How Much is Small Software Business Worth?

One colleague of mine asked me a question – “I have a selling software product. How much is this software business worth?” I think I can give an advice.

A small software business can be owned and operated by one person: a developer, salesman, manager, and holder – all in one. This business could be run at home or in a small office. It does not require massive investments to grow up – only a computer, Internet connection, web site, and lots of hard work. Well, you have run it, you are working hard, designing your product, promoting your site, attracting customers – and one day you feel you are rich and tired. You wish to load off your mind and sell your business with potential to grow.

How much does it cost?

Let’s say, for simplicity – you have designed the software title; possess a well-known web site; have a stable income and no registered legal entity, patens, or licenses. You are not selling your permanent assets – computers, developments tools, telecommunications, and the like. You have no other staff but yourself.

Here is a simple estimation formula:

Business costs = (Month net income * Forecasting period) – Holder changing expenses

Month net income = Income – Tax rate – Overhead expenses – Development costs

For example:

You are selling the software for $4000 per month.
You are paying the 20% taxes.

Expenses are $250 per month for hosting, advertising, etc.

You are planning – your software will be selling for the next 3 months without additional design and development. So the development costs = $0, Forecasting period = 3 months.

If you do not have a registered trademark, patens, LLC – your Holder changing expenses and registration fees = $0. So, the buyer spends nothing for registration.

Let us strike a balance:

Month net income = ($4000 income – 20% tax rate – $250 month expenses – $0) = $2950 per month

Business cost = ($2950 * 3 planning months) – $0 = $8850.00

Now, you have the justification for your price.

However, you need a strong argument – why do you want to sell your small gold-mine?

Good luck!

How Much is Your Business Worth?

There are 3 basic approaches to value your business: the Asset Approach, the Income Approach and the Market Approach.

The Asset Approach is based on the principle of substitution. Meaning, it assumes that no prudent buyer / investor would pay more for a particular business than the cost to reproduce it right across the street. The main flaw with the Asset Approach is that it does not do a good job of capturing intangible value (goodwill). How you (and your employees) treat your customers and the reputation you hold in the marketplace is not something easily duplicated (and therefore valued with the Asset Approach). So, beware of the limitations of this approach. Understand that although an Asset Approach provides a relative indication of value for highly asset intensive companies, it may serve merely as a liquidation value for your service oriented company. The Income Approach and Market Approach do a much better job of fairly capturing the value of your company’s goodwill or intangible value.

The Income Approach operates under the assumption that a buyer will pay for the cash flow that your business is set up to produce going forward as of the date of sale. Buyers buy cash flow. How much they are willing to pay for access to your cash flow depends on the risk associated with the buyer actually receiving it once you exit the business. If your company shows a consistent history of steady cash flow and/or growth a buyer is likely to pay more for your cash flow stream (less risk) than for the cash flow stream of a similar company with unstable cash that cannot reasonably be assumed to reoccur in future periods (more risk).

By valuing the cash flow of your company you are inherently valuing EVERYTHING that your company does. If your company did something different (made different decisions or operated under a different philosophy) your cash flow would look different and the value of your business would be different. Your cash flow reflects all the decisions you make within your company. So, I challenge you with this question, if the decisions you are making don’t increase your cash flow (and buyers will pay you only for your cash flow) why are you engaging in those activities that don’t result in increased cash flow? They are not adding value to your company.

The third approach to value is the Market Approach. If you own a home or have rented an apartment, you’ve done a form of the Market Approach. When you compare and contrast similar properties and then use the comparative data to value your property, you are doing a Market Approach. In residential real estate you may compare things like price/sq.ft. or price/bedroom and price/bathroom. Once you obtain these ratios from similar properties you multiply the ratio by the square footage, the number of bathrooms, or the number of bedrooms in your home to get to a value for your property.

You can do the same thing with businesses. However, as you may have guessed, the value of your business is not driven by its square footage and its bathrooms. It is driven by other metrics such as revenue, assets, growth, leverage, turnover, liquidity, etc. Publicly traded companies and transactions involving other private industry participants provide an understanding of how price relates to the various financial metrics of these companies. Then, just like we did in valuing your property, we apply these market ratios to the metrics of your business to determine its market value.

Valuation is a complex matter with many intricacies that are not discussed here. The purpose of this article is to familiarize you with the basic valuation approaches employed. I don’t recommend that you attempt to value your business without the help of a qualified expert. But, I do encourage you to gain an understanding of these approaches so you can better focus on building value within your business before it is time to sell.

