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Exit on Top: Dave Bookbinder’s Guide to Preparing Your Business for Maximum Valuation


Exit on Top: Dave Bookbinder’s Guide to Preparing Your Business for Maximum Valuation

By , May 24, 2024
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You’ll be surprised to learn the unexpected key to increasing your business’s valuation and successful exit strategy. It’s all about the intangible assets and a forward-looking approach. Discover how to maximise your business’s value and de-risk it for a successful exit strategy.

Dave Bookbinder, the Executive Director of Valuation Services at Haefele Flanagan, brings a wealth of expertise in business valuation to the table. With a background in corporate finance and an MBA in finance, Dave’s journey into valuation work was a twist of fate that led him to discover his passion for this field. As the host of a business talk show and the author of two books, Dave is dedicated to proving the value of individuals within a company. His insights into valuation and the intricacies of EBITDA multiples provide a nuanced understanding that will benefit business owners looking to maximise their business’s value for a successful exit strategy.

In this episode, you will be able to:

  • Uncover the secrets to valuing your business for a successful exit strategy.
  • Discover the powerful impact of employee engagement on your business’s value.
  • Learn how intellectual property plays a crucial role in determining your business’s valuation.
  • Explore de-risking strategies that can significantly increase the value of your business.
  • Evaluate the pros and cons of fixed price versus hourly billing models for maximizing your business’s worth.

Power of Intellectual Property in Business Value

Intellectual Property (IP) such as trademarks, customer relationships, and technology drastically augment business value. In the modern business ecosystem, intangible assets such as IP have emerged as significant drivers of business value over traditional tangible assets. By effectively leveraging these assets, entrepreneurs can bolster the trajectory of their businesses’ success.

Watch the episode here:

Welcome to the podcast that’s dedicated to helping business owners to prepare for exit so you can maximise value and then exit on your terms. This is the Exit Insights podcast presented by succession. Plus, I’m Darryl Bates-Brownsword, and today I’ve got a special guest with me. I’m talking to Dave Bookbinder. Dave is the Executive Director of Valuation Services at Haefele Flanagan.

Welcome, Dave and thanks for joining me today.

Hey, Darryl, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Brilliant. So, Dave, the reason I asked you to join me is that you specialise in valuing a business. And it’s something at the top of every SME Business owner’s mind is, will I be able to sell my business? Will I be able to get enough for what I think it’s worth? How will a buyer think it value my business?

And if we’ve got some understanding of how a buyer will value my business, then I’ve got an indication of what I need to do to sort of prepare my business to make it attractive to be bought. And I’ve got every chance of maximising my value. And what I’m hoping today is that with your experience and expertise in being, I’m going to say, evaluation guru. Hope you don’t mind me calling you that.

I’ve been called worse. Thank you.

But with your expertise, you can shed some light and perhaps even share some stories about some tips and tricks on how business owners can, I guess, put the ball in their court, improve things for them. How’s that sound?

Sounds wonderful. Let’s do it.

Brilliant. So before we just jump in, perhaps you can just give us a quick headline on who you are and your background and what’s probably even more interesting, how you got into the work that you do?

Well, I’ll start with the current stuff. So, as you mentioned at the top of the show, Executive Director at valuation services at a firm called Haifley Flanagan. We’re a full service accounting firm, so think tax audit. We also have a consulting division where we do executive coaching, strategic planning and of course, business and intangible valuation. In addition to that, in my so called spare time, I host a business talk show called Behind the Numbers, which is listened to in more than 100 countries now. And listen note says we’re in the top 3% of shows globally. And I’ve also written a couple of books. The new ROI Return On Individuals and The New ROI Going Behind The Numbers. Those represent my journey to prove that people really are a company’s most valuable asset.

And how did I get involved in valuation. Honestly, Darryl, I didn’t go to school thinking I’m going to be a valuation guy. I did go to grad school for an MBA in finance and learned the corporate finance jargon and things. And as I was kind of exploring my options for employment, I found a position that was listed on a board at Drexel University and it was for a valuation analyst position. And the description sounded an awful lot like what I was learning in MBA school and sounded interesting and I thought, let’s give it a shot. So that’s how I got started.

