10 Factors That Can Improve the Value of Your Business

10 Factors That Can Improve the Value of Your Business

July 7, 2018 | Cress Diglio

10 Factors That Can Improve the Value of Your Business

If you’re looking to sell your business, there are certain elements that can make it more attractive to potential buyers. Here are ten factors to consider, courtesy of Calder Associates, mergers and acquisitions advisors serving a global client base.

About the broker blog

The Blogger- Cress Diglio

Why Choose Calder?

Why Choose Calder?

May 29, 2018 | Susan Rosner

Why Should I Choose Calder Associates to Represent me in the Sale of my Business?

The mergers and acquisitions intermediaries at Calder Associates, with offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland, engage with national and global business owners who are looking to sell. We work closely with our clients to help prepare them to sell while managing the details and process until the sale is completed. We only select companies that are financially, organizationally, and operationally sound to successfully complete transactions.

About the broker blog

The Blogger- Susan Rosner

Susan is a Managing Partner in Calder Associates and is responsible for Calder’s Pennsylvania, Delaware, and surrounding area. Susan’s past experience has served hundreds of business owners and buyers in their pursuit to sell or acquire the right business. A past President of the Lower Bucks Chamber of Commerce, business coach, and speaker at local business events and exit planning conferences, Susan has helped thousands of companies and individuals to success!

Defending Your Company’s Value: 4 Areas Worth Improvement

Defending Your Company’s Value: 4 Areas Worth Improvement

May 27, 2018 | Steve Wain

Defending Your Company’s Value: 4 Areas Worth Improvement

This is the first of a four-part series that will provide you with some food for thought,

Or more importantly, a way to defend your company’s value through four controllable areas worth improvement that can be worth millions more in your pocket.

There are many things you can do to make your business worth more—sort of like painting a house before you sell it. However, what we will cover here are longer-term fixes rather than quick fix-ups. The reason: Facades usually have limited value, and sophisticated buyers can see through them.

The four areas you will read about in this series are more under your control. They do not come without costs, but they do pay off handsomely and, more importantly, will help you with operational efficiencies and better earnings if done correctly. The four parts of the series are about numbers, organization, technology, and infrastructure. After years of dealing with business owners, as well as owning a few of my own businesses, it is painfully true that business owners like the work they do, but not other things in support of their business focus. Most important to this is record keeping. It is a necessary evil: You need it for the banks, you need it for the government, and you need it for yourself (for example, when you need to collect money others owe you).

Consider this one truism: If your record keeping is done well, it becomes an ASSET of the business. What does that mean? Well, you generally either use assets or create them for sale; but does that apply to business records? The simple truth…YES.

Business records are an asset because they have value. Not the paper or computer data itself, but the mere ACCURATE RECORDKEEPING you maintain will add to the value of your business. If that is the case, then you should look at record keeping as an investment – not a cost.

Consider this, and it may shock you, but if you had your corporate books audited for three to five years BEFORE you sold the business, that alone could increase the consideration (money) paid to you as much as what you earn in a full year. So, if you make $500,000 per year, by just auditing what you already do as part of the business operations, you may add $500K to your pocket.

How many units sold or hours of services would your business have to sell in order for YOU to get an extra $500K in TAKE HOME pay?

In a business, most business owners will keep their records as simple as possible. Some I have dealt with over the years actually maintain very detailed and structured books. Regardless, the numbers you collect are a picture of effectively managing your business. They should not be viewed as a task that has no rewards.

The information you collect should satisfy two key criteria – financial and operational information. If done properly, and the systems you use allow for it, you can “kill two birds with one stone.” For example, recording an order and subsequent sale of a product or service should provide for both needs.

The financial information allows you to understand issues which are central to the financial well-being of your company. The lifeblood of a company must be reflected on its Balance Sheet. The Balance Sheet SHOULD reflect what you own, what you owe, and how much you are “technically worth.” What does “technically worth” even mean? Your Balance Sheet is the most important financial document you can produce, and it reflects values recorded AT COST. So, if you buy a widget, it gets recorded at cost. If the widget is still in stock a year from now, it may not reflect the current market value of the product. True market value is not reflected in your records, except if you have taken an allowance for things such as an inventory write-down.