Is Building a Network Marketing Business Worth It?

If you are not sure whether starting and building your own network marketing business is worth it, let me ask you this. Do you know how much it costs to start a regular business or franchise and how much the expenses are every month for these people? Let alone all the paperwork that needs be filed for the state, the employee insurances and taxes, etc.

If you want to learn about the costs involved in starting a franchise, you have to consider the franchise fee which is normally around $20,000, plus legal fees, build-out costs, inventory, supplies and your working capital, or the day-by-day cash that you will need on hand to run your business. As far as starting your own business, I can tell you from watching my husband closely who started his own business a couple of years ago that the start-up prices are quite high as are the monthly expenses, the paperwork is at times overwhelming, and if he doesn’t work, he doesn’t get paid.

However, one good thing these three ways of doing business have in common is that you get a tax-break. The government rewards those who decide to start their own small business and gives them many tax-breaks, whether they work from home, or they work from some type of locale or business building. However, many businesses that are self-started or franchised are noted to fail within a few years because the expenses are so overwhelming and they don’t find it worth the effort. However, those who see the value of building a network marketing style of business succeed.

Let’s look at some of the positive things Network Marketing offers us which is the reason motivated entrepreneurs succeed in this type of business. First of all, when you build your home-based business network marketing style, the start-up cost is very low compared to the other two ways aforementioned. The cost is normally between 40 and 200 dollars. The monthly expenses are low as well and normally are just to maintain the websites and back-office the company we partner with offers us, which have a ton of tools and training for us. A serious builder will also get business cards made up and get some DVDs and brochures that the company offers for their success, since we all may not be experts at the company or products, “but everyone can be an absolute master at using tools”, as Robert Butwin states in his book Street Smart Networking. There is no paperwork to be filed with the state, the shipping and handling services are handled by the company we partner with, and normally there is no inventory that we need to keep in our home. In addition to this, we can build our business as we go about our daily lives – continuing the job we already have whether it be stay-at-home parent, secretary, doctor, nurse, personal trainer, banker, etc. No matter what your occupation is, or what degree you may have gotten in school, or what gender and race you are, you can build your own business without tremendous risk and without having to take out a big loan or cash in all your savings.

Now let’s look at some of the frustrations we need to face at network marketers. The market has gotten a bad rep over the years because of all the people that simply signed up to get rich quick but were not really motivated and therefore quit before they experienced any real success. In addition, many people think that just the people on the top get rich, but those who sign up later will never make as much. Let me ask you this: when was the last time you noticed that the owners of a regular company – the company you currently work with or have worked with in the past – are those that make the most money, whereas the employees, you included, are simply getting paid a small paycheck, without any tax breaks?

Other frustrations may include telling people about the business (especially friends and family), approaching strangers about the products or business opportunity, not seeing quick results, and not knowing exactly what to do to make your business grow. Let’s approach each of these frustrations individually since they are all valid. First of all, if you have your own business, no matter what type it is, you NEED to tell others about your business. If you have started your own business non-network-marketing-style, who would you tell first? Strangers or your family and friends? I’m sure the answer would be a resounding family and friends. Well, approach your NWM business in the same way; you don’t want your family and friends to find out LATER that you have a business, so you? No… you want their support right off hand. Let them know your store is simply online, not offline, like many other companies have (which also have retail stores in your area). Secondly, we have approaching strangers, so let me ask you this: Do you have thousands of family members and friends that you don’t need to tell anyone else about your business and the products you offer? You believe the products are excellent and that is why you offer them, right? So tell others about them. If you don’t tell others, if you don’t advertise with whatever method you want, you will not be getting any business. You can’t just expect people to come knocking at your door or calling you if you don’t tell them you offer something, can you? As far as not seeing quick results goes, let me assure you that those who start their own business traditional style do not usually get quick results either, and yet their expenses keep piling up. And as far as not knowing exactly what to do to make your business succeed, I encourage you to simply look at and follow the roadmap that people that are in a rank above you have followed and succeeded. These people, and even the company itself, have taken the time to put together a roadmap, so all we need to do is follow it; it’s as simple as that. When you start your own business traditional style, there truly is no real roadmap to follow; you simply have to get out there and tell people about your business and talk to other entrepreneurs who have successful businesses of their own to see what they have done.

So, to answer the question “Is building a network marketing worth all the frustrations”, I would say it is, but you need to answer that question for yourself after reading this article in which I have written the positive things to consider, as well as addressed the frustrations that most people face. What do you think? Would you invest your time and effort in building a network marketing business yourself? Why or why not?