I also then sort of deviated and worked my way up the corporate finance food chain in the investment banking world. So I did the sexy stuff, buy side, sell side M a raised debt capital asset securitisation, and came to the realisation that valuation was really the most intellectually gratifying for me.

Wonderful. So why don’t we start, since I’ve got an expert, let’s start with the basics, shall we? How is a business valued? And when I say business, I’m thinking if we can just, I guess, keep this conversation to the audience, which is typically the two to 50 million revenue bracket, or sort of ten to 15 people, up to 250 type of people. So businesses in that size, and let’s call them traditional sectors, how are they valued?

Yeah, so I’ll give you the short version. And if you want to go deeper into the rabbit hole, we certainly can. One of the great ways to think about how to value your business is to use the analogy about thinking about buying a house. So what’s the first thing you do when you’re going to buy a house? Probably call a realtor and ask them to put together a series of comps. Right? What have other homes in the neighborhood sold for? So the realtor delivers this lettuce of comps and then we start to make adjustments for things like proximity to shopping and transportation, number of bedrooms, any kind of upgrades and things like that.

Well, that’s a market based way of looking at valuing the house, and there’s a similar way of doing it in valuing a business, it’s a market approach. And we’ll go out and look at recent transactions where businesses in the same or adjacent spaces have sold and where there’s appropriate disclosure, there’s valuation multiples that are attached to each of those transactions. So in other words, the businesses will trade at multiples of revenue, earnings, EBITDA, what have you.

So that’s one way. If the company is of a reasonable size, we can put together another market approach. It’s called the guideline company method. And the idea here is, can’t buy shares of a privately held business. But if I wanted to participate in the industry and the upside potential, I could get a basket of publicly traded stocks.

Each of those publicly traded companies also trades in the market at multiples of sales and earnings and so forth. So that’s two ways of thinking about the market. There’s a third way to do it, and the rubber meets the road here, I think. And that’s the income based approach. And the idea there is that the value of your business is equal to the present value of its future benefit streams.

So in other words, when you hear on shark Tank, for example, Mr. Wonderful talking about into perpetuity, we want to make a forecast that captures the discrete horizon where we can kind of sort of really get a feel for where the business is headed and then take that out into perpetuity and then bring it back to today’s dollars at an appropriate risk rate. So income approaches, market approaches, triangulate them and correlate them.

A formula we often hear talked about the market, especially here in the UK. My experience in Australia and the US is it’s often some sort of formula that ends up with an EBITDA or a profit sort of number, and that’s multiple. So that multiple is being what, I guess, a representative of risk or risk to future revenues. In the simplest terms, is that an easy, fair way to simplify things for the average owner?

It’s a very good way to simplify, but my fear is oversimplifying and actually wrote an article about it. It’s the EBITDA multiple, the silver bullet of valuation, because so many business owners are influenced with this idea that their business is going to sell at pick a number, fill in the blank here, six to eight times EBITDA, whatever it may be, but it’s nuanced. And just to back up for a second EBITDA, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation. It’s a proxy for cash flow, Darryl. And what that multiple or what that metric attempts to do is kind of level the playing field. So if you’re looking at two businesses to buy, one is more asset intensive.

It has more interest expense because of debt, more depreciation because of its assets. Its profitability in terms of net income is going to look different than, say, a technology business. So by looking at it at the EBITDA level, you can actually compare profitability at a line that makes more sense so that they’re normalised. Anyway,  that said, there’s some problems with EBITDA, so I don’t want your audience to just rely on it blindly. First problem is, how do you define it?

And I just gave you a definition, but there’s the nuanced piece of what do you add back? Right. What other components should really go back into it? Because those were expenses that maybe are extraordinary. And then there’s another component to think about, too, because EBITDA, you can generally maybe look forward one year with an estimate, but EBITDA generally looks at what’s the most recent period or last year.

So the real question is, what’s your performance going to look like next year and the year after? So if EBITDA is, pick a number, a million dollars this year, but you know you’re going to lose a key customer next year, and EBITDA is going to go down. A buyer is going to look at that in a different light than if your EBITDA was going in an upward trajectory. So the point here is you can’t just do it in a vacuum. You’ve got to take some bigger picture considerations here.

