The value of your business comes down to a single equation: what multiple of your profit is a buyer willing to pay to acquire your business?

profit × multiple = value

Most owners believe the best way to improve the value of their business is to make more profit – so, they find ways to sell more and more. As experts in their industry, it’s natural that customers want to personally engage with them. This means spending more time on the phones, on the road and face-to-face to increase sales.

With this model, a business can slightly grow. But the owner’s life becomes much more difficult. Customers demand more time. Employees begin to burn out. Soon it feels like there are not enough hours in the day. Revenue flat lines, health can suffer, and relationships get strained. All from working too much. Does this feel familiar?

If you’re spending too much time and effort on increasing your profit, you could find yourself diminishing the overall value of your business. The solution? Focus on driving your multiple (the other number in the equation above). Driving your multiple will ultimately help you grow your business’ value, improve your profit and redeem your freedom.

What drives your multiple?

differentiated market position

Business acquirers only buy what they could not easily create. So, expect to be paid more if you have close to a monopoly on what you sell and/or are one of the few businesses who have been licensed to provide the specific product or service in your market.

lots of runway [leave something in it for the buyer]

Most founders think market share is something to strive for. But in the eyes of an acquirer, it can decrease the value of your business because you’ve already developed most of the opportunity.

recurring revenue

An acquirer is going to want to know how your business will do once you leave. Recurring revenue assures them that there will still be a business once the founder exits.


The size and profitability of your business will matter to investors. So will the quality of your bookkeeping. Up to date and well-presented information is essential.

the you factor

Strategic business buyers are not willing to pay to be locked into a business that is dependent on them. The most valuable businesses can thrive without their owners. Creating a well-run business that is less reliant on you is a key way of increasing your multiple and therefore your after-sales proceeds.

Related article: 5 signs your business is too dependent on you >>

Extracting yourself from the business needs to be a managed process and will take some time. However, the benefits are significant and include improved business performance, a more engaged team and ultimately a more valuable business. Most importantly you are creating a business that is less reliant on you that will be more attractive to buyers.

So, whether you are thinking of selling your business soon or just want to know you are building a valuable asset for the future give me a call to discuss ways of growing the multiple in your business.