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What’s Your Start-up Worth?

These three steps will help you determine what your new business is worth.

Asheesh Advani

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It’s commonly said that business valuation is more art than science. If this is true, then the practice of valuing a start-up business is squarely in the domain of the artist. Nevertheless, entrepreneurs need to put a value on their start-ups in order to raise money, and investors need to put a value on their investments to generate liquidity. Since neither entrepreneurs nor investors are known for right-brain artistic thinking, this article aims to provide some tips for left-brain thinkers to make sense of start-up valuation.

1. You are what the market says you are

If investors are telling you that your start-up is worth R4 million, then that’s what it’s worth. You might think it’s worth more. You might even know it’s worth more because your company may have more than R4 million in liquid assets, receivables, or sweat equity. But if you’re unable to raise money for your start-up with a valuation above R4 million, then you’ll have to accept the market valuation.

However, this isn’t always true. If you raise money from relatives and friends rather than professional investors, it’s possible that your company has been overvalued or undervalued (more likely, overvalued). For example, if you persuade your father and your rich aunt to purchase shares in your business at R80 per share, it doesn’t mean that future investors will pay more than R80 per share — even if your business grows and prospers.

2. But you can also tell the market what you’re worth

Although this might seem to contradict the point made above, it’s possible to tell the market how to value your company. After all, if investors think your start-up is worth R4 million, it’s usually because of something you’ve told them. By definition, start-ups don’t have a history of financial performance on which to base a valuation. Therefore, it’s up to the entrepreneur to develop a process for valuing the company based on comparables and financial projections.

  • Comparables: Find out how much similar companies in your industry and geography are worth. If you have a high-tech or high-growth start-up, accountants and lawyers are among the best advisors to help you determine the market rate for comparable companies at your stage. In my experience, attorneys tend to overvalue start-ups, and accountants tend to undervalue start-ups, so you may want to talk to both before making a decision.
  • Financial forecasts: Although it’s notoriously difficult to forecast revenue at a start-up, you’ll need to do this to determine value and to eventually defend your valuation. For example, if you’re starting a pet food store, your valuation and financial projections are likely to be lower than if you’re starting a speculative biotechnology firm.

3. You’re not really worth anything until you’re profitable

If you’re not profitable, your business probably isn’t worth much. It doesn’t have as much liquidity as it would if it were profitable. Many businesses cannot be sold, since there aren’t enough business buyers for every seller. Almost all unprofitable businesses cannot be sold for the same reason.

This makes valuation particularly challenging for a start-up. Since young businesses take time to become profitable, the trick of valuing start-ups is to focus on the future. First, determine how many years it will take to be profitable. A business with a long road to profitability will usually be worth less than one with a quick path to profitability. Next, determine how much comparable companies have been valued at when they reached profitability.

A company that could be worth R20 million at profitability will be worth a fraction of that number at the start-up stage, based on the likelihood of success, the timeframe to exit and the quality of the management team.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of valuing your company at the highest amount possible and forget that you’ll have to deliver on the expectations of investors. It’s also tempting to adapt your business model to maximise start-up valuation. Be careful about overvaluing your start-up with faulty assumptions; it will make your life difficult — particularly if your investors have governance rights, such as positions on the company’s board.

Entrepreneurs need to use creativity in valuing their start-up businesses. Traditional approaches to valuation based on book values and P/E ratios are akin to painting by numbers. If you want your start-up to be a masterpiece, you’ll need to use the right side of your brain as much as your left to determine value.

Asheesh has over 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur, investor, and social innovator.

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How The Sanlam Enterprise And Supplier Development Programme Is Helping Start-up Businesses

The balance between funding, business development and mentorship can make or break an enterprise development programme

Francois Adriaan

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Sanlam Enterprise and Supplier Development

165 new employment opportunities, 172 SMEs developed and 1046 jobs sustained. These are some of the numbers recorded by Sanlam as the company prepares to wrap up the fourth year of its Sanlam Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) programme.

The flagship incubation scheme has turned around loss-making enterprises, helped some participants get critical accreditation and funding, but most importantly, R12.6 million was spent procuring goods and services from the participating businesses by the end of 2016.

Related: Enterprise Development Programmes For Black Entrepreneurs

Receiving funding isn’t the secret to start-up success

Francois Adriaan, head of Sanlam Foundation says the secret to a successful enterprise development programme is not the amount of funding big corporates can give SMEs: “It’s having the right mix of mentorship; business intervention and procurement spend flowing from your corporate to small businesses.

You have to show the entrepreneur you are mentoring that you trust them enough to do business and walk the journey with them instead of giving them a once-off grant and leaving them to their own devices,” says Adriaan.