Yeah, and I think there’s some interesting insights. You can’t just start with profit times a multiple, because you’ve already identified that the big issues, if you’re working every day in this field, you know, exactly, I guess, the backstory and the context to what EBITDA is, and you just threw in adjusted. Whenever you talk to business owners for the first time, you go, well, hang on a sec. We’re talking about adjusted EBITDA. Like you’ve got all these abnormal expenses. We need to remove those. And they go, oh, and the amount you’re paying yourself and or your employees, or the way you’re extracting money out of the business? A buyer needs to be looking at these numbers as if they owned the business, so they want to adjust it to make it look like that. And then you’ve got the business owners that go, well, my business is five times EBITDA. And I go, okay, well, have you ever known of a business that sold for more than that? And they’ll go, yeah, there was this one guy sold his business, he got nine a few years back. Why do he get nine when everyone else is only getting five? Well, he just got lucky, and we all know that that’s just bullshit. And we know it’s not luck. In hindsight, from the outside looking in, it might be luck. But Dave, from your perspective, what would make one business sell for five time? If the average in a particular industry is five and a business goes for nine. What sort of things would you be seeing that we can share with the owners out there that would make a leap like that? Make one business worth almost twice another of the same size?

Yeah, and that’s a great point. And that’s why you’ve got to do the work and do the analysis to really understand context for selecting your multiple and understanding the multiple. My guess would be that if you’ve got a business that has sold at a multiple that’s much higher than, we’ll call it, the average, that business has probably a few characteristics. It probably has really strong historic growth in sales and profits. It probably has really strong expected growth in sales and profits. There’s a good chance that there’s some intellectual property there that may be leveraged. So you’ve got to look at a business relative to those other groups that I identified. So when you look at those different transactions, for example, and you see where these businesses have sold and developed a range of multiples, you can also see the size of those companies, the profitability of those companies, and the trends I just alluded to. So those are the things that are going to go into the selection of the multiple, among other things. I’m keeping it at a pretty high level here.

No, that’s great, Dave. So they’ve probably got some IP that they’re selling, and it’s also the pattern of what’s been happening to the revenue, whether it’s been growing and whether it’s got forecast to continue grow, whether it’s been flat, whether it’s good profit compared to industry average, I guess, is also an influence. And the actual size of the profit, the size of the business, as a business gets bigger, the valuation multiple can go up, and that’s due to less risk, isn’t it?

Yeah. And I’m glad you mentioned the word risk, because if your audience takes away nothing else from today, I want them to understand that valuation is always about risk and reward. And anything that you as a business owner can do to reduce the perception of risk in your business will increase your valuation. Because when we talk about that income based approach, the present value of those future economic benefits, it’s brought back to today’s dollars at a discount rate or risk rate. So if you can lower that risk rate, you’ll increase your valuation. And a couple of things that come to mind here.

When you talk about these different companies that may have sold at higher multiples, it’s a different risk profile for sure. So when you think about historic performance financially, maybe that business had audited financial statements, and a buyer can rely on them in a better way than a company that’s doing something internally in QuickBooks. Because of that history, maybe there’s more reliability in the forecast. Maybe the seller there in that instance could demonstrate contracts and recurring revenue relationships with customers that give a buyer more confidence in the future. So those are the kinds of things that will help to de-risk and increase your valuation.

Yeah. What you just touched on is what I heard is if you’ve got a competent management team with a spread of expertise, so specifically, you might have a CFO in the business, even if they’re not full time, but a CFO working your numbers and therefore bringing some credibility to the forecast that you’ve got in place. And if the numbers are audited by a third party, that gives a lot more confidence in the financial reporting of the business. Dave, I wonder about people in general. Is there any patterns that we see in the employees, the way the employees or the culture even in the business can that influence valuation?

100%? And that’s what my books are about, and I spend a lot of time talking about it. I’m kind of on a mission to change the conversation around the way human capital is treated from an accounting perspective. So I know you know the answer to this question, Darryl, but I’m going to throw it out there kind of rhetorically, but more for your audience. You’ve heard every CEO on the planet pound the table and say, our people are our company’s most valuable asset. Right?

