How to value your business in five easy steps

How to value your business in five easy steps

Posted: Wed 28th Sep 2022

Here are five easy steps you can follow to make valuing your business simpler. 

1. Calculate the dilution

When a start-up raises investment, the total number of shares increases with new investors – meaning existing shareholders have a smaller share of this new capital and their investment has become diluted.

Ideally, you don’t want to be diluted more than 10% or 15% by a round. To calculate dilution you can use the following formula:

Dilution % = amount invested / post-money valuation

The post-money valuation is the valuation of the round plus the amount invested. So if your investors are investing £500k and you are prepared to accept 15% dilution, your post-money valuation would need to be £3,333,333.

2. Figure out an appropriate multiple

Multiples vary by sector, scalability of the start-up and stage of growth. Do your research by looking at standard multiples for your sector – there are various public data sources that discuss multiples on exit and IPO via sector.

Research the valuation at which other start-ups in your space have raised investment at different stages both in the UK and abroad. For UK start-ups, you can find this information on Companies House via Form SH01s – these show the price paid for the shares and the total number of shares in issue.

For non-UK businesses use public platforms such as AngelList.

3. Support your valuation with forecasts

Investors in early-stage start-ups tend to calculate the valuation by applying a multiple to the revenue forecasted to be achieved by the start-up 12 months after the investment round.

For example, if your startup has a 2.5x multiple and the investor is looking at forecast revenue 12 months after the round, your revenue after 12 months would need to be £1,133,333.

4. Put together a coherent pitch deck

Investors make an initial decision based on your pitch deck, so it has to be flawless and enticing. If they do not get excited by the deck, investors won’t bother looking at the financials.

It is therefore extremely important that the information in the deck matches the forecasts, grabs their attention and is accurate.

5. Check your numbers, then check them again

It is so easy to get someone else to put your numbers together, but they can also mess up a formula and result in incorrect figures. Not understanding or having major errors in your financial forecasts can be terminal to conversations with investors, so make sure that you understand and can justify every single number.

Valuations of start-ups are sky-high at the moment, and a start-up with a good business plan, forecasts, a strong founder team and a great idea can easily raise the first round at a £5m valuation.

However, that level of valuation is more than just wishful thinking, it must be supported by coherent and supportable numbers.

Relevant resources

Connect with Michael on Enterprise Nation for more brilliant business support.

I am a qualified solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales and the founder of Buckworths, the only law firm in the UK working exclusively with start-ups and high growth businesses. Buckworths works across multiple sectors, including Technology, Fin-Tech, Restaurants and Hospitality, Fashion and Fashion-Tech, Bio-Tech and Med-Tech, Blockchain, and more. My passion for entrepreneurialism has led me to advise on the countless of start-ups over the last ten years across multiple industry sectors. For several years, I have been a regular speaker at industry events encouraging entrepreneurs to take the next step in their start-up journey. Recently, I also published my first Amazon Best Seller, Built On Rock - the busy entrepreneur's legal guide to start-up success. Advising on the risks and pitfalls to avoid when setting up your own business, I wrote this book to make the complicated aspects of start-up law simple. Available on Amazon and in all good bookstores.

You might also like…

Get business support right to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive business tips, learn about new funding programmes, join upcoming events, take e-learning courses, and more.