The Financial Drivers of Business Valuation

This blog post was written by Jess Coles, Ninety Days’ commercial consultant.

A “bigger” business in terms of revenue or people does not equate to a more valuable business.

So what factors are considered in calculating business valuation? Business value is based on future cash-flows to the owners and the certainty of earning those future cash-flows.

There are many factors that impact the future performance of the business and we briefly explore the financial drivers of valuation.

Rate of growth

If you can increase your growth rate e.g. from 5% to 10%, and if the increase in growth rate is sustainable for a period of time, your business valuation can be increased significantly. Protecting your growth rate from new entrants or other competitors can be very valuable.

Increase length of competitive advantage

Competitive advantage allows you to generate more cash-flows for a period of time vs your competitors. It allows you to thrive rather than just survive. Extending customer contracts, strengthening your brand, or becoming the lowest cost producer are a few examples of how this might be achieved.

Reduce incremental investment spend

Reducing your investment spend while maintaining your current rate of growth is often possible, but not easy in most businesses. Be careful of cutting too much investment and impacting your future growth rate.

Increase operating margins

Higher profit levels translate into higher cash flows. Examples of increasing profits might include increasing pricing, reducing costs, increase volumes sold, improve the utilisation of assets & so on.

Reduce incremental working capital

Investment in Stock, Debtors and Creditors ties up a lot of cash in most companies. It is also an area that not enough companies focus on or understand in enough depth. Reducing the investment requirement (as a % of sales) supports the ability to grow and creates additional cash-flow to owners.

Reduce the cost of capital for the business

The cost of capital is effectively the return an investor requires to invest in the company. For example, debt investment has less risk than investing in shares, as debtors get paid first and as a result, demands lower returns. By changing the proportions of debt & shares, you are able to reduce the average cost of funding, and effectively leave more cash-flow for shareholders to be reinvested or distributed as dividends. Beware: increasing debt increases the financial risk profile of your business.

Reduce the cash tax rate

Tax is paid out before cash-flows are available to shareholders. Reducing your cash tax rate increases cash-flows to shareholders. Drive your operational performance and address tax as a secondary measure.

This blog post was written by Jess Coles, Ninety Days’ commercial consultant.