In this 30 Days to ETA post, we’ll explore the topic of leading your business. Sounds pretty simple/straightforward, but there is a twist to consider! Specifically, if in Day #1 we tackled the decision of Startup or Acquisition (You can read the post by CLICKING HERE), in this post we’ll look at leading your business so as to create value or increase business valuation. Why? It’s keeping in line with our identification of the desired endpoint of the business. A business that you lead effectively should increase in value, and therefore be worth more to prospective buyers when you ultimately determine to exit. Understanding business valuations will help you as you start out on your Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition journey!
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What Do Business Buyers Find Attractive?
In the book Walking to Destiny (2016), author Chris Snider gives business owners a plan to prepare their companies for sale where they the capital of their business. Driving the value of a business up will simultaneously increase net income. Increased value plus increased income are prime ways to increase profits achieved during the business sale.
Value Acceleration is the concept throughout whereby the focus is on value growth through the coordination of business, personal, and financial goals. I perceive Value Acceleration to be when business owners design and build a business that other people want to buy with purpose/intention strategically for sale.
So what characteristics are potential buyers looking for, especially if you can grow your company to a level where it “pops” on the radar of Private Equity firms? The following four business attributes appear at the top of every buyer’s wish list:
Top 4 Characteristics that Make a Business Valuable to Buyers
- Is it profitable – Does your business make significant net income?
- Is it competitive – Is your business beating the competition?
- Is it scalable – Can your business grow or downsize quickly to withstand ebbs and flows in demand?
- Is it sustainable – Can your business withstand economic and personal storms?
Your ultimate goal in getting into business, besides being able to be the hands-on leader running the organization, is to one day sell the business and live off of its proceeds. In order to do this, you must know how to make your company valuable to buyers. Business buyers look for profit, competitive advantage, scalability, and sustainability. These four criteria are cornerstones in leading a business blueprint.
Value creators work on their business instead of working in their business.Sam Palazzolo, Managing Director @ Tip of the Spear Ventures
How Do Buyers Determine Business Valuation?
When you analyze a business, in addition to the operational efficiency, you’ll want to identify the accounting underpinnings. In other words, you’ll want to dig-in on the financial statements. I know this is not the sexiest part of leading a business, but you have to know your numbers. Here are a few accounting numbers to know:
- Top Line Revenue
- Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)
- Net Earnings
- Operation Expenses
- Earnings Before Interest Taxes Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA)
- Average Multiples for Similar Businesses Sold
How Leading a Business to Sell with Value
How, then, do we make our businesses profitable, competitive, scalable, and sustainable to make them valuable to potential buyers? As we’ve talked about, Value Acceleration is a process that focuses on value growth by aligning business, personal, and financial goals. Essentially, it creates a roadmap to success.
Before we can focus on growing value within our business, though, in leading a business you must recognize that value already exists within your company through meeting your customer’s need(s). For example, you provide a service or a product that people just have to possess. That’s valuable. You’ve already identified a need in the market that your competitors haven’t met, and you’ve seen the profit that can come from meeting that need. Over time, you’ve put together a team of people to help you reach your target market and take care of your consumers once they find you. You’ve even purchased insurance plans and the like to make sure that your company can weather storms. Your business, therefore, has value.
Business Cycles Effect on Leading a Business
Your business’s value exists when you open your company’s doors, and it exists within every cycle of your business’s life. Just like the national economic market, you’re going to experience expansion; you’re going to experience contraction. You’ll go through cyclical periods of recession, recovery, and expansion throughout the entire life of your business. Worth exists throughout those cycles, but the amount of your business’s value will rise and fall according to what period of the cycle you are in. However, you as a business owner determine the severity of value loss or the significance of value gain over the life of your business.
Successful business owners identify what their business is worth at all times, and they determine the worth they want their company to have. They keep that value goal at the top of their minds all the time. In other words, they have an end worth in mind.
Successful entrepreneurs know their current worth and their goal worth, but more importantly, they take active steps to achieve those goals. The systematic approach to identify, protect, and build value is at the heart of this process. Creating detailed, written, systemized plan to increase company capital value comes through a relentless strategic plan and following thereof.