Isn’t it? I’m really interested to hear what you’re going to say to make it real.

Where on the balance sheet do you find this most valuable asset? Your people.

Exactly. It’s not there, is it?

No, it’s not. People are generally thought of as expenses in terms of salaries and benefits. In my world, I’ve valued human capital for most of my career.  It’s an intangible asset. I’m not going to go down the rabbit hole of the hows and whys on that. But suffice to say that human capital in my world gets subsumed into goodwill. And that’s what started my journey in trying to prove that people really are your most valuable asset. And there’s a lot of wonderful data out there, not just in my books, but if anybody bothers to do some Google searching, you will find that an engaged workforce is a more productive workforce.

And if you’ve got a more productive workforce, it’s going to impact your sales, it’s going to impact your margin. It’s going to impact your ability to attract and retain talent because your people become evangelists for your product and your business, and it’s just an upward spiral that can help your valuation. And I emphasise this because I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but Gallup publishes statistics every year on the rates of employee engagement. And historically, they’re horrible. Roughly one out of three people in an organisation is engaged when they show up for work.

So seven out of ten that are coming to work today really don’t care. And in that seven, there’s probably a few that are maybe actively looking to get out or actively looking to damage your business. So just imagine if you could turn the knob of employee engagement to the right just a little bit and harness some extra discretionary effort and get those folks involved. It definitely impacts your business.

Yeah. And I think the good news is that that is easier to shift in the size of businesses that we’re talking about here. So in those smaller businesses, where it’s more often than not, there are relationships with everyone in the business, it’s easier for them to have a direct line of communication or at least contact with the owners of the business. And they can, if they put their mind to it, inspire the workforce. And one of the things that we’ve seen help really well with employee engagement is employee ownership. Having some form of employee ownership, Darryl, I hear all the time, Darryl, how do I get my employees to think like owners?

Let’s make them owners. Let’s create a structure that you don’t have to make a massive amount, but let’s make them owners so that they all benefit. They’re all inspired. They’re all pointing in the same direction and rewarded and motivated for the same things. That’s the best way to get them inspired, is my experience.

Yeah, that’s certainly one great way to do it. Look, not all companies have the ability or the desire to grant ownership to employees, so we totally get that. But the good news is you don’t even have to necessarily go to that type of. We’ll call it an extreme, Darryl. You can do simple little things, and it starts with the know.

Leaders have to learn how to really lead with empathy and even just something as nuanced as appreciation, saying thank you to your people when they do something for you. There was a study published where a manufacturing facility increased production by 6%, literally just because management decided to say, thank you for work well done. Yeah, there’s a lot of statistics out there that we can point to that if you do little nuanced things to treat your people with empathy, with respect, the way you would want to be treated yourself. Right. It’ll definitely move the needle.

So, Dave, is that the way it shows up in the valuation? If we got our employee, our workforce, our team engaged, that shows up in higher productivity, which in turn shows up in higher profitability. And there, because profit is a component of evaluation, is that how the valuation is increased? Or is there also an additional kicker where it’s seen as a lower risk and therefore the multiple actually goes up as well?

Yeah, it’s a great question. The best way I’ll answer it is, yes, the engaged employees drive those profits. And it’s hard to really peel back the layers to see it in terms of what I do technically from a valuation standpoint, because unfortunately, in my world, for the way that we value human capital, we actually don’t consider things like an engaged employee versus a disengaged employee. So there’s a lot of work to be done, I think, on our side of the house from the valuation standpoint. But here’s the neat takeaway. The companies that are doing the right things around people outperform their peers and they enjoy a lower cost of capital. So that cost of capital is the discount rate or the risk rate that I referred to in the income based approach. So the way the math works is if they have a lower cost of capital, all other things equal. The present value of those cash flows is higher and the value of the business is higher.

And I guess the lowest way to measure that is that our employees are staying with us longer. So our recruitment costs are lower, our retraining costs are lower, and our rework costs because the mistakes are lower. So it all adds up through those, I guess, avenues.

