How to Grow Your Business Value / by Kerri
Most business owners and entrepreneurs work hard every day to grow their business. But are you focusing on growing the right things to make your business more valuable and sellable to your ideal buyer?
Do you know what buyers are looking for? Do you know what value drivers in your business, your ideal buyer will be looking for? Here are 5 areas where you can add business value just by what you focus on.
What makes you unique in your market? What do you do that your competitors don’t do or can’t do?
When your product or business model is hard for someone else to clone or copy, or you have built an enviable client-base, a buyer will pay a premium for what you have in place because it would cost them more in dollars, time and risk to reinvent your business.
Systems and Value
When a buyer closes the deal and buys your business, how easy will it be for him/her to step in and keep operations running smoothly?
Every system and process you document to run the business without you, can be monetized to add to your business value at the sale. Demonstrating that the business can run well with your team, your systems, and your procedures validates your position and gives you more leverage in negotiations. When you sell, can the business run consistently without your day-to-day oversight? Do you have contingency plans in place so that your team is prepared and can handle all key issues that may come up from time to time? Is your customer loyalty to the company and the brand or are they only tied to you and your personal relationship with them? Wean your clients off your personal relationship to demonstrated added value in the business.
You know the phrase, ‘you only get one chance to make a good first impression’. When it comes to buyers considering acquiring your business, that curb appeal typically starts with your financials. Before a buyer will pursue the deal any further, they will want to review your financial statements and forecasts thoroughly. They are looking for clean up to date books. Beyond those basics, they are looking for a track record of growing both revenues and profits. Anything less gives them an argument to reduce the valuation of your business. Do whatever it takes to clean up the books, keep them current and strong and demonstrate growing business value in both revenues and profits.
Look at your customer base. What is the distribution of revenues among clients? Are your sales distributed across a wide base or concentrated in a small number of preferred clients? Is your client database current or out of date with lots of former clients still listed? A business appraiser will recognize and monetize a good, strong, clean database as an intangible asset to be valued in the sale price.
Acquirers will review and analyze your customer database to determine how stable sales are, the lifetime value of each client, the lifecycle of each client, and to determine their retention rate after the acquisition.
Future Growth Potential
A buyer’s due diligence is quite invasive – especially in a privately held business where this level of detail and these documents have been held close for years or even decades. Buyers are simply identifying the risks they’ll incur for the price they are willing to pay. Buyers want good odds that they’ll not only breakeven after the sale but indeed sustain growth to increase their returns from future growth. Always be prepared to demonstrate a track record of achieving milestones and how you consistently hit your projections, to build confidence in future growth potential.
If you prepare your business all along the way to be buyer ready and buyer attractive, you will know the range of business value that it is worth in the market and that you would consider, before any buyer or acquirer comes knocking. When you are always building business value to make it saleable, you gain more leverage and can command a premium price.
If you would like to establish value drivers in every area of your business to grow your business value, check out this one year program.