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Business Valuation For Dummies


Your hands-on guide to calculating — and understanding — business value

Want to determine the value of a business, but not sure where to start? This plain-English guide gives you step-by-step directions for the major valuation methods, supporting them with real-world examples. You'll work with easy-to-understand valuation models and apply them to different types of businesses to achieve the fairest, most affordable valuation solution.

  • Business valuation 101 — learn what it is, why it's a challenge, and the approaches that experts take to uncover value (or the lack of it)
  • Grasp key valuation tools — understand valuation reports, financial statements, and "rule of thumb" guidelines for specific businesses

  • Get to the heart of it — analyze historical performance, evaluate assets and income value, and estimate cost of capital

  • If you're selling a business — see how to conduct due diligence and increase your company's value

  • If you're buying a business — incorporate valuation into the necessary prep before negotiation

  • Seek help from the experts — from divorce to estate planning to attracting outside investors, know when and why you should get outside valuation help

Open the book and find:

  • Real-world advice on planning and executing valuation
  • The role of the supporting players in the valuation process

  • Detailed case studies on buying and selling businesses

  • How forensic accounting fits into valuation

  • The soft and hard skills needed for successful valuation

  • What to build into a partnership agreement

  • Why you should pause before transforming your company into an ESOP

Lisa Holton is a former business editor and reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. Today, she heads The Lisa Company, a writing, editing, and research firm. She's a writer for corporations, colleges, and nonprofits nationwide, and has written more than 13 books.

Jim Bates is Vice President, Transaction Support, for the Christman Group, a middle-market investment banking firm based in Palatine, IL.


Part I: What Business Valuation Means.

Chapter 1: The Value of Understanding Business Valuation.

Chapter 2: What Triggers a Business Valuation?

Chapter 3: Understanding the Tangibles and Intangibles of Business Valuation.

Chapter 4: Approaches and Methods — Basic Theories of the Valuation Process.

Chapter 5: The Challenge of Valuation in a Knowledge Economy.

Part II: Getting Familiar with Valuation Tools, Principles, and Resources.

Chapter 6: Getting Familiar with a Typical Valuation Report.

Chapter 7: Meeting the Supporting Players in the Valuation Process.

Chapter 8: Understanding Financial Statements.

Chapter 9: Using Rule-of-Thumb Valuations for Mom-and-Pop Businesses.

Part III: If You’re Selling a Business . . . .

Chapter 10: Making Sure You’re Ready to Sell.

Chapter 11: Deciding What to Do about the Family Company.

Chapter 12: Due Diligence on the Sell Side.

Chapter 13: Case Study: Valuation on the Sell Side.

Part IV: If You’re Buying a Business . . . .

Chapter 14: How Do You Know Whether You’re Ready to Buy?

Chapter 15: Moving from Valuation to Negotiation.

Chapter 16: Due Diligence on the Buy Side.

Chapter 17: Forensic Accounting and the Due Diligence Process.

Chapter 18: Case Study: Valuation on the Buy Side.

Part V: Don’t Try This at Home! Turning Things Over to the Valuation Experts.

Chapter 19: Divorce.

Chapter 20: Estate Planning and Gifting.

Chapter 21: Attracting Outside Investors to Your Startup.

Part VI: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 22: Ten Reasons to Consider a Prenup.

Chapter 23: Ten Questions to Answer Before Considering a Partnership Agreement.

Chapter 24: Ten Things to Consider Before Transforming Your Company Into an ESOP.