If you watch the TV show Shark Tank, you often see business owners who lack an understanding about small business valuation. It is estimated that over 80% of small businesses have no financial estimate as to what their business is worth, nor do business owners seem to care. This is like me asking you how much money you have in the bank and you have no idea what I am asking you. You would not run your personal financial life this way; so why would you run your business with no understanding of the value.
So why should small business owners care about valuation? The answer is simple: The personal wealth of every small business owner is directly linked to the valuation of their business. If you expect to be worth a million dollars, then you better have a business that has a valuation of one million dollars. This is important because at some point every small business owner must retire and your retirement is based on the value of your business. Consider the fact that 70% of private companies in the United States will be put up for sale by 2030 and according to the National Federation of Independent Business, only 30% of all businesses that are put up for sale are sold. This is because most small business owners never pay attention to the valuation of their businesses.
Where does valuation come from? Valuation gets assigned based on the benefit stream of your business. The most common benefit stream is Earnings Before Interest Taxes Depreciation and Amortization or EBITDA for short. When you go to sell your company and retire from your business, you will sell your company for a multiple of your EBITDA. The bigger the company, the higher the multiple and the higher the valuation. The key is to get the multiple up which will increase your valuation. This requires an aggressive growth strategy linked to the valuation of your business.
The good news is that financial professionals are now offering cloud based solutions that empower any small business owner with a road-map for increasing value. The bad news is that this road-map can take five years or more to implement. Additionally, most road-maps require a strong professional team to facilitate the process. Having worked with various solutions, I would recommend small business owners consider one of two solutions:
1. Value Opportunity Profile – This is a comprehensive assessment of your business based on interviews with your management team. Specific recommendations are made on how to increase value in three phases.
2. Value Builder System – This is a 12 month program that starts with your own self-assessment, allowing you to decide if you want to embark on the program or not. Exercises are used each month to improve the valuation score of your business.
Regardless of how you get there, it is imperative for every small business owner to recognize how important valuation is to their own personal wealth. Because so few owners seem to grasp valuation and how to increase it, having a professional outside team can help. You need someone to orchestrate and facilitate the process while everyone else runs the day-to-day operations of the business.