Business Valuation Blog | Understanding Buying / Selling a Company

Valuation Purposes: Selling your Business

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on May 6, 2024 7:30:00 AM

Owner selling business happy after a valuation appraisal

One of the most exciting and daunting experiences for a business owner is when the time comes to sell the business. After years of hard work, development, and growth, the day eventually arrives when you believe the best option is to cash out and move on to the next chapter of your life.

One of the most essential steps in the selling process is to obtain an independent valuation of your company so you can understand the fair market value of the business as a whole, as well as the underlying tangible assets and goodwill. The appraiser you choose to work with should be certified through the NACVA, ASA, or some other nationally recognized association. Make sure you discuss their credentials before moving forward.

If you own a lot of equipment and real estate as part of your asset base, you should first engage with accredited appraisers who specialize in those areas before completing the full company valuation. Once that’s complete, the business appraiser will include those value estimates as part of their review, along with the rest of their analysis.

Take time to go through your financial documents with the appraiser so they understand the adjustments that should be made to non-recurring and discretionary expenses so you can present the optimal profitability of the company. Two of the key variables in the analysis will be your gross revenue and adjusted net income (EBITDA), along with the potential for future growth, which can be determined based on a reasonable forecast of future revenue over the next 3-5 years.

Since you are selling the business, as an owner, you are expected to settle the liquid assets and liabilities reported on your balance sheet, specifically the cash, short-term receivables, and any outstanding debt. Hopefully, the net outcome for these is positive, so in addition to the value of the business, you can walk away with additional cash to supplement the overall sale price.

The buyer understands that when they purchase the company, they will need to develop their own sources of cash flow, whether that be personal capital, taking out new loans, or developing equity from investors.

Selling your business will likely take a lot of patience and communication to provide all the necessary support documentation to potential buyers, and you may want to engage with a business broker familiar with your industry and markets, who can assist with the overall process. In the end, make sure you are comfortable with all the terms of the deal, and carefully read through the documentation involved. Consider hiring a business attorney to make sure you have all your bases covered and when it is all over, take a deep breath and enjoy what comes next.

Tags: selling a business, business appraisal services, valuation of a business, business owners

Small Business Owners: Keys to Success and Longevity

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Feb 12, 2024 7:30:00 AM

Small Business Owners Key to Success

For new business owners, it can take years to finally reach a point where a certain level of success is reached, and all the hard work and long hours finally pay off. Success is measured in different ways and can be fleeting or inconsistent. There are many reasons why success is eventually achieved, the most obvious being dedication, relationship building, and developing a competitive edge that sets your company apart from the rest.

In today’s business climate, there are both new and old concepts to consider when developing a longer-term game plan. The key to longevity is understanding and taking advantage of these areas and building a business model that creates optimal efficiency and effectiveness year after year.

Here are a few to think about:

Website Development and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Small businesses no longer need to rely heavily on word of mouth and referrals to grow their business and attract leads. In today’s climate, there are a lot of potential customers who will simply search the web when they need products or services. Even local businesses that have a small regional customer base will benefit from having a great website and SEO model that drives their company toward the top of “Google” searches. It’s the simplest and fastest way for customers to find what they’re looking for so take advantage of it. Consider upgrading your website and its searchability to increase your volume of leads.

Key Employee Retention

You can give yourself as much credit as you deserve in succeeding with your small business, just don’t forget the others who have helped get you there. When you are fortunate enough to have key employees who work as hard as you do and fit into the model that you are building, don’t let them go. Great workers don’t grow on trees and can be just as critical to the company’s growth as you are. Do what it takes to retain them and acknowledge their importance to the business.

Maximize Your Cash Flow

If COVID taught us anything, it’s developing a business that can sustain itself when revenues are down over a steady period. While that experience might be an anomaly, you should consider structuring the financial side of your business so it can remain healthy during slower revenue periods without constraints on making payroll and fixed expenses. Think about stashing some funds away, restructuring your debt, or leveraging some equity you might have in real estate or equipment. Don’t overinvest in long-term projects that might have additional risks associated with them. In other words, manage your money for the long term and you will have a greater chance at continuing success.

Tags: business owners, small business, success

Do You Want to Be Your Own Boss or Prefer Partnerships?

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Jan 15, 2024 7:30:00 AM

Successful small business owner

 

Being a small business owner is both exciting and stressful and has significant benefits and responsibilities beyond a typical employment position. Taking on all of the ownership responsibilities yourself or considering a partnership is a critical decision you may need to make at the beginning of the venture and afterward, once the company has been operating for a number of years.

Circumstances may decide this for you, or you may have more control over the process. Either way, here are a few things to consider when thinking about what is best for you.

Can You Manage Everything on Your Own?

