If you are getting ready to retire and thinking about selling your financial firm, you have to decide how much your business is worth, and it can be challenging to put a number on something you've been building for your whole life. Ultimately, your business is worth as much as you can convince someone to pay you, but what should you consider when looking at offers?
To help you out, here is a look at the elements you should keep in mind when putting a value on your company.
- Your Client List
As a financial services professional, you've probably spent years building up your book of business. This client list plays a significant role in the value of your business. Is your list long and full of quality prospects? If someone buys your list, do they get the potential to make a lot of commission in the upcoming years? If so, your book of business ratchets up the sale price.
On the other hand, if your list is primarily full of people who are retiring and don't need a lot of financial services anymore, that may hurt the sale price of your business.
- Brand Identity
Have you been working with clients as an individual financial professional? Or have you built up a brand image around your firm?
If you are the name and face of your brand, a buyer may struggle to build relationships or sell services to your clients. On the other hand, if you have a business with a standalone brand, a buyer may be able to leverage the value of your brand to draw in new customers whether you're a presence in the business or not, and that can drive up the value of your business.
If you have a team of well-trained employees who make the business money, that increases the value of your business. This is especially true if your employees work autonomously and you're confident that you can step away with minimal disruptions to operations. While talking with potential buyers, make sure to leverage these types of facts when narrowing in on a price.
- Workflows and Processes
Also, consider the value of the workflow and processes you've built up over the years. If your firm has workflows invented by you and unique to your company, they can add value as well. Offering someone a well-oiled, turnkey operation is always a better deal than simply selling a book of business on its own.
- Earnings History
Whether you're selling a financial services firm or any other type of business, your earnings history plays into the sale price. If you can show consistent earnings, especially during economic slumps, you can garner a higher price. But if you don't have clear records to attest to this fact, you may need to be willing to negotiate to a slightly lower price.
LPL Financial does not provide business valuation services.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial professional prior to investing. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.
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