location, and unique facets of the business will also be taken into account.
  4. Using all of this information, the certified appraiser will develop their analysis and issue the formal report. This report utilizes standardized, accepted methodologies and is designed to stand up to scrutiny that will hold up in insurance, tax, and legal circles.
  5. Once the report is issued, it will be reviewed with you to ensure it is an accurate reflection of your business and potentially make adjustments for any new details not taken into account.

By better understanding the process, as summarized above, you can better prepare and know what to expect when a business appraiser begins working with your firm. If you're not currently working with a certified business appraiser who has experience in your industry, please contact us and we will get things started for you.

Tags: Business Appraiser, valuing a company, appraisal, valuing a business, business valuation services, expectations

How Valuing a Retail Business Helps You Navigate Shrinking Markets

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on May 10, 2021 11:00:00 AM

Business Valuation Retail Industry Shrinking Markets

When your business is within the retail sector, consumer confidence and market uncertainty can make all the difference in whether you are operating in the red or the black. But how do you adapt to changes in the market? One option to consider is a business valuation today so you can plan for the future, focus on your strengths and avoid the potential pitfalls of this industry. You can then adapt to changing market conditions and position your business to take advantage of the high points in the market while riding out the low ones.

Many people only consider obtaining a third-party business valuation when they are looking to buy or sell. The benefits gained during a retail store valuation now, regardless of your future plans, can provide you with valuable insights into your operation, and a better understanding of your overall assets and liabilities. This, in turn, gives you the tools you need to get your business through the difficult times while taking advantage of growth opportunities in the good times.

As an example, regardless of the timing, it is likely that your business has recently squeaked through an economic downturn as well as seasonal upswings in sales. Based on your experience, you would now like to consider growing your business by adding a new location or merging with a competitor that hasn't fared as well. In preparing to manage the due diligence process, you need to know what your business is worth, whether it's to secure the financing and investment you need, or to know where you stand in comparison to competitors. By learning this information, you can better negotiate the terms involved in the potential transaction.

The certified independent appraisal report you receive should have all information you need including a report on your market sector as a whole and its anticipated growth or loss in the upcoming years. A look at your competitors should also be included, detailing how they compare to you in the market. Your assets and liabilities are reviewed, giving you valuable insights into the areas you may need to upgrade or replace that are inefficient or even failing.

As a result, you may see innovative approaches to customer support that strengthens your business' overall stance in the market sector. The appraisal may even help you look at your online presence and level of digitization, as well as how that capability is expected to allow your business to expand into new markets.

In summary, you'll have the supporting documentation you need to get that loan for a new location opening or to improve and expand your existing business processes. You can make smart, informed decisions on what needs to change in your company to boost its performance and see where you should continue to invest for future growth. Obtaining a retail business appraisal from a certified experienced valuation firm is one of the best ways to gain these insights into your company which, in turn, will provide options that allow you to adapt to meet changing market demands.

Tags: business valuations, business appraisal services, retail business, valuing a retailer, retail industry, shrinking market