Oh, yeah, yeah. The statistics are out there. I mean, Gallup points to them as well. When you’ve got a more engaged workforce, you get greater profitability, greater sales, better safety, lower turnover, fewer accidents. There’s a whole litany of positive KPIs that are influenced by this. Just think about mean. If you or anyone that’s in your audience has ever had the opportunity to work for somebody that they really liked and felt appreciated by, as I have, you know, you’ll walk through fire for those people. You can feel it. There’s a different vibe than if you’re working for somebody that treats you just like you’re another number on a spreadsheet because you’re not going to do as much for that person.

Yeah, and the converse is true. If we treat our employees if we treat our team like a commodity, they treat us like a commodity. They’ll just use up the business. They’ll take as much as they can from it, and when they can’t get anything more from it, they’ll leave and they’ll go on somewhere else. But if we treat them more like than a commodity and a transaction, we have a relationship with them. They’ll end up as you just described. They’ll feel valued, they’ll feel involved, and they’ll be loyal.

Yeah. And think about that exit you just described there where people decide that they’re treated like a commodity and they’re ready to move on, right? So you’ve got this issue of turnover. So there’s real cost there, right? There’s the actual cost of finding the next employee, interviewing the next employee, training them, getting them up the learning curve. But what’s missing from that, and a lot of people fail to recognise, is what I call the intangible within that intangible, which is the institutional knowledge. So if somebody’s been with your organisation for five years or ten years, not only do they know where the bodies are buried, but they know the nuanced stuff. Like if the boss comes in this morning and has a certain look on his or her face, all right, today’s not the day to ask for the budget increase for this project we’re working on. They know where to go for information. They know how to get things done. And those are the kinds of nuanced things that walk out the door and they’re really hard to replace.

Yeah, exactly. And I think extending that feeling like a commodity is the same as I talk to businesses. And they go, well, I just can’t find good help. And we start to explore their leadership style. And they’re frustrated in their people because they’re frustrated. You go, have you ever worked for a frustrated boss? And they go, yeah, I left. And I said, well, that’s exactly what’s happening here. Your people are leaving because you’re a frustrated boss. You have to stay because it’s your business. They don’t.

And what happens when they leave? If they’re really unhappy with the way they were treated, they’re going to go on glassdoor, they’re going to go on social media, and they’re going to say things that are going to discourage people from joining your organisation in the future. So you got two choices. As a leader, you can either treat your people well and create these brand evangelists for you, or treat them like you maybe have been in the past like a commodity, and you’re going to suffer the consequences for it.

Brilliant. As we’ve been talking, I’ve just brought up your LinkedIn profile, and I’ve just seen this in the banner, and it’s worth sharing. I don’t normally do this, but you talk about in your LinkedIn headline, banner, the value of a business is a function of how well the financial capital and the intellectual capital are managed by the human capital. I love that statement.

Yeah, that’s a great one, actually. Thank you for bringing that up, because the funny backstory there in my mind is funny anyway, was I was doing this presentation in front of about 300 people for the first time when we rolled out the new ROI. I was leading a panel with some of my collaborators in book one, and I really wanted to have what I would call mic drop moment at the end of the discussion and not just wrap it up by saying, so, are there any questions?

And I really struggled for weeks to figure out, what am I going to say? What am I going to say? And I figured, all right, I’m just going to trust that the right words are going to come out of my mouth when I’m done. And I stood up at the end of the program that afternoon, and that’s what fell out of my mouth. And ever since, it’s been shared around the world, literally globally, it’s been translated into many languages.

People use it on their LinkedIn banners, they’re using it on corporate websites, they’re using it on college syllabuses. And ironically, we’re recording this conversation on employee appreciation day. And I’ve already seen on LinkedIn and other socials that that quote is being shared again. So thank you for mentioning that. That really summarises the whole point of what The New ROI Return On Individuals embodies.

Yeah. So it touches on two things. So it also talks about the intellectual capital. So you started to touch on that before where you said, hey, look, an organisation’s value may be increased if they’ve got some of their own IP.

What are some of the other intangibles that you see that just, I guess a quick hit list that business owners might be able to become aware of to go, oh, look, I’ve got some of that. Maybe I can polish that up a bit and that’ll help my valuation. We’ve talked about the humans and looking after the culture as being one. We’ve talked about IP, and I guess that extends to having your own methodology or process systems. What else do you see?

