Man sitting at a desk working on his computer

Business valuations are important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is selling the business so you can use the proceeds to finance your retirement or move on to another venture. But even if that's not your intent, a business valuation may be necessary for resolving certain legal issues and IRS or shareholder disputes. Business valuation is helpful for tax reporting, but it also comes in handy when raising capital or implementing an employee stock ownership plan.1 As the owner, you may simply be curious to know how much your business might be worth.

A business valuation calculator is a helpful tool in this process, particularly when trying to determine if you can afford to buy a business or, on the other hand, if the business is worth its asking price.

Using this Business Valuation Calculator

This business evaluation calculator uses your current operating profit, expected annual growth, and the length of time you expect to grow at this rate to determine the current value of your business. Here’s a quick breakdown of those inputs:

  • Current operating profit is the total earnings derived from your business’s core function. You can determine it by subtracting operating expenses, cost of goods sold and depreciation of assets from your gross profit.2
  • Expected annual growth is the magnitude of the increase in value of a variable you expect to see over the course of a year. Revenue is a standard example, however, this variable may differ from business to business depending on the industry.3
  • The length of time you expect to grow at this rate is self-explanatory, but it’s important for determining the impact of your expected annual growth.

Simply fill out the information and you'll get an estimate of how much you could realistically sell your business for.

How to calculate the value of a business

There are many ways to calculate the fair market value of your business. And while the methods differ in their approach, each one uses objective measures and attempts to evaluate various aspects of the business. The process could include everything from an examination of the company's management and capital structure to the market value of its assets. In the end, it all comes down to estimating how much the business is worth.

It helps to keep in mind that a wide range of internal and external factors play a role in determining business value. This could include financial strength, ownership/management strength, historical performance, forecast and future projections, industry trends, competition, market position and more.4

Business valuation methods

Let's take a look at four primary methods for determining the value of a business:

  • Asset valuation: The asset-based approach focuses on the net asset value of the company, which can be obtained by subtracting total liabilities from total assets. This type of valuation can play an integral role in planning for a sale or liquidation, although it may need to be adjusted to reflect the market value of the assets and liabilities.5
  • Discounted cash flow: This method, which is a bit complex, is based on future, or expected, cash flows. To determine the present value of those future cash flows, a discount rate is used to calculate the discounted cash flow. If the discounted cash flow is above the current cost of the investment, it may be the sign of an opportunity that could lead to positive returns. Keep in mind that because this method relies on an estimate of future cash flows, there are some limitations.6
  • Earnings/revenue: The times revenue business valuation method looks at a stream of revenues over a period of time and then applies that to a multiplier. The multiplier will vary based on the industry or the economic environment. Similarly, the earnings multiplier approach is often used to more accurately predict future financial success. This method makes adjustments to the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio to account for current interest rates.7
  • Market comparison: Perhaps the simplest method, a market-based valuation multiplies the share price of the company by its total number of shares. However, this comes with some obvious challenges since sole proprietorships are owned by individuals and it's not easy to obtain public information on the sale of similar businesses.7

While business valuation formulas are helpful – and a necessary place to start – there's more to a company than the numbers. Consider additional factors, such as geographic location and the impact it might have on a potential buyer.

For example, an area with a large volume of traffic will feature high value real estate. Any business located in that area may enjoy an accordingly high sale value.8

You may have a general idea how much your business is worth, but a formal business valuation will help you determine its true value. Regardless of your intentions, this is a process every business owner should engage in from time to time. In the meantime, these popular business insurance products from Nationwide can help build and protect what you've already accomplished.

Thinking it’s time to sell your business and coast into your golden years? A happy retirement starts with a smart retirement plan! Learn how Nationwide can help you transition into a financially sound retirement.

Small Business Icon
Learn more about Nationwide business insurance Talk to a specialist  

[1] “The Importance of Business Valuation,”,future%20growth%20and%20eventual%20transition (accessed July. 29, 2022).
[2] “Operating Profit: How to Calculate, What It Tells You, Example,” The Investopedia Team, (accessed October 9, 2022).
[3] “How To Calculate Growth Rate of a Company (With Step-by-Step Example),” Indeed Editorial Team, (accessed October 9, 2022).
[4] “What Factors Are Considered in A Small Business Valuation?” (accessed July 29, 2022).
[5] “Asset-Based Approach,”,of%20its%20assets%20and%20liabilities (July 29, 2022).
[6] “Discounted Cash Flow (DCF),”,will%20generate%20in%20the%20future >(July 29, 2020).
[7] “3 Business Valuation Methods,” (March 14, 2020).
[8] “Business Valuation Factors: The Top 9 Things To Consider,” Valentiam Group, (accessed October 9, 2022).

The information contained in this blog was obtained from sources believed to be reliable to help users address their own risk management and insurance needs. It does not and is not intended to provide legal advice. Nationwide, its affiliates and employees do not guarantee improved results based upon the information contained herein and assume no liability in connection with the information or the provided suggestions. The recommendations provided are general in nature; unique circumstances may not warrant or require implementation of some or all of the suggestions. Nothing in this brochure is intended to imply a grant of coverage.