50 Value Drivers in 7 Categories

Buyers are often attracted to certain businesses for reasons other than reported profits. They will even pay premium prices for businesses if they see other factors that matter to them. Just what are these other factors?


Business perceived as attractive, interesting and worthwhile work.

1. Business purpose engages and interests buyers;

2. Work itself seems attractive;

3. Seems like the right type of business to acquire now;

4. Appeals to wide number of buyer prospects;

5. Business can be run by any talented person with only general business skills:

6. Special licensing NOT needed to own the business;

7. Technical training NOT needed to run it;

8. No special knowledge needed to understand markets.;


Future of market served is clear and seems positive.

9. Market niche served is clear and easily understood;

10. Significant share of, or dominance in, market is present or possible;

11. Growth of market still possible or somehow synergistic to acquirer;

12. Protection from competition for some reason;

13. Diverse, broad-based customer list – no concentration issues;

14. Existence of alternative vendors – no concentration or other supply issues;

15. Pricing of products and services is competitive;

16. Brand names, trade marks, trade names, copyrights, patents in place;


Location is “right” – where potential buyers want it.

17. Coastal or resort location often preferred;

18. Accessible to transportation, employees, urban center with business resources;

19. Business premises available for lease or purchase on favorable terms;

20. Physical premises allows for future business growth;

21. Website (the other “location”) is well-designed, linked and up-to-date;

22. Business is located in the path of future growth;


Business operating systems are effective and efficient.

23. Marketing and sales systems are in place;

24. Operations are smooth;

25. Employees are trained and experienced;

26. Computerization and technology up-to-date;

27. Business reputation in market is good;

28. Physical premises kept neat and clean;

29. Furniture, fixtures, equipment and vehicles are all well maintained and performing;

30. Inventory for resale is clean, current and salable;

31. Operations manual, policies & procedures all in place;

32. Credit standing with vendors and banks is positive;

33. No litigation is pending or expected;


Operational stability has been proven.

34. Well-run for several years prior to selling;

35. Good growth of revenues on the books;

36. Reason for selling is clear, and not a cause for concern;

37. Transition to new owner appears easy;

38. Profit percentage is stable or growing;

39. Operating expenses seem normal for the industry;


Books/records/databases are complete and detailed.

40. Tax returns agree with internal books;

41. At least 3 years’ of financial statements are available for inspection;

42. Sales records are detailed and available by month;

43. Cost of Goods Sold and Operating Expenses are well documented;

44. Database of clients/customers current and in place;

45. Permits, licenses, leases, franchise and other business documents are all in order;


Acquisition of the business is offered on reasonable terms

46. Low down payment and working capital requirements;

47. Seller financing offered as “bond for performance”;

48. Has enough tangible asset value to attract banks or other 3rd party financing;

49. Business operated to keep future business pipeline full;

50. Current owner will stay for needed transition;


Original list by Glen Cooper, CBI, CBA, BVAL

Republished with permission.


(*1) The term “Value Drivers” as used in this article is similar to, but not the same as, the term used in business economic analysis defined as “the economic variables that are critical to revenue and cost functions of the business.” In the real world of small business, though, many of the factors listed in this article also end up fitting nearly the same definition.

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