Yeah, you got it before I give you the laundry list of IP assets. Your audience may be interested in knowing that in 1975, 85% of the S and P 500 value was attributable to fixed assets. Tangible stuff.

These are things from balance sheet. Right? The fixed assets are the things that they see in their balance sheet. They’re tangible, they can be seen, touched, felt.

You can kick them, you can touch them. Exactly. And by 2020, 90% of the s and P 500 value is attributable to intellectual property, the intangible assets. So IP is super important. More so than ever. Some of the more common IP assets that I deal with on a regular basis. Let’s start with your brand. So your trademark or your trade name, that’s critical. How well you’re known. That drives a lot of your opportunities, right? That’s one. Your customer relationships are actually an IP asset. So if you’ve got contractual relationships with customers that have gone on for years, that’s really valuable. To the extent that you’ve got technology, whether it’s patented or unpatented, for that matter, if you’ve got, as you alluded to, different ways, processes, methodologies, those are your secret sauce, that those things are definitely of value as well.

Brilliant. And how we use those. And I guess we talked about the process and the systems and how the intangibles create value. I guess the intangibles is how we use the tangibles or the fixed assets to bring revenue into our business. That’s where it really adds value to our business.

I couldn’t set any better a truck.

Big deal, like the truck’s worth, I don’t know, 50, 100 grand, whatever it is. But it’s what I do with that truck that really adds value to my..

Yeah. And in my world, evaluations speak, those are called contributory assets. Right? So those things contribute to the value of the asset. Yeah. And in our world, the workforce, the people are considered to be a contributory asset, Darryl, meaning that you can’t have great customer relationships without a workforce serving those customers. So you’re spot on.

Okay, so we’ve got the intangibles. What about Dave? It’s service type businesses like professional services. They might be marketing, they might be it in any service. A lot of them are historically used to selling time or selling hours. Have you got any insights? And I know I’m throwing you on the spot here and maybe going a little bit left afield, but have you got any insights about what they can do specifically to increase their valuation and reduce their dependence on the key personalities or the key people in their business? Because those businesses typically say, yeah, well, people buy people, Darryl. There’s nothing we can do about it.

Yeah, well, think about what you just said when you talk about the service business. And those are the assets that get on the elevator and go home every night. Right. So there more than ever. Right. I think it’s important that you’re thinking about your workforce and your people in terms of creating that culture where they’re going to be bought in and they’re going to want to stick around.

Contractual relationships with customers certainly help. If you’re concerned that you’ve got someone that is too deep into a particular relationship and you’re worried about them as a potential departure risk and the damage that they could do if they left, not in terms of them necessarily stealing or anything like that, stealing your customers. But customers sometimes will move with the people that they know, like and trust. Then the message is clear. Then you, as a business owner, need to kind of diversify those relationships a little bit, maybe get a little bit more involved yourself. But it’s a balancing act. Right. If you’ve got a customer that likes to work with Peggy and now you’re introducing Joe into the mix, they may not like Joe as much. They really want to work with Peggy. So you’ve got to be careful. It’s nuanced, but recognise that these are the most important assets you’ve got. They’re going home at the end of the day.

Yeah. And one of the things that we encourage owners to do is go well, instead of blatantly, outwardly selling hours, how do we package up what you do? What’s the problem that you solve for your customers?And can we package up the process that you follow to find that solution for your clients? It just happens to be Peggy that’s delivering that process for you. But if we can remove Peggy’s time by one step from the process of the solution, then, and use our brand and our marketing to help the client to be buying the solution, your process, your methodology, then they’re at least more affiliated with your brand. It just happens to be Peggy that’s delivering it. Do you see that as one step removal of an increasing the valuation? 