Years ago, the cost of computer memory was so volatile, that accurate record keeping of value was near impossible because of fluctuations in what sometimes seemed hour to hour. When goods you own can be subject to incredible swings in value in short periods of time, special accounting must allow for that, and invariably, those allowances will show up on your Balance Sheet.

Keeping records accurate and up-to-date is a joint responsibility of you and your accountant. Many business owners rarely analyze their Balance Sheet, as they spend more time looking at the income statement and how much money is in the bank. However, your accountant should assist you to ensure that the numbers on the Balance Sheet are accurate and the process of recording the data is effective and timely.

You have three choices in an accountants review: compilations, reviews, and audits. Audits are not to be confused with a dreaded IRS review, but simply a review of the financial recording methods and data accuracy in conformity to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (or GAAP as it is known). It involves a number of key areas including accurate income and cost reflection to a particular date, sample validation of external unverified data (i.e., your outstanding A/R and A/P), and an evaluation of data recording processes (i.e., inventory recording and counts). It is a long process and can seem daunting, but if you are prepared for it, it is not a cost, but rather an investment in a 1X yearly earnings return.

Most sophisticated buyers WILL PAY additional value for audited returns. The reason is that they can rely on the information with a greater degree of certainty. Being able to rely on that information will be beneficial to a buyer because it will save them time during due diligence, possibly allow them to get better rates on debt acquired, and reduce the risk of loss.

So, if getting an audit could lead to a 1X multiple addition, what will you get with a review or a compilation? A review is, for simplicity purposes, a mid-ground that provides a less stringent review. Your accountant will not do external validation, nor ensure proper methods in inventory counts, but they will look at your entries, make appropriate accruals, and ensure that certain accounting standards are being followed. Yet, they will NOT certify your Balance Sheet.

With a compilation, your accountant will not attempt to verify anything, and will simply present the data you provide in an acceptable financial format. As you are most likely already aware, a compilation and review are less costly—significantly in some cases. Yet, how much will your price suffer if you were to get compilations or reviews?

Compilations will not allow for any added value. In fact, it may be viewed as a negative and cause buyers to not even consider an otherwise good business. With a review, you have a much better chance of a sale, but the likely “premium” will be between 0% and 20%. The marginal difference vs. an audit is large and makes you wonder why you have not done this before.

If you do have an audit, try having at least three years of audits. If your business is saleable, the cost of an audit will almost certainly be recouped during a sale. Preparing for an audit by updating your data collection, recording methodologies and internal review will also have the secondary benefit that improves your operation and, by extension, your bottom line. So, not only will you make more when you sell your business, but you will gain better intelligence about your business and also earn more money each year until it is sold.

Consider updating your financial recording and audit possibilities. A certified or qualified intermediary can help you prepare for that eventual sale date. Working also with your accountant, your “team” may help you, as a shareholder or member, to achieve an even better return than you thought ever possible. Remember, defending your company’s value is critical in the end. Use the 4 areas worth improvement to improve your payout.

Want to learn more about improving your internal records and their worth? Contact Calder Associates, and let us show you how we’ve helped businesses optimize their value with improved operational and financial records.

About the broker blog

The Blogger- Steve Wain

Steve is the President and CEO of Calder Associates worldwide operations, and also the past Chairman of the International Business Brokers Association, and President and Founder of the Mid-Atlantic Business Brokers Association. A professional whose owned and sold a number of businesses in the past, Steve has provided expertise to thousands of business owners and buyers. Steve’s background in technology and finance has served many business owners and buyers over the years. Steve is a Certified Business Intermediary (CBI), and one of a select few worldwide to be awarded the certification of Mergers and Acquisition Master Intermediary (M&AMI). Steve is also a frequesnt speaker at industry conferences, as well as mentor and educator to many professionals in the industry. Steve sits on the Boards of Directors of multiple companies and associations.