This is probably the first thought that goes through your mind when starting a new business or potentially buying out existing partners. Do you have the experience, drive, and time to accomplish the day-to-day operations involved with 100% ownership? The answer will rely in part on the structure of the operation and how much you can delegate to employees, as well as your general desire to answer to no one but yourself.

Do You Have the Capital to Invest and Maintain Adequate Cash Flow by Yourself?

This is especially critical in the early stages of operation when you are trying to establish the business and before you have developed the levels of revenue to sustain and grow. Most business owners should expect a drain on their personal funds during this period unless they bring in working partners or silent investors to alleviate the burden.

Are You Having Trouble with Certain Partners?

This issue might be the most challenging one you face as a business owner during all phases of development and growth in the company. Bringing in the right partners and investors who match your goals, complement your skill set, and seamlessly get along with you both personally and professionally might seem like an impossible task. Developing and maintaining a high level of trust and compatibility with other people in business and life is something we all strive for but is rare to find over the long haul.

If you do, work hard to hold onto those relationships and continue to be successful. If philosophies change and you find yourself constantly butting heads with existing partners, you may have to decide if a change makes sense for the better of the business and yourself. Being your own boss is generally thought of as a great situation, especially later in your career, when you have all the tools to be successful. Many small business owners have found the right formula to work well with their partners and share the burdens and successes of ownership.

Tags: partnership, business owners, small business, success

Be Proactive: Don’t Wait for a Reason to Value Your Business

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Jan 3, 2024 7:30:00 AM

small business owner needs valuation by appraiser

With 2024 in mind, many of us vow to change a habit or two and get a fresh start on improving our way of life with the proverbial New Year's Resolution. This change in mindset can often be fleeting when the thought process does not materialize into instant benefits after minimal dedicated work effort. The brain can quickly adjust back to telling you that everything is fine, and you feel pretty good about yourself.

The same can be said for your business where it is much simpler to continue with the old way of doing things, especially when the year-to-year results are solid, and you and your staff seem content with current operations. There might not be any reason to overhaul your business model, however, you can always be more proactive in looking ahead and tweaking a couple of things based on recent experiences and increased knowledge.

One of these adjustments should involve not waiting for a reason to take a concrete look at your company and establish a baseline value, so you can better measure the real worth of all the effort you’ve put behind it over these past years and create a tool that can monitor progress in the future. Obtaining an independent, professional appraisal of your business is always a good idea, regardless of what might otherwise force the need to complete one as part of a pending transaction.

Most business owners wait until they absolutely need to have a valuation done, in complement to such things as bringing in or buying out a partner, a personal divorce, or refinancing debt to obtain working capital. As a result, there is a sudden rush to get it completed, and the added pressure of working through the process can further stress an already time-consuming and tedious situation.

If you have already recently completed a valuation, while using an experienced, accredited appraiser, it is simply a matter of sharing this report with the appropriate parties and immediately checking the box for this requirement. Advising your valuation expert that the purpose is for “internal business planning” will allow you to utilize the report for most of these future developments. Getting into the habit of updating the business valuation annually will make it more certain that the results are current and will be sufficient for any third party to review and consider as part of the larger transaction.

Being proactive is generally considered a benefit in your day-to-day life. Having a similar game plan when it comes to your business is just as important, if not more critical when it comes to continued success.

Tags: Business Appraiser, value of a business, small business valuation, business owners

Business Valuation: Working Through the Process is a Two-Way Street

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Dec 4, 2023 7:30:00 AM

Small Business Owner and Appraiser working on valuation

When you decide your company needs to be valued for whatever reason, whether you are seeking additional working capital, taking on new investors, buying out a partner, retiring, or in the middle of a personal or professional dispute, you want the end result to be supportable and reasonable.

It’s important to keep in mind that the appraiser you select knows little to nothing about your business until you begin to communicate and share information. The first half of the process will be a fact-finding mission, with the goal of providing sufficient financial data and other key information to the appraiser, while they suggest to you the best approaches and methodologies to take.

This level of communication and data flow will also present the valuation professional with a better understanding of the larger picture, whether that involves a critical transaction you are trying to close, the settlement of a divorce or partial buyout, or providing you with a value that can be presented to potential purchasers in the open marketplace.

A third-party valuation is independent and unbiased; however, this is the chance to present your individual perspective as a business owner so the appraiser understands what you’re trying to accomplish, and certain variables that only you may be aware of that could influence the outcome. Trust that the professional working with you will understand how best to consider all the potential adjustments and make reasonable decisions in the overall scheme of their analysis.

As a result of these meaningful communications, the second part of the valuation, which involves the appraiser’s review, research, analysis, and report writing, will result in a thoroughly examined and reliable outcome. It likely will also end up being more in line with your expectations. No business owner wants to go through the effort of working with external consultants and service providers only to end up with surprising, undesirable results.

