My business is worth WHAT?!?!

Business Owner

“I’ve decided it’s time to retire. What’s my business’s value?”


How much do you think it’s worth?

Business Owner

I really don’t know but, if I had to guess, I’d say around $2.5 Million.


Well, uhhhh, actually, you might find that if we did a valuation of the business, it may only be worth about $500,000.

Business Owner

That’s impossible, I can’t retire on that…

And so it goes. That’s probably not what you want to hear is it? Sorry, but in many cases the above is reality. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be you.

The fact is most business owners don’t think about what their business is worth until it’s too late. The vast majority of owners don’t plan for the sale of their business and as a result they don’t take any (and I do mean ANY) steps to maximize their return on their years of investment.

That’s a symptom associated with owners that spend too much time working IN their business and not enough time ON their business. These owners don’t think in terms of selling their business at some point in time. Frequently, they view the business as a vehicle that provides them with an income and there is a rather fuzzy thought or picture involving a sale to fund their retirement.

Consider this…

For most business owners their business is the single largest value asset they have.

At the time of retiring the average business owner in Australia does not have a funded pension beyond what they have set aside in their own and their spouse’s Superannuation; most will have a personal residence that has only recently had the mortgage paid off and less will have a significant investment portfolio. Remember, these are averages so your circumstances may be better or worse off. In many situations the family business will be the most significant financial asset available to provide for the owner’s retirement years.

You should be asking yourself these questions:

  1. Do I really know what my business is worth?
  2. Have I had a business valuation prepared recently?
  3. Do I know what factors drive the value of my business?
  4. What things should I be doing right now that will influence the value I receive when it’s time to retire or sell?
  5. Should I be making some provision for the business in my retirement planning?

It helps if you think about the family business as an investment just as you would your shares. The sale of a business is almost always a very emotional ordeal for owner/managers and, as we can all probably attest, emotion is not always helpful to us in reaching sound financial decisions.

Our experience has been that owners frequently think of their business “as their baby” because of the years of work (sweat and tears), nurturing and growing the business. The business, whether we want to admit it or not, has wound its way through our lives and impacts on almost everything we have done since we started it.

However, you need to keep in mind that there are some big differences between your business and publicly traded shares beyond the emotional issues. You need to know that two of the biggest differences are:

  1. There may not be a ready market for your company, and
  2. The market price for your business can vary significantly depending on the purchaser you are able to attract.

Of course, you can influence both to your advantage, but only if you start planning now! It’s never too early to adopt this mindset. It’s no coincidence that the things that will increase the value of your business will make your business life more rewarding and enjoyable!

Your business, if properly run and prepared for sale, could (and I would suggest should) eclipse the value of your other assets at the time of your retirement or the sale of your business.

We can help you in ensuring that your business practices are maximizing your business value.



Adrien Giraud
Director – Business Improvement
P: +618 6315 2755

The material and contents provided in this value publication are informative in nature only.  It is not intended to be advice and you should not act specifically on the basis of this information alone.  If expert assistance is required on learning the value of a business, professional advice should be obtained.

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