As an Advisor on BizBen.com I talk to many California business buyers, business owners, business brokers, and agents on a daily basis about valuing California small businesses. It always amazes me on how some of these individuals come up with the values on small businesses being sold. No wonder only 30% of all California small businesses actually end up selling!
In many instances no consideration is given to the total picture - like will the available cash flow of the business be able to pay the debt of a loan or some form of business purchase financing, will the deal as structured or priced even be attractive to financing sources, "cash" price vs. "note" price and how these factors figure into the equation!
I have seen many "professional valuations" where the asking price just doesn't make sense and owner/sellers wonder why their California business being sold just sits there with no action taken by potential business buyers!
There is a solution that is grounded in the fundamentals of economics, and time tested in the marketplace, where the influences of supply and demand ultimately determine where a business belongs on the price scale. One economist explains this market approach by comparing a business to a machine which has the purpose of making money: The more money it makes, the more it's worth. And that explains why, for example, there is a strong demand for a very profitable distribution business with few hard assets; and why it is worth more in the marketplace of available businesses, than a large machine shop that would cost nearly $1 million to duplicate, but can't make a living for its owner.
Adjusted Net Income
The first category of information needed is called adjusted net income (cash flow, SDC: sellers discretionary cash), and is the total amount of cash produced by the money machine. It's a figure that includes the profits, the owner's salary and all of the many cash-related benefits which are enjoyed by the principals of small businesses. Those benefits can include the use of a company car, the company-paid premiums for health, life and auto insurance, plus personal expenditures tucked into travel and entertainment, subscriptions and similar business expense categories. Interest expense should be added to adjusted net income, along with accounting entries "such as depreciation and amortization" that can divert money to the owner's pocket so that it never appears on the bottom line of the P&L.
While some of these items vary from business to business, any owner knows which categories of expenses in his or her financial records include sums of money that should be added to adjusted net income. Many business owners also know of cash income that never sees the business records in any way, shape or form. Some owners feel they should get credit for these sums in the calculation of value. But it's a poor policy to collect unreported income and then attempt to have it included in adjusted net income for evaluation purposes.
When selling, your buyer prospects want any statements you make about your business to be supported by evidence in the form of accounting records and other reliable sources. To admit that you are doing business "off the books" not only exposes you to problems with the IRS, it also sets a bad tone with prospects who if they are going to be interested in your business - need to believe your practices and record keeping are above reproach.
Adjusted net income is usually the first thing any buyer wants to know about when investigating a business; and not just the past few months' worth of income. A seller should be prepared to demonstrate a history of earnings, and have the documentation to back it up.
The next piece of the equation comes from the expectations working in the marketplace to shape the multiplier a figure which will be computed, along with the cash flow, to calculate a rough value. The validity of the multiple is that it reflects behavior in the market. There is no need to theorize about a proper multiplier. It's calculated by determining what buyers actually pay for small businesses in California. BizBen.com has a database of comps of pre and post California small business sales and we continually add more weekly. Most multipliers we find at this point in time are between 1X to 4X (provable) annual adjusted net income. The difference in the multiple depends on many factors - supply and demand for that type of business being sold/purchased, competition, history of earnings, and current operations of the business (possible future operations play a slight role).
If your business involves alcoholic beverage sales, we can help. Obtaining a liquor license transfer or selling a business with a license in California does not have to be a frustrating and overwhelming process. We have procured thousands of licenses for our clients.
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Cheryl's a restaurant business broker, over 25 years in the bar and restaurant industry coupled with a J.D. Cheryl works tirelessly to create successful strategies and effective negotiations for those who wish to purchase a new or sell an existing bar, restaurant, cafe, or night club. 415-309-2722
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I am an experienced entrepreneur, attorney, & business professor. I & my EvergreenGold® team offer business owners sound advice & expertise to build business value & achieve profitable sales. Call me today for a business evaluation & SWOT analysis for your business anywhere in the USA.
The Veld Group provides a refreshing approach to Business Brokerage, Mergers & Acquisitions and Business Consulting and Valuations. From Your Street to Wall Street, we cater to Main Street Businesses as well as more complex Strategic Firms and Start-Ups.
For over 25 years Peter Siegel, MBA has been providing niche business purchase financial advisory and loan placement services with SBA Loans, Non SBA Financing, Retirement Plan Conversions, Note Restructures, etc. Call me regarding business purchase financing and to get pre-qualified: 925-785-3118.
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I am the Founder Of BizBen.com. I consult daily with intermediaries, business buyers, owner/sellers & advisors daily about buying and selling California small to mid-sized businesses. Contact me today about joining & utilizing BizBen, consultations, & advisory services.
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Laundry consulting, due diligence, buyer representation: We preview laundries for you and evaluate them. 28 years laundry industry experience: buying, selling, valuing, retooling, analyzing, consulting services for laundry buyers and entrepreneurs in California. Contact us today about our services.
McGovern Escrow Services, Inc., is a leading independent escrow company. We are a trusted partner with our clients, assisting them through the tangled bulk sale & liquor license transfer process. We provide attentive, quality & innovative customer service. Phone Elizabeth McGovern at 415-735-3645.
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