What justifies a higher or lower sales price?

Higher Sales Price:
  • A consistent historical record of growth and profitability
  • 10+ years in business
  • Substantial hard asset value
  • Owner retirement
  • Absentee ownership
  • Stable management team in place
  • Long-term quality employees and customers
  • A broad diverse customer base
  • Apparent competitive advantages
  • Proprietary or exclusive products
  • Obvious opportunity for growth and/or obviously under-performing
  • Very clean books and records
  • Up to date assets and premises in superior condition
  • Highly favorable lease terms or ownership of real property
  • Desirable location
  • A high demand enterprise (manufacturing, distribution, or business to business service)
  • Favorable seller financing
  • Easy to understand motivation for selling
Lower Sales Price:
  • An inconsistent record of historical profitability
  • Less than 3 years in business
  • Little if any hard asset value
  • Owner critical to operations, professional practices, or consulting
  • Substantial involvement of family or partners in operations
  • Few employees or a high employee turnover
  • Small customer base
  • A few customers accounting for substantial percentage of revenue
  • No apparent barrier for completion to enter the business
  • No clear opportunity for growth and/or improvement in operations
  • Questionable financial records
  • Out dated assets in need of replacement or heavy maintenance
  • Obvious deferred maintenance or capital reinvestment
  • Premises in disarray and/or unsuitable for operations
  • Unfavorable terms on leases
  • Undesirable location
  • A low demand enterprise (retail, bar, restaurant, or personal services)
  • Unfavorable terms owner unwilling to finance, all cash required
  • Questionable rationale for sale

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