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? Value It With a Business Valuation Calculator

Valuation Potential

There are more than 10 ways to value your business. Each method will provide you with a slightly different answer. One of the more common methods that business brokers use is to value your business is based on how much cash the business will generate in the long term. Business brokers then discount this cash to today’s value. This allows Business brokers to gain a clear understanding of the value of the business in today’s value.

With online calculators assumptions need to be made in order to generate a valuation figure. Given the value of your business profit, we then need to understand how much actual cash you have available in the business. Probably the largest player to impact upon this level of cash is the tax man. The tax man unfortunately wants a significant slice of your profits. When your business therefore earns a profit of $100,000 you effectively only end up with a lesser amount in the bank, as cash after you have paid your tax bill.

The other major assumption that needs to be made, is what we call the “weighted cost of capital”. This might be more simply referred to as the risk of lending money to the business. If your business is a low risk proposition and your future income is guaranteed then this figure would be down at around 4%. However for most small businesses there is a high degree of risk that earnings will remain constant over the next 10 years, so we apply a risk factor of 15-20% or even greater for higher risk enterprises.

With online business valuation calculator, the model calculates your sales and profits over the next 10 years and then discounts this by the “weighted cost of capital” rate.

There are many more factors that could be taken into account including capital injections and expenditures, depreciation and even whether the owners of the business are being paid a fair salary.

Online Business Valuation calcutors can provide an indicative valuation of a business by using discounted cash flow and weighted cost of capital.

How Much Is My Business Worth?

Did you ever notice that the attitude of a seller of real estate is often substantially different than the attitude of a buyer? Sellers have been known to irrationally claim their property has more value than it does, despite evidence to the contrary.

The buyer often sneers at the seller’s price, and claims the property is hardly worth buying, that the seller is crazy, and that as long as the seller thinks he has such a treasure trove, he can keep it.

Now here’s where it really gets fascinating. All buyers eventually become sellers. Some well meaning folks will display both attitudes, first the buyer’s attitude when they purchase (This property is hardly worth buying.), and then years later when they are ready to sell, they display the seller’s attitude (This property is a hidden treasure worth far more than I paid for it, and any buyer would be lucky to have it.). I love to watch and learn about human behavior, and this behavior fascinates me.

Let me bring this home to roost where the most eggs are laid. Small business owners. Many small business owners drive a hard bargain when they purchase their business. During the years they run the business, many don’t show all the income on their tax return. For example, it is commonly known that coin operated businesses are ripe with opportunities to skim coins off the top without reporting that as income. Another approach, within legal limits, is to deduct the heck out of everything and show virtually zero net income. And the Trap . . .

Is that when it comes time to sell, they want more than they can justify, because they can’t prove to the buyer it really makes all that income.

Key Point. When you purchase a business, always operate the business as though you intend to sell it to get the highest possible FMV. If you can’t prove income, you won’t get your price.