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12 Min. Read

Understanding the Top Business Valuation Methods

Understanding the Top Business Valuation Methods

Are you looking for a way to determine the value of your business?

The valuation of a company is an important component in any deal. There are many different methods and mastering at least one will help avoid overpaying for assets. In this article, we review some common valuation methods and how they work. It will cover three popular ways to value a company. These include the discounted cash flow method (DCF), comparable companies analysis (CCA) and precedent transactions analysis (PTA).

These are just some of the most common ways that businesses can be valued but there are others as well. It’s also important to note that each technique has its own strengths and weaknesses so it’s best to use multiple approaches when valuing a business. Let's get started!

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

How Do You Value a Company?

Why Is It Important to Establish Business Valuations?

Our Top 3 Common Business Valuation Methods with Examples

A Few Other Business Valuation Methods

What Types of Professionals Are Available to Help When Buying or Selling a Business?

When is the Best Time to Buy or Sell a Business?

Key Takeaways

How Do You Value a Company?

The first step in valuing a company is to understand the different approaches that are available. There are many but we will cover three that are common and widely used for business valuation purposes. We then discuss how to use them, when it's appropriate to use them and what the best applications are for each method.

It's important to value a company in the right way to ensure that you are making an accurate assessment of its worth. Don't overpay or undervalue the business. This could have dire consequences for your finances. The valuation of a company can be used in various ways including for mergers and acquisitions (M&A), raising capital, buying assets or using it as collateral.

Do Small Businesses Need to Understand Their Company's Value?

Valuing a small business is important. It can help to set appropriate selling prices for the business and ensure that you don't overpay. It also serves as a benchmark for future investment. Having accurate financial numbers can also help increase your chances of getting funding from banks or investors in the future.

Small business owners should always seek to understand the value of their company. This will help them determine whether or not they are becoming more profitable, where to invest capital and what kind of policies should be implemented for future growth. It also helps them determine what cost of capital they can afford.

Why Is It Important to Establish Business Valuations?

Business valuations are important because they ensure that the business is being given a fair assessment of its worth. It ensures that if you sell your company, you don't lose money or leave money on the table. This is known as fair market value.

It also helps to understand how profitable and valuable the company is in relation to competitors. This can help you make more informed decisions about your business. If the company is extremely valuable, you might want to sell it for a large sum of money or take advantage of an investment opportunity.

Understanding the value of businesses helps ensure that they are not undervalued and overpaying for assets. This will allow them to avoid financial trouble in the long run.

Investors and entrepreneurs use different valuation methods to determine the value of a business because there are different strategies that can be employed. While this article focuses on three popular approaches, we encourage you to continue your research. Find one that works for you and your current situation.

Our Top 3 Common Business Valuation Methods with Examples

Three of the most common and widely used techniques for business valuation are detailed here. They are the discounted cash flow method, comparable companies analysis and precedent transactions analysis. They use financial statements and documents to determine a company's value. Let's take a look at each of them. We will discuss how to use them, when to use them and what the best applications are for each method.

1. Discounted Cash Flow Method (DCF)

This technique provides an estimate of the cash flow that a business is expected to generate in the future. The expected value of these future cash flows is then discounted at an appropriate rate of return to give you the present value of the company.

The DCF method is best used when forecasting future free cash flows or net income after taxes. This can be done for up to five years. The most important number is typically the Enterprise Value (EV). This is equal to equity value plus net debt. We provide an example below of how to use the DCF method for valuation purposes.

One of the best applications for DCF is when a company is looking to acquire another business. The EV can be calculated and compared to the price of other businesses in a similar industry or sector. If there are multiple companies being acquired, then this would be a good analysis to run. It provides a quick way to determine if a business is overpriced or underpriced relative to other similar companies.

Example of DCF Method

Company ABC is being acquired by Company XYZ in a stock-for-stock deal. The price per share will be $100 and there are 1 million shares outstanding. There is no debt on the books. Net income for this example will equal to the amount of operating cash flows generated after taxes, depreciation & amortization and working capital.

Let's say that we forecast 5 years of free cash flows using the DCF model:

Year 1 - $10/share

Year 2 - $11.00/share

Year 3 - $12.50/share

Year 4 - $14.75/share

Year 5 - $16.40/share

5-year total = $64.65/share

This means the EV for this company is $64.65 million ($64.65 x 1 million shares).

2. Comparable Companies Analysis

This approach compares your company's valuation with similar publicly traded companies in the same industry. It uses the market value of equity for these companies to determine if your business is over or undervalued compared to its peers.

One common comparable companies analysis metric is Enterprise Value-to-EBITDA (EV/EBITDA). You can use this multiple to get an estimate of what similar companies are worth.

