Three common methods of valuating a business

There are three common methods of valuating a business: 

  • discounted cash flow (DCF)
  • asset-based valuation
  • valuation multiples.
Below you can find more detailed instructions on how to utilise each method.
Discounted cash flow
Asset-based valuation
Valuation multiples

Actual transaction price is a result of the negotiations

The various valuation models are theoretical, as they are based on financial statements data. The real value and the potential transaction price of a company are also impacted by many other factors. SMEs don’t have a liquid market, which is why their transaction price in a business acquisition is influenced by a combination of factors. The final price is agreed on during the negotiations and depends on the circumstances and motivations of both the buyer and the seller at the time. Factors that bring the price down are often related to the seller’s circumstances and poor profit trends, which increase the buyer’s bargaining power, or the fact that the seller is ill-prepared for the acquisition process. Conversely, factors that raise the price include the target company’s attractive strategic position and strong foothold in its market, a large number of prospective buyers and a well-prepared acquisition process. 

Business valuation as a tool in value creation

Valuation methods provide a solid framework for business development even if you’re not planning to sell your business. They may help you prioritise certain actions and think about goals that might be less obvious than enabling growth and cutting costs, for example. 

The means for growing your company’s value are, however, not dependent on its current valuation and actual value.  Growing net sales and accelerating this growth will naturally increase your company’s value as long as the growth is profitable. Profitability is widely measured by the EBITDA percentage and the return on equity. Increasing profitability increases value, as does risk management. Investments tie up more capital. Your company’s value is measured by the return on capital, which means that tied up additional capital decreases its value. Capital tied up in working capital is just as significant as capital used for investments. Value decreases when working capital increases. Your company’s value is measured by the return on capital, which means an increase in the return requirement and cost of capital decreases the company’s value. The most obvious way to increase your company’s value is profitable growth.