Many business owners might believe the value of their company is more than what the market might dictate; that’s just human nature. However, the more the appraiser understands your experience and specific history working every day as the head of the company, the more likely the final value opinion will be in line with your expectations.

Before you commit to a specific appraisal professional, spend time discussing these kinds of topics so you feel comfortable that you will be working with a well-balanced firm that understands the important factors that go into a business valuation.

Tags: valuation, business appraisers, business owners, small business

Valuing a Closed Business for Tax Purposes

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Sep 25, 2023 7:30:00 AM

Valuation of closed business for tax purposes

When it is time to close a business and there are no realistic sale options, there are several steps needed to officially dissolve the company, so no loose ends come back to affect you in the future. One of those requirements is filing forms with the IRS and/or your state for final tax settlement purposes. Depending on the structure of your prior operation, you may need to obtain an independent business appraisal as part of this process.

Here are a couple of things to consider when a final valuation comes into play.

Transfer or Sale of Assets

If your business owns a lot of equipment or vehicles, you will look to estimate a final value if you plan to sell them or transfer the property to another entity, such as a new company, or to yourself. This will show a clean break between when the old business was responsible for the assessment and when the new owner took over responsibility for them.

A machinery & equipment appraiser can complete this report as part of the overall business valuation.

If you own intangible assets such as patents, trademarks, domain names, customer lists, or transferable software, the value of these would be estimated by the business appraiser as part of any remaining goodwill of the company.

Valuation Methodology

The focus of the business closure appraisal will likely be solely on the remaining tangible and intangible assets; however, if there are any remaining accounts receivables, payables, long-term debt, or revenue streams not yet fulfilled, these will need to be considered as well.

The asset approach will probably still be the driving methodology utilized by the appraiser while adjustments are made to take these other factors into account.

In an ideal scenario, when it is time to move on from a business, you will be able to find a buyer that allows you to maximize the company's remaining value. If shuttering the operation is your only option, there will likely be additional housekeeping tasks to take care of before you segue to the next chapter of your career.

To learn more about these requirements, consult your accountant and an independent valuation expert who can provide further insight.

Tags: Appraisal for Tax Purposes, business owners, closed business

Work Closely with Your Business Appraiser to Get Optimal Results

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on May 8, 2023 7:30:00 AM

Business Appraisals Small Business Owners

As a business owner, no one knows more about your company, its operational history, and where it’s headed going forward. When you determine the need for an independent appraisal, the ability to work in tandem with the company you choose to engage with will benefit all parties involved.

There are very likely areas within your financial statements you can elaborate on to paint a more accurate picture than simply what the numbers show. In addition, your experience with the markets and industry you operate in will provide added perspective to the appraiser when they research the competition and comparable businesses during the course of the analysis.

Review overhead and expenses to determine if any are discretionary and adjustable to how you might otherwise operate on a leaner budget. Look at what might be considered “one-off” costs in certain years that can be backed out of annual cash flow levels and review special compensation packages to you and your employees which might not be relevant to a potential buyer. You may be claiming a lower net income figure on your taxes each year because of these discretionary expenses. That is a common strategy for business owners each year as they best position themselves before year-end filing.

The goal is to create a normalized, realistic year-to-year snapshot that shows how the business can most efficiently and effectively run without consideration for added unnecessary benefits you may have created over the years for you and your staff.

When a small business changes hands, the new owner will have their own set of circumstances to consider and will often look at the most economical model to begin their operation until they too can create these added benefits once they become successful in the coming years.

From a market and industry perspective, advise the appraiser of local competition and similar businesses that may be public or available enough to make reasonable comparisons. Discuss future areas of growth you may have implemented but have yet to fully realize the added revenue streams.

It’s important to add these levels of perspective where you can so the appraiser better understands your business beyond the standard documentation that they are provided with by you or your financial advisors. The more the appraiser knows about your personal experiences as they relate to the history of your company and its operation, the more accurate the valuation results will be.

Tags: Business Valuation, Business Appraiser, business owners, small business

Small Business Owners: Do We Ever Reach the Point of Satisfaction?

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Jan 30, 2023 7:30:00 AM

Business Valuation Appraisals Owners Optimize Success

A few times each year, I like to discuss future planning strategies and long-term growth with business owners, and how they look ahead while keeping one eye on past successes and failures. Oftentimes, forward-thinking involves the potential for expanding the company, however, what if your firm is at the point where everything is running smoothly with revenues and net income right where they should be?

There may come a point when forecasting over the next few years involves simply keeping the structure of the company the same while making minor tweaks to refine existing strategies that will potentially improve margins. Is this an example of resting on your laurels or has all the hard work in the past finally reached a point where major changes are not economically feasible? Perhaps you are even risk-averse to future growth since diminishing returns would be a likely outcome.

