Sunday, August 16, 2009

Knowing the Value of Your Business

All too often, business owners will plan their retirement and estate based on their own personal valuation of their business. After all, could there be anyone more qualified than the owner to truly know how much the business is worth? The answer, surprisingly, is a resounding yes. According to experts, a business owner's self appraisal and evaluation of his company will generally be well off the mark on the high side. Business owners will allow their emotional and personal attachments to the business override their objective opinions, thus producing end results that may be quite inaccurate.

The best course of action is to retain a professional valuator. The valuator – generally an accountant – will work the numbers and forecast accurately. Objectivity is essential. The owner will look at where he has been and what he has accomplished. The valuator can take all the facts and figures and see where the business will be. For example, a valuator may conclude that the business is the life's work of an individual and the owner is the company. Remove him from the picture and the value of the company will plummet. This is often the case with small businesses. On the other hand, a larger business with multiple shareholders may have developed a succession plan. In this instance, the valuator will clearly see that a working plan is in order to allow the business to continue, even after the owner is no longer in the picture.

It is important to note, though, that business valuation is an art, not a science. Two valuators can arrive at different conclusions for the same business. The reason is that the valuator must make future predictions based on the present numbers. There is always a possible margin of error.

Be that as it may, a professional business valuation is an excellent tool to help business owners assess their company's worth with no emotional strings attached.

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