Small Business Valuation Primer

locations). In addition, we will not be covering valuation techniques for businesses where more than one product line or service will be acquired. For the purpose of this discussion, we will assume the simplest of all cases. For example if a buyer is acquiring a retail business, that business will be assumed to sell one type of product (for example, children’s clothing). This book is also assuming that its reader will be buying, or intends to buy, a small n business that is privately held and valued at $1MM or less.
Finally, we will be focusing on valuing a business that is not going to be turned around, but will continue to operate (or grow) as purchased, under the new owner. A business that is failing and in need of an experienced buyer to re-structure and turn it around, or fix it, has to be valued using a different set of valuation metrics. Note that even though there are many ways to value a business, to keep things simple, and in light of its audience, this book will be using a straight forward multiple of earnings (net income) method to help a buyer arrive at a value that is as close as possible to the intrinsic value of the business. But keep in mind that in the end a business’ value is equal to what a buyer is willing to pay and a seller willing to accept.
To analyze a business, we begin by collecting and reorganizing its accounting and financial statements. Below is a list of essential documents that need to be gathered and analyzed. To make this analysis worthwhile, financials statements for at least the past three years must be available, preferably on a monthly basis. We recommend buying a business that has been operating (and has been profitable) for at least three full years:
Valuation Document Collection
Item No.Document DescriptionDate Collected
Income statement (Profit and Loss)