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If your business survives on the basis of being a distributor for one key supplier (i.e. selling another company’s product/service), it may be time to rethink your business model or, at the very least, rethink the way you view your business. When was the last time you used a travel agent, went to a CD store or rented a movie from the local blockbuster? Travel agencies have yielded to the rise of online travel booking companies. CD stores have succumbed to online music services such as iTune...

If your revenue starts to plateau after a period of rapid growth, you may have fallen into The Mile Wide Trap - not a good situation if you are looking to maximize the value of your business. To illustrate, consider a public relations (PR) firm started by an entrepreneur who originally spent ten years learning a variety of marketing disciplines (e.g. PR, advertising, direct marketing, social media, etc.) as an employee at a big advertising agency. Given her experience and connections, she qu...

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking at the CICBV 2013 Eastern Regional Conference on the issue of business valuation and exit planning in light of the unprecedented transfer of business wealth expected over the coming decade. [1] Our panel, moderated by Bill Vienneau, Partner at WBLI, Chartered Accountants in Halifax, consisted of Doug Bruce, VP Research at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), Trevor Allibon, Manager Subordinate Financing at the Business Development Ba...

You have now completed your review of a business valuation report by considering:

  • The type of valuation report;
  • The author’s credentials and qualifications;
  • Any scope limitations underlying the conclusions;
  • The valuation approach(es) adopted;
  • The reasonableness of the projected cash flows or historical normalization items;
  • The reasonableness of the discount rate, capitalization rate or valuation multiplier;
  • ...

You have now completed your review of a business valuation report by considering: 1. The type of valuation report; 2. The author’s credentials and qualifications; 3. Any scope limitations underlying the conclusions; 4. The valuation approach(es) adopted; 5. The reasonableness of the projected cash flows or historical normalization items; 6. The reasonableness of the discount rate, capitalization rate or valuation multiplier; 7. Any redundant assets owned by the business; 8. The income tax imp...

I recently had the privilege of hearing Garth Stephanson speak at the May 2013 Estate Planning Council of Toronto dinner.  Garth’s story was fascinating and he provided extremely valuable advice for business owners when it comes to building a business for a successful transition.  His advice is especially critical given the implications for business owners of the unprecedented transfer of business wealth expected over the coming decade. After 32 years as CEO, Garth sold his manufacturing b...

Does the valuation report provide sufficient reasoning and rationale to support its findings?  This is a key question to ask when reviewing a business valuation report given that business valuations are somewhat subjective in nature. Step 9 to reviewing a business valuation report involves assessing the reasonableness of the value conclusions, including the implied intangible value, and/or identifying what reasonableness testing the valuator used to support his/her findings.  Here are 6 reaso...

Income tax considerations are vital to conducting a proper business valuation.  Step 8 to reviewing a business valuation report involves ensuring the value conclusion incorporates the relevant income tax considerations. The value of an operating business is dependent on its ability to generate discretionary after-tax cash flows.  In cases where business value is driven by the underlying asset values, such as real estate holding companies, important income tax considerations must als...

Does the company own assets that are not integral to the business operations or required to generate revenues?  If so, have these assets been appropriately reflected in the valuation of the business? Step 7 to reviewing a business valuation report involves identifying any redundant assets the business owns and ensuring they have been valued separately and added to the value of the business operations otherwise determined. Redundant assets are defined as tangible and identifiable intangible as...

Do you need a superstar sales rep to build your business for a successful transition? Actually, you should avoid the trap of relying on one superstar sales rep if you want to maximize the value of your business.  To maximize value, a seller must be confident that the company will continue to generate sales after you are gone.  Many business owners think that hiring one superstar salesperson to replace themselves as a rainmaker is the answer.  Doing so, however, may simply trade a dependence ...