What Is My Business Worth?

April 16, 2019

By Shawn Hyde (International Society of Business Appraisers (ISBA) –

Hand-held calculatorAccording to the 2018 Small Business Profile by the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are about 30.2 million small businesses in the USA. Every so often, one of these businesses runs into a situation where the owner asks the question, “What is my business worth?”

A variant of that question might also be, “What is a specific percentage of my business worth?”

These questions get asked in situations such as the following:

  • When a partner wants to buy another partner’s ownership interest;
  • When an owner wants to bring in a new partner;
  • When the business is located in a community property state, and the owner is getting divorced;
  • When an owner receives an unanticipated offer to purchase the business;
  • When the owner wants to sell the business;
  • When an ownership interest is being gifted to children, and a gift tax return is needed;
  • When the business wants to sell to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP);
  • When a non-controlling owner believes there are grounds for a shareholder oppression lawsuit;
  • When an event causes a business to experience economic damages or losses.

This is not an exhaustive list, but just a taste of some of the reasons why someone might ask the question. There are a lot of opportunities, among almost 28 million small businesses, for someone to wonder what the answer might be for his or her particular business. (more…)

Book Value and Business Valuation

March 6, 2019

By Shawn Hyde, International Society of Business Appraisers (ISBA) –

Book Value and Business ValuationEvery so often I come across a valuation report where the value of a shareholder’s interest in the company has been based on the Book Value of the business. Book Value is likely used because it is easy. It is updated every time the financial statements are updated, so it is always current. But in this article, I want to explore Book Value in more detail.

Book Value is tracked on a balance sheet by an enterprise’s accountants. The current asset section is fairly easy. Cash is equal to the amount of cash owned by the business, and the Book Value of cash is always equal to its Fair Market Value.

Accounts receivable are listed at the amount of cash the company is owed for services or products rendered, usually less an estimated amount for uncollectible accounts. Most of the time this asset’s Book Value is at least close to Fair Market Value. (more…)

Market Data Multiples – Things to Consider in Business Valuation

January 14, 2019

By Shawn Hyde, International Society of Business Appraisers (ISBA) –

Business valuationI had a conversation with an SBDC consultant recently, about transaction databases and how to best utilize an analysis of that data when valuing a business. She suggested I share this information with her colleagues in the America’s SBDC network, so here it is.

There are several different databases, each maintained by different organizations, that track transactions of privately held businesses — the prices they sold for as well as various other financial metrics for each transaction. The idea behind these databases is that one could analyze transactions of similar businesses that have sold, in order to identify an indication of value for a business. But there is more to it than simply pulling up the data for the applicable SIC or NAICS code and calculating the average or median of the data provided.

The following is based on a couple of assumptions. First, that the data obtained from one of the databases consists of a sufficient number of datapoints to allow a detailed analysis, and second, that the purpose of the analysis is to determine fair market value (FMV). There are several other standards of value besides FMV, and those assignments may involve different analyses.  (more…)

Rules of Thumb and Business Valuation

December 3, 2018

By Shawn Hyde, International Society of Business Appraisers (ISBA) –

Take a look at your thumb. Now compare your thumb to another person’s thumb. There are differences in size, shape, manicure, strength, and flexibility between these two thumbs. Remember this comparison, as we will come back to it at the end of this article.

A Rule of Thumb is a brief measurement, typically based on a specific part of the operations of a business, such as revenues or some other easily calculated income stream, including Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA). The application of a rule of thumb includes some basic math, usually multiplying the selected source of income by a range of numbers.

Each industry, or type of business, usually has three or more different valuation rules of thumb that could potentially be applied to it. This means there are literally thousands of different rules of thumb that are available to provide indications of value for different types of businesses.  (more…)

What’s a Fair Price for a Privately Held Company?

October 22, 2018

By Shawn Hyde, International Society of Business Appraisers (ISBA) –

Publicly traded companies are valued every day on the stock market. But how do private business owners determine what a fair price is to buy out their partners? At what price they should sell their company? What’s the value of a 10% ownership interest in their company for gifting purposes?

The International Society of Business Appraisers (ISBA), www.intlBCA.com, exists to teach people how to answer these and other questions relating to the values of small businesses. Appraising privately held businesses involves logical thinking, financial analysis, and a healthy dose of practicality.

Some folks look at an enterprise’s balance sheet, find the equity section, and state that this is the value of the company. Not necessarily. If the company is going to be sold, are all the assets listed on the balance sheet going to transfer to the new owner? Also, the assets tracked on the financials are listed at cost less accumulated depreciation. If the equipment is fully depreciated, does that mean it has zero value? What about intangible assets like goodwill? This asset is typically not even listed on the balance sheet, and if it is, it only accounts for that portion that was purchased and not any goodwill that exists as part of the operation of the subject business.  (more…)