You can practice some back of the napkin math to value a company, but it’s not always reliable. A company with $3 million in EBITDA, may, as a general rule of thumb, sell at a 4x to 6x multiple. In other words, it might sell for $12 million to $18 million in an average market.
Pulling a multiple on EBITDA is the most simplistic form of doing a valuation. But it doesn’t tell the whole story. It doesn’t account for standout business qualities that drive up value, and it doesn’t account for current market dynamics.
If you own a business, it’s a good idea to get an estimate of value every few years. Knowing what your business is worth (and what’s behind that value), can help inform your growth plans. Alternately, you may also find the business is worth more than you expected – and accelerate your exit plans.