How to Find the Value of Your Detroit, Michigan Business

Do you know how much your Detroit business is worth? Finding that number can be a difficult process involving a whole slew of factors, from where you’re located to what “value