7 Strategies for Preparing a Privately Held Business for Sale

7 Strategies for Preparing a Privately Held Business for Sale

May 25, 2018 | Susan Rosner

7 Strategies for Preparing a Privately Held Business for Sale by Calder Associates

As experienced mergers and acquisitions advisors based in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., we have helped countless business owners with the sale of their businesses all over the world. Our ebook, 7 Strategies for Preparing a Privately Held Business for Sale, illustrates some of the methods we use to facilitate these transactions.

Need assistance with mergers and acquisitions? Our New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. offices are here to help – no matter where you are located. Call 800-419-5754 to experience the Calder difference today!

About the broker blog

The Blogger- Susan Rosner

Susan is a Managing Partner in Calder Associates and is responsible for Calder’s Pennsylvania, Delaware, and surrounding area. Susan’s past experience has served hundreds of business owners and buyers in their pursuit to sell or acquire the right business. A past President of the Lower Bucks Chamber of Commerce, business coach, and speaker at local business events and exit planning conferences, Susan has helped thousands of companies and individuals to success!

Tax Reform. Will The Law Help Me Sell My Business?

Tax Reform. Will The Law Help Me Sell My Business?

January 5, 2018 | Steve Wain

Tax Reform. Will The Law Help Me Sell My Business?

Clients, acquaintances, and friends have been asking us that question since the tax reform became law.

First, let’s review some of the major components of the law that could have an impact.

What the tax reform law does is principally lower taxes. But, since Congress needs to keep spending in line with revenues, the supply side theory also must allow for ‘shortfalls’ in the math, and that is where your business might be impacted.

For example, to ensure that appropriate revenue to pay for the federal budget is in place, certain tax deductions that you’ve been used to have been taken away. One key one is meals and entertainment. You can no longer write-off those sales and marketing events where you brought clients or prospects to say, the PGA golf tournament, or other sporting events. What does that removal do to your bottom line? How does that change your company’s approach to future sales generation?

Since the tax reform will also add to the country’s debt, any tax savings could be eaten away from likely future increases in the prime lending rate. If you invest heavily in capital equipment that could impact your going forward operations.

If you own your company and are a pass-through entity, you may not see any gains to your profits depending on your size and type of business. For many small businesses, there will be a 20% adjustment to your AGI, but that benefit is not available if you are a SERVICE company, or if you earn greater than approximately $315,000. Is that your company? Do you just perform services, or are you a manufacturer, or retailer?

Work with your tax advisor to get a detailed breakdown of the tax reform legislation. Inc. magazine has a summary of relevant point for businesses in this article. Or try this Journal of Accountancy article.

The answer to selling your business though lies in five easy questions.

First, are you mentally ready to sell? Consider your personal situation. Even without tax reform, would you be able to sell your business now? If not, it’s highly unlikely the tax reform will make your company more salable.

Second, are you a “C” Corp? If you own a “C” Corp, you may now gain additional interest from investors since the marginal tax rate has been reduced by 15%. What this will do will bring more interested buyers to the table. It will also allow you to impute a higher value since your free cash flow will be greater and therefore be able to service a higher debt limit that a buyer may need to get you to sell.

Third, do you have a service based pass-through entity like an ‘S’ Corp or an LLC/LLP? If you are an “S” Corp or LLC, the likelihood is that most of the value of your business, as viewed by an outside investor, will likely not change significantly. Yes, if you happen to have a low cash flow and are not a service based entity, there will be that 20% incentive, but for most business owners who’ve built up their business over the years and are now ‘ready’ to sell, their income will likely lead to exclusions or reductions of that allowance.

Fourth, will other personal tax reform changes COST you money? Start with this. Do you live in a high-tax state like NY, CT, NJ, CA? If so, most business owners will likely have new limitations to the deductibility of their yearly earnings related to state and local taxes as well as property taxes. If that changes your lifestyle, you may want to sell now and either retire, or even find/start a new opportunity in a new state, or at least one with a lower tax base.