The valuation multiple used for this calculation depends on the sector that your company operates in. Multiple ranges can be found through research or utilizing a marketable securities database like Capital IQ or Bloomberg Terminal. Most of these reports will also include a normalized earnings range for that particular industry or sector.

A multiple of 10x-12x is typical for many businesses, as well as many B2B companies (business to business). A multiple of 15x-20x+ is typical for most tech and consumer businesses.

As long as there are similar public companies to compare your company with, then you can run this analysis.

3. Precedent Transaction Analysis

This technique uses the enterprise value multiples paid for similar business transactions in the past to determine if a given deal is fair or not. This method has been gaining popularity over the last few years due to its simplicity and wide use of previous transactions in determining valuation multiples.

The best way to run a precedent analysis is to find similar companies in the same industry or sector. Then, analyze how their market value has changed over time in terms of Enterprise Value-to-EBITDA (EV/EBITDA). This multiple is used in the comparables analysis, but this makes it easier to see how the market value has changed over time.

The same process can be done using price-to-sales multiples. It's best to look at peer companies that have similar growth rates and margins. This will allow you to find a "peer group" for your own company. This makes it easier when analyzing previous transactions for similar businesses.

A Few Other Business Valuation Methods

The three above are some of the most common. Many methods exist though. Here are a few others you could consider as well.

Asset-Based Valuation

An asset-based valuation analyzes the business' assets (tangible and intangible), liability, management expertise and growth prospects to determine a value. This method looks only at the book value of assets on your company's balance sheet. It doesn't give any consideration to its market or replacement value.

The ongoing business value is calculated by subtracting the book value of its liabilities from its assets. Then you'll add any net operating income. Finally subtract a capitalization rate to get its value.

Book Value

This is the original value of an asset according to its balance sheet. This number also only considers the recorded cost of assets less any depreciation. The book value will not consider market value or replacement costs.

Book value can be good for an asset-based valuation because it's easy to compute. It can also be good for a liquidation value, but not likely the best method to determine overall business value.

Earnings Approach

This method is based on future cash flows of the business. You'll forecast how much cash you expect to generate during its next few years and then discount it back to the present. You can do this using either an increased or decreased growth rate, depending on the industry you're in.

This method is good for new businesses that have a lot of growth potential. It's also helpful if you expect cash to be your primary reason for selling the business. It won't work well if you have a lot of assets that you expect to sell,'s dollars. This would require a more asset-based valuation.

Market Approach

This method calculates the business value using comparable public company data. You'll need to select companies similar in size, growth rate and risk factor. Then you divide their multiples to estimate your own valuation multiple. This approach allows you to compare your company with other companies in its industry or sector. It can be helpful for new businesses that don't have a lot of comparables.

There are many more valuation methods out there, but these are the most basic and common ones. Every company is different though. It's important to find a method that best suits your needs. Make sure you do some research before deciding on one. If you need help with this, you can consult a business broker or accountant.

What Types of Professionals Are Available to Help When Buying or Selling a Business?

Professional advisory and support services for businesses can include: accountants, lawyers, business brokers and more. These professionals can be excellent resources to use to determine if now is the right time for you to buy or sell a business.

Utilizing a professional could save you tens of thousands to millions of dollars. It's important to consult with these individuals before you make any decisions. They can help to ensure your best interest is kept in mind at all times.

Here's a bit more about each one.


Accountants can be a great asset before you buy or sell a business. They can advise on issues like initial value estimates, tax implications of your sale, how to structure the deal and more.


A lawyer's help would primarily be useful during negotiations, making sure all legalities are taken care of. This would include terms like indemnification, allocating liability and more.

Business Brokers

When you're buying a business, the broker's job would be to help find you what you need. They also ensure it is a good fit for your needs. When selling, the business broker can help with negotiations and get the best deal possible.

When is the Best Time to Buy or Sell a Business?

Owning a business can bring many rewards, but it also comes with risk. This especially includes the financial side of things. It's important to determine if you're going forward with a business purchase or sale before making any decisions.

Here's a list of questions that can help you determine if now is the best time for you:

  • Are there any market trends?
  • Is the industry expanding or contracting?
  • What are your competitors doing and what does this mean for your business?

The answers to these questions can help you determine the best course of action for your business.

Key Takeaways

Business valuations can be very complicated. You'll need to consider a variety of factors, including the type of business you have, where you are located and more.

There are many different methods you can use to evaluate your business. Make sure you do your research. Choosing the wrong method could cost you tens of thousands or even millions of dollars.

This makes it even more important for you to find a professional who will work with you. These valuation professionals can help you determine the best course of action. Accountants, lawyers and more can also be excellent resources to help you decide if now is the right time for you to buy or sell a business. It's important to consult with them before making any decisions. They can help ensure your best interest is kept in mind at all times.

This article discusses top business valuation methods and related topics like how to value a company. It also discussed if business valuation is important for small businesses and more.