Closing the Owner Wealth Gap: 5 Strategies to Maximize Your Company Value

 By Cheryl Powers

If you’re like many of our business owner clients, your company is not just a source of income; it's your largest and most significant asset. Often, the value of your business comprises the lion's share of your personal net worth. 

Personal net worth represents the difference between an individual's assets and liabilities. For business owners, the equity value of their business often makes up a significant portion of these assets. However, it's not uncommon for owners to misjudge or undervalue their business's worth, particularly if they're heavily engrossed in day-to-day operations.

So maximizing this value becomes a critical component in increasing your overall financial standing.

In today's crisis-laden business landscape, the wealth gap has become a significant concern for founders and owners. Understanding the dynamics of the value gap and its implications is crucial for both maximizing your business value and capturing the wealth that might be slipping away from you as you operate your business. 

To understand your wealth gap, we first have to understand your company’s value gap.

Understanding Your Value Gap

Your value gap refers to the difference between your company's current value and its potential value. 

Several factors contribute to this gap, including your company’s financial and revenue performance, cash flow, key dependencies, the strength of your leadership and management team, customer loyalty and satisfaction metrics, market differentiation, your company’s potential for future growth, as well as metrics such as EBITDA and owner discretionary income. 

By digging into these numbers, you can gain a clearer picture of the value gap within your company. 

An easy way to think about it is in terms of mapping your progress over time:

Where are we? 

In other words, what is our current company value, and how does it relate to other companies like it in our industry?

What’s possible for us today? 

What is the potential value of my company, given its industry, its strengths, its weaknesses, and its scores on the drivers of value, inclusive of what the current operational structure (strategies, people, systems, processes, profits) can handle?

What’s possible for us with the right changes? 

What is the potential value of my company if we were to discover, work on, fix, and grow beyond the strengths, weaknesses, value drivers and transform the operational structure (strategies, people, systems, processes, profits) for maximum value?

How long will it take to get to X? 

In other words, what are the most important factors and initiatives that we can undertake over the next 12-36 months that will yield the most ROI?

Other questions to consider:

How much will it cost relative to the gain? 

How much will it impact my personal net worth as an owner? 

Value acceleration focuses on optimizing the speed at which your business increases in value, thereby increasing your net worth – today and when you are ready to exit. 

We do this through marketing, sales, and operational improvements, streamlined processes, attracting, selecting, and developing high-potential employees, and more effective resource allocation.


Assessing Your Current Wealth Gap

To narrow the value gap, you must first measure your business's current value and understand your personal net worth.

Assessing your business's value requires a thorough analysis of financial statements, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. You’ll also want to conduct market research to gain insights into your industry's benchmarks and competitive landscape.

Understanding your personal net worth involves calculating your assets and liabilities. This evaluation provides a comprehensive view of your financial standing and helps set realistic net worth goals. By knowing where you stand, you can identify the areas that require improvement and prioritize your efforts accordingly.

Applying Value Acceleration Principles to Maximize Your Personal Net Worth As An Owner

Once you have a clear understanding of the value gap, you can implement strategies to narrow it. Enhancing value growth requires a multi-faceted approach. 

1. Conduct a Holistic Business Evaluation: 

It's not just about your balance sheet. To understand what’s at stake and what’s truly possible, you must consider factors like client relationships, operational efficiency, brand reputation, and market positioning. An accurate and holistic evaluation lays the foundation for actionable insights that lead to a roadmap to value growth and owner wealth.

2. Enhancing Intangible Assets: 

While physical assets, like machinery or inventory, are vital, intangible assets can also drive value. Your company’s intangibles, like intellectual property, key employee relationships, or unique processes, can significantly enhance your business value. You must identify and nurture these assets to ensure they contribute positively to net worth.

3. Risk Management: 

An often overlooked aspect of closing the owner wealth gap is safeguarding your business's value. This means identifying potential risks, both internal and external, and implementing mitigation strategies. This can range from diversifying your client base to prevent over-reliance on a single client, to establishing robust data protection measures.

4. Strategic Growth Planning: 

To accelerate the value of your company and close your wealth gap, you must have a relevant, forward-looking strategy. This may involve hiring high-potential employees, leveling up your sales force, expanding to new markets, adopting innovative technologies, or forming strategic partnerships. A future-oriented approach not only boosts your business value but also ensures sustained growth, positively impacting your personal net worth as an owner.

Optimizing owner compensation and benefits is another crucial aspect of capturing the wealth you deserve. Balancing salary and distributions ensures a fair return on your investment. 

5. Planned and Optimized Exit: 

Ultimately, every business owner will face an exit, be it through selling, passing it to the next generation, taking on investors, or other avenues. A well-planned exit strategy is the outgrowth of a well-implemented value acceleration plan. Like all things in life, we get better results when we begin with the end in mind. By understanding your business's true value and being ready to capitalize on opportunities, you can maximize your returns and, consequently, your personal net worth.

Monitoring and Adjusting Your Progress

To ensure you stay on track, it's essential to monitor your progress regularly. Our value acceleration methodology allows you to keep a close eye on key financial performance indicators such as revenue growth, profit margins, and return on investment. As market forces change the desired outcomes, be willing to adjust your strategies and explore alternative approaches. 

A dynamic and adaptable approach is key to narrowing the value gap effectively over the long term.

Business ownership presents unique challenges and opportunities for you. By understanding the intertwined relationship between your business's value and your personal net worth, you can take proactive steps to maximize both and enjoy the freedom and legacy you started your business for in the first place.



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