This type of strategy may be more common than you think. Being a successful business owner does not always equate to having the compulsion to constantly reinvent the wheel. In fact, many experienced entrepreneurs in niche markets understand that once you have reached a certain level of market share, you have essentially positioned the company at the ideal point where current revenues, overhead, and profits are at optimal levels.

Depending on your overall personality, current drive, and where you are in your career path, it may be the perfect time to enjoy the fact that the business is exactly where you planned it to be years ago and consider whether you want to take a breath while reaping the rewards or move onto another opportunity. You have options in front of you, even though they may not be the same ones that got you where you are today.

Looking inward and reviewing how best to maximize the benefits of your existing employees and client relationships while fine-tuning a business that now needs only minimal maintenance are things you can do regularly. After all the challenges you’ve faced and past successes you accomplished, that is a great way to keep your company optimized.

Tags: Business Valuation, business owners, small business

Old-School vs. New Small Business Practices - What Works Best For You

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Oct 10, 2022 7:30:00 AM

 

Business Valuation Appraisals Small Business Practices

As a small business owner, I receive dozens of email “come-ons” every month advising me of wonderful new marketing, accounting, hiring practice methodologies, or related services that are supposed to increase my company’s effectiveness and efficiencies, leading to a healthier bottom line.

Personally, I have never followed up with any of these places, however, that doesn’t mean some may provide a useful service for my company. I just happen to be an old-school manager who has people I trust handling these kinds of things for me internally.

As a business owner, you should do what works best for you and your business. Have you been mired in the same processes for years without thinking of new ways to improve your business model? Are you a new start-up, ready to utilize the latest technologies, products, and services available to enter the market running at top speed?

In either case and for most business owners who are somewhere in between these two scenarios, you should keep an open mind about process improvements while continuing to rely on your own experience and expertise, as well as those of your coworkers. If you don’t have certain areas well covered at the moment, such as social media marketing, website development, or accounting software, it may be a good idea to research and engage reliable third-party companies who provide these services or look to hire those with the skill sets required to handle these key sectors of your business.

Consider if your goal is a long-term permanent improvement to your company’s capabilities or a shorter-term fix that can be solved with the help of an outside consultant. Depending on the industry you operate in, products such as accounting, valuation, and inventory management software, might be useful to consider acquiring. Other areas that are critical include marketing, website design, and search engine optimization.

Capitalizing on your past success and old-school work ethic, while staying current with the latest developments and capabilities in the business marketplace, will provide the best opportunity to be successful as you move forward with your small business. Take the time to review the strengths and weaknesses of the key components of your company’s current profile, and look to create a plan that will put you in the best position to succeed today and in the future.

Tags: small business valuation, business owners, small business

Goods and Services Marketers: Why Many Target Millennials Today

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Mar 14, 2022 7:00:00 AM

Business Valuation Appraisals Appraiser Millennials Future Business

Believe it or not, Millennials are now in their late 20s and 30s and have become the most sought-after consumers of products and services for most commercial providers across all industries. Gen X and late-stage Boomers are still in the picture, however, over the last couple of years, it has become evident Millennials are making tremendous strides in gaining buying power due to a variety of circumstances.

In the valuation world, I have recently seen a growing number of young entrepreneurs and next-generation family members running companies with fresh perspectives that can’t be ignored, and will likely set the pace for the next 20-30 years of business development across the world. Many of these individuals have patiently bided their time during unprecedented events that have forever reshaped our future over the past few years.

Others have mocked them in the past for their habits and preferences, while underestimating their potential, and not realizing the vast majority of this generation are nothing like the stereotypical picture painted by so many who are engrained in “old school” mentality.

While it is generally true that Millennials had a tougher time breaking into the mainstream workplace a decade ago in a much different business landscape, they used conservative tactics in an effort to save money, such as living at home and holding off on marriage and family plans until more financially secure. This is somewhat of a unique circumstance created by this generation, however, we are now seeing the emergence of a hungry, wizened group that accounts for over 20% of the populace, well over $2 trillion in spending power, and 90+% employed.

Virtually every major entertainment event, both live and virtual, sees its advertising revenue campaigns geared toward these consumers, while the majority of the workplace is inhabited by those that fall into the Millennial generation. These trends, which have quickly grown over the last 5 years, are the building blocks for the future leadership of our nation’s business, economic, and political climate. It is not a surprise then, that this generation is becoming the focus of many service industries and product developers who realize that staying ahead of the competition will equate to favorable ratings from this group of individuals.

Millennials are the original masters of social media, and with venues such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram becoming dominant platforms for advertising, it makes total sense that the two are becoming entwined with how future businesses will be run.

In summary, if you own a small business, and are looking for growth opportunities that have otherwise been difficult to develop, consider targeting the Millennial generation as a potential expansion to your client base, and look to keep up with this new and exciting group as they continue to take over the future.

Tags: business appraisal services, business valuation services, marketing, millennials, future, business owners