Fifth, have you considered the future or are you stuck in the present? With all the elation of lower taxes will it improve your life and continue indefinitely? No one knows the future, but the new reforms do have some personal tax adjustments being terminated or phased out in the future years, so what’s a benefit to you today, and what a buyer sees for their personal benefit will not look as rosy in say 5-7 years.

Selling a business is not easy. Continuous changes to the economy, business operations, and your life make planning to sell a business difficult. Consider all your options. Look to the future, but be cognizant of where your company currently is in its lifecycle. If your company is really ‘ready to sell’, then consider it now – these reforms will only have prospective investors more interested!

Steve Wain is the President of Calder Associates. Steve advises companies on strategy, business sale preparation, finance, and process, technology, organizational, and financial improvements.

Considering selling or buying a business? Call the professionals at Calder Associates. Learn what your company is worth, and get educated on the process.

About the broker blog

The Blogger- Steve Wain

Steve is the President and CEO of Calder Associates worldwide operations, and also the past Chairman of the International Business Brokers Association, and President and Founder of the Mid-Atlantic Business Brokers Association. A professional whose owned and sold a number of businesses in the past, Steve has provided expertise to thousands of business owners and buyers. Steve’s background in technology and finance has served many business owners and buyers over the years. Steve is a Certified Business Intermediary (CBI), and one of a select few worldwide to be awarded the certification of Mergers and Acquisition Master Intermediary (M&AMI). Steve is also a frequesnt speaker at industry conferences, as well as mentor and educator to many professionals in the industry. Steve sits on the Boards of Directors of multiple companies and associations.

Why You Should Be Offering A Subscription Service

Why You Should Be Offering A Subscription Service

November 9, 2017 | Susan Rosner

Why You Should Be Offering A Subscription Service

Retail markets have been engulfed by a world of subscription services. Anything you can think of, from clothing to groceries, can be had on a subscription basis.

Why? Among other reasons, customers are busier than ever, and prioritize convenient, “set it and forget it” access to goods and services. As business brokers with clients in Philadelphia County, PA, Baltimore, MD, and throughout the States, we’ve been keeping an eye on the national subscription trend and what it means for our clients, especially in terms of annual revenue, value, and company longevity.

A Steady Revenue Stream

First and foremost, offering a subscription service to customers creates a consistent revenue stream. Keep in mind that the benefits may not be immediate: In the case of month-to-month subscriptions, it may take months or years for you to recover the cost of gaining a subscriber. However, as we’ll explain in a moment, the long-term benefits can be huge.

In the meantime, one way to avoid the waiting game presented by month-to-month subscriptions is to charge customers a subscription fee for the entire year. By doing so, you are making an up-front profit from your new customer and won’t find yourself starved for cash.

Long-Term Value

The addition of a subscription service truly pays off when it’s time to seek broker services for the purpose of selling your business. Business owners from New Jersey to California find that when it comes time for a business valuation, the presence of a subscription service increases the value of their business significantly. The dependable revenue stream created by the subscription service translates into long-term value, in turn making it more attractive to potential buyers.

Strengthening Brand Loyalty

When customers find themselves committing to an annual subscription, they are more likely to stay loyal to your company, out of a desire to get the most out of their investment in you. This core “fanbase” of dedicated subscribers will be incredibly attractive to potential buyers of your business – and will bolster the long-term success of your legacy after you pass your business on.

Subscription services are an excellent way to give customers what they want and keep them loyal to your brand, all while creating a satisfying stream of revenue that can maximize the value of your business.

Are you thinking of selling your business? Not ready yet, but looking for strategies to maximize value? Our Value Builder Score questionnaire and free e-book can provide invaluable insight. Contact Calder Associates today to learn more about how we can help.

About the broker blog

The Blogger- Susan Rosner

Susan is a Managing Partner in Calder Associates and is responsible for Calder’s Pennsylvania, Delaware, and surrounding area. Susan’s past experience has served hundreds of business owners and buyers in their pursuit to sell or acquire the right business. A past President of the Lower Bucks Chamber of Commerce, business coach, and speaker at local business events and exit planning conferences, Susan has helped thousands of companies and individuals to success!