Believe it or not, there’s no right or wrong way to work out how much a business is worth. Experts use loads of different valuation methods — and the number those calculations come up with will vary greatly depending upon the criteria set forth.
That being said, if you know exactly what it is you value in a business, it’s not hard to work out a ballpark figure. After all, nobody in their right mind would pay for an existing business without knowing what it’s worth.
To help you get started, here are some of the Web’s top free business valuation calculators.
10 Business Valuation Calculators
CalcXML has been providing a wide range of financial tools to small businesses for a while now. And the company’s valuation calculator is a tried-and-tested model.
It’s a simple tool designed to give potential buyers a quick snapshot. It takes all of the basics into consideration, including: annual earnings, excess compensation and level of business risk. Best of all, it only takes a few minutes.
EquityNet is one of the globe’s leading pioneers in crowdfunding. Established in 2005, the platform works to connect thousands of entrepreneurs with investors of all shapes and size — and has already helped start-ups across the globe raise hundreds of millions in equity, debt and royalty-based capital.
As part of that mission, EquityNet provides a valuation calculator backed by real market data gathered from over 3,000 business across North America. That enables you to weigh the value of a business against potential competitors — which is a factor some analysts often overlook.
EquitNet also provides free calculators to work out a company’s profit margin, cash flow and startup risk.
ExitAdviser is an online support service that enables business owners to connect with potential buyers. In line with that service, ExitAdviser plays home to an extremely quick business valuation calculator designed to give potential buyers quick quotes.
To get an estimate, buyers simply need to enter net profit from a company’s most recent financial year and forecast its sales growth. That said, there are plenty of more advanced input options to help generate more accurate valuations.
Like most free valuation calculators, BizEx hosts a platform based upon the ‘Multiple of Earnings’ method. But their calculator is far more advanced than most of the free models you’ll find kicking about on other sites.
By including an in-depth breakdown of a company’s discretionary and multiple earnings, you’re able to create instant valuation ranges depending upon a range of variables. Afterwards, you’re given the option to talk these numbers over with a broker if you’re so inclined.
5. Bridge Ventures
The Bridge Ventures calculator is designed to create an estimated market value for a company based upon a diverse set of attributes. Technically speaking, this calculator is only meant to be used for small businesses with revenues of under $2 million.
It’s worth noting this calculator is most compatible with Google Chrome, as there are a few unwanted kinks when opened on Internet Explorer. That said, it’s a simple calculator that renders quality results.
6. Hadley Capital
Hadley Capital’s business valuation calculator is slightly different, in that it applies a multiple of EBITDA to determine the Enterprise Value of your business. In general, a small business will usually trade for around three or four times its normalized EBITDA. That said, the multiple will slide dramatically based upon a variety of characteristics specific to your business.
This calculator understandably places particular emphasis on your annual EBITDA, annual capital expenditures and how much of your revenue comes from top customers.
7. John Hancock Life Insurance
John Hancock has been around for a long time. As such, you’d expect the company to have worked out a pretty reliable way in which to tally up the value of a business.
First-time buyers may be inclined to check out this calculator, as it includes an incredibly useful glossary of terms designed to cut through all of the meaningless financial jargon associated with business valuations. It also clearly explains all methodologies involved in calculating your valuation.
8. MassMutual Financial Group
MassMutual is an all-encompassing insurance provider that represents over 13 million clients across the globe. Consequently, the company values user experience far more than some of the industry’s smaller websites. Its business value calculator is no exception.
This user-friendly calculator very clearly and concisely walks you through every step of the valuation process in order to work out a decent estimate in as little as two minutes.
HelpSME is a great resource for small businesses in need of tutorials and advice. That’s why the site offers an easy-to-use valuation calculator using the Net Present Value (NPV) method. This approach uses a company’s future cash flows to try and work out how much it’s worth in the here and now.
HelpSME’s calculator also includes useful guides designed to help you wrap your head around the value provided.
10. National Life
National Life is an all-encompassing collective of financial services companies, and its online valuation calculator draws upon that power in order to generate fairly well-informed market estimates.
Similar to HelpSME, National Life’s calculator finds the worth of a company by looking at the present value of its expected future earnings. It places particular consideration on a company’s lack of marketability and excess compensation.
In the same way that no two valuations are alike, it’s crucial to bear in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive. There are loads of brilliant valuation calculators online that you can use in order to generate a snapshot of how much a business may be worth.
Just remember: these free business valuation calculators aren’t always accurate. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to do your homework in order to ensure you’ve put in (or accepted) the best possible offer for an existing company.
Calculator Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "10 Business Valuation Calculators To Gauge Value of A Business for Sale" was first published on Small Business Trends