What you just said really resonates with me personally, because I grew up in the accounting profession and still work in accounting firm. Right? So accounting firms, law firms, professional services firms, as you said, they generally bill on an hourly rate. They trade hours for dollars. I’m not saying anything here that I haven’t said before. I kind of hate that model in the valuation world, at least from where I sit, what I do is I use a fixed price model. We’re selling a solution like you said, and it’s going to cost you X. And if I do my job right and I scope it out properly, I know exactly what that should look like and that’s what my buyers is going to be paying. And there’s no surprises about oops, we’re going to charge you extra hours because we do that. I personally don’t really care for the trading hours for dollars model. I think it tends to commoditise what you do and to your point, that it ties people more closely to a particular individual than the brand. And it also diminishes what you’re actually doing for the client because if they only see you as trading hours for dollars, they lose the big picture. So just for example, I’ll pick on accounting firms for a second. If you’re doing tax related services for somebody, yes, you may charge them X dollars per hour to perform a tax return preparation, for instance. But what are you saving them? If you’re focusing on that and your engagement is priced to help them understand that you’re saving them money rather than costing them money, I think it changes the whole dynamic.

Yeah, and I think you’ve really hit the nail on the head there as going, if we’re just charging them for our time, we’ve commoditised our time. We’ve just made our time the commodity. And in that business model, the only way that we can make more money is to just spend more time. And then clients ultimately resent that because they just get scared of any minute is going to be billed and it’s not necessarily adding value or making their lives better.

Yeah, somebody else said something that really stuck with me. Do my clients pay for my hours right now or are they paying for the 30 years of experience that I’ve accumulated to help them in delivering a solution.

Yeah, there’s a number of stories like that, isn’t there? But we need to be selling on that proposition of combining everything up front instead of having to have that reactive justification conversation down the track to try and justify our invoice and our bills.

Yeah, paradigm shift. I highly recommend it.

Dave. Look, we’ve covered a lot today. As listeners will know. This is one of my favorite topics. Getting the valuation and working on the intangible assets and pulling them out of the cupboard and changing it from your business’s best kept secret to making your intangible assets your worst kept secret. 

If you got one key point, if listeners are to walk away from our conversation today. What’s the one that if you like, most important message that you would love them to take away from our conversation?

Yeah, as I mentioned before, I want them to recognise that valuation is a forward looking exercise. So it’s great that you’ve got a track record of performance, but buyers and investors want to know what the future is going to look like and they want to be able to rely on that and they’re going to be taking a look at what the future looks like from the lens of risk likelihood of achieving that economic benefit stream. So as we said before, anything that you can do that’s going to be de-risking your business in the eyes of your buyer is going to increase your valuation.

Yeah, de risk it. Increase your valuation. Dave Bookbinder, thanks for sharing your insights with us today. And as an extra look, let me just quickly get you mentioned a blog article earlier. Would you like us to link that article in our show notes on the website?

Yeah, sure. I’m happy to get that to you. Brilliant. I’m sure the listeners will appreciate it. It sounds like it’s going to really help.

Dave, thanks for sharing your insights with us today.

It’s been my pleasure. Thank you.

About Dave Bookbinder

Dave Bookbinder is a valuation expert, having conducted thousands of valuations of the securities

and intellectual property assets of public and private companies across all industries for various purposes.

Dave is the author of the Amazon #1 bestselling books, The NEW ROI: Return on Individuals, & The NEW ROI: Going Behind The Numbers, which explore the impact that people have on the value of a business and provide a roadmap for companies to increase their value by tapping into their most valuable-asset.

Dave is also the host of Behind The Numbers, the show that digs deeper to understand what matters most in business.

If you would like to learn more about how to start preparing your business, then you can get more information here: It All Begins with Insights.

Darryl Bates-Brownsword

Darryl Bates-Brownsword

CEO | Succession Plus UK

Darryl is a dynamic, driven Business Mentor and Coach with over 20 years of experience and passion for creating successful outcomes for founder-led businesses. He is a great connector, team builder, problem solver, and inspirer – showing the way through complexity to simplicity.

He has built 2 international multi-million turnover businesses; one now operating in 16 countries. His quick and analytical approach cuts through to the core issues quickly and identifying the context. He challenges the status quo and gets consistent, repeatable and reliable business results.

Originating in Australia, Darryl’s first career was as an Engineer in the Power Industry. Building businesses bought him to the UK in 2003 where he quickly developed a reputation for combining systems thinking with great creativity to get results in challenging situations.

A keen competitive cyclist, he also has a B Eng (Mech) Engineering and an MBA.