Sunday, November 23, 2014

Want to be More Valuable Than Your Industry Peers?

The value of your company is dependent upon many things, including your industry.  When we look at businesses within the same industry, there are major variations in valuation.  Here are 10 things that will make your company more valuable than its industry peer group. 

1. Recurring Revenue
The more revenue you have from automatically recurring contracts or subscriptions, the more valuable your business will be to a buyer.  Even if subscriptions are not the norm in your industry, if you can find some form of recurring revenue it will make your company much more valuable than those of your competitors.

2. Satisfied Customers
Being able to objectively demonstrate that your customers are happy and intend to re-purchase in the future will make your business more valuable than an industry peer that does not have a means of tracking customer satisfaction.

3. Diversification
Acquirers will pay a premium for companies that naturally hedge the loss of a single customer.  Ensure no customer amounts for more than 10 percent of your revenue and your company will be more valuable than an industry peer with just a few big customers.

4. Growth
Acquirers looking to fuel their top line revenue growth through acquisition will pay a premium for your business if it is growing much faster than your overall industry. 

5. Predictability
If you have mastered a way to win customers and documented your sales funnel with a predictable set of conversion rates, your secret customer-acquiring formula will make your business more valuable to an acquirer than an industry peer who does not have a clue where their next customer will come from.

6. A Management Team
Companies with a management team or second-in-command who has agreed to stay on post sale are more valuable than businesses where all the power and knowledge are in the hands of the owner.

7. Something Unique
Buyers buy what they cannot easily replicate on their own, which means companies with a unique product or service that is difficult for a competitor to knock off are more valuable than a company that sells the same commodity as everyone else in their industry.

8. Location
If you have a great location with natural physical characteristics that are difficult to replicate (imagine an oceanfront restaurant on a strip of beach where the city has stopped granting new licenses to operate), you will have buyers willing to pay a premium for you business in its location.

9. Media Hype
Tired old companies often try to buy sex appeal through the acquisition of a trendy young company in their industry.  If you are the darling of your industry trade media, expect to get a premium acquisition offer.   

10. Clean Books
Companies that invest in audited statements have financials that are generally viewed by acquirers as more trustworthy and therefore worth more.  You may want to get your books reviewed professionally each year even if audited statements are not the norm in your industry.

Like a rising tide that lifts all boats, your industry typically defines a range of multiples within which your business is likely to sell for; but whether you fall at the bottom or the top of the range comes down to factors that have nothing to do with what you do, but instead, how you do it.