Financial support that’s timed to business need

Like in many other ESD programmes, participants in the Sanlam ESD programme also have access to funding. But what sets the programme apart from others, says Adriaan is that the amount of funds disbursed to each participating businesses is directly linked to its need, its commitment and progress record.

“Financial support is timed according to the specific needs of each SME. Those who qualify for funding are then provided with a further seven years of SME growth support through the ASISA Enterprise Development Fund.”

The Sanlam ESD programme

The Sanlam ESD programme was launched in July 2013 in collaboration with the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA) to empower SMEs, create jobs and contribute to economic growth in South Africa. An independent evaluation shows that participating enterprises have grown their annual revenue by 19% on average.

D&P Auto participants

One of the programme participants is D&P Auto, a panel beating business based in Retreat. For two decades, the owners of the business (husband and wife) poured their life savings, bank loans and even pension policy pay-outs into the business to keep it afloat because it was not making profit. Three years of focused business incubation and mentoring under the Sanlam ESD programme resolved D&P Auto’s 20-year loss-making battle.

“Our business has grown from a non-profitable business to the extent that we now have to pay provisional taxes to SARS for the first time in 24 years,” said Pam Douglas on their business maiden profit.

Successes of the incubation programme

The incubation from the programme has helped other participants brush up their bookkeeping skills, file successfully for tenders and get accreditation that took their businesses to the next level.

G&T Auto, the only fully accredited Major Structural Repairer in the programme, bagged Mazda accreditation last year, a rare accolade that will see the enterprise repair Mazdas that are still under warranty. The owner, Thembi Sithole says the programme has given her confidence to approach bigger clients as she now understands the requirements to get big contracts. She has also become more knowledgeable about financial statements and their impact on obtaining funding.

Related: Why Employee Engagement Programmes Backfire And What You Can Do About It

Adriaan says enterprise development initiatives of this nature give big corporates an opportunity not only achieve their business objectives, but also impact broader South African society.

“This commitment is around impacting issues of inter-generational poverty, unemployment and inequality. It is also about aligning around public-private-civil society partnerships in sustainable ways,” concludes Adriaans.

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Are You Ready For A Side Hustle? Here’s How To Know

We talk to side hustle pro Susie Moore about who should jump into entrepreneurship and when is a good time to take the leap.

Andrea Huspeni

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side-hustle

It seems like everyone has a side hustle. Indeed, 1 in 4 millennials have a side hustle, part of the  54 million Americans making money outside of their pay cheque.

But are you ready to get your hustle on?

According to Susie Moore, a life coach and the founder of Side Hustle Made Simple, you are always ready to begin a side hustle. You just need to know where to begin.

Related: 3 Ways To Set Your Side Hustle Up For Success

Moore has helped thousands of people take the leap from concept to creation in making their entrepreneurial dreams a living, breathing reality by launching a risk-free side hustle. She left her $500,000 job after her own side hustle took off within just 18 months.

She’s also the author of What if it DOES Work Out? How a Side Hustle Can Change Your Life released this fall, speaker and adviser to startups. Her work has been featured on the Today Show, Marie Claire and more.

To help aspiring entrepreneurs understand what it takes to be a side hustler, Moore is joining us for this week’s episode of Tough Love Tuesday, our Facebook Live series that connects experts with side hustlers for real-time advice and support.

Related: 50 Jobs, Gigs And Side Hustles You Can Do From Home

Specifically, she’ll share:

  1. The qualities all side hustlers need
  2. Advice that turns great ideas into action
  3. Strategies for making money right away
  4. Ideas for perfect side hustles
  5. Productivity hacks that prevent burnout.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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(Video) Why Your ‘Great Idea’ Actually Sucks

Don’t get caught up in coming up with the next big idea.

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Everyone wants to come up with the next Uber, Facebook or Tesla. But, if Entrepreneur Network partner Patrick Bet-David has to choose between someone with a great idea and someone with great sales skills, he’s taking the salesperson every time. Why?

Related: The 3-Step Approach For Testing Out Your Business Idea

Well, look at the history of great businesses. Ray Kroc didn’t start McDonald’s, but he learned how to sell the fast food restaurant and made far more in his life than the actual McDonalds brothers. Steve Jobs couldn’t code like Steve Wozniack, but he knew how to sell Apple, and his estate is worth far more now than Wozniack’s.

Facebook, Tesla and more. Each time, it seems like the great salesperson ends up earning more than the person who created the great idea to start with.

Watch the video to learn more about the relationship between great ideas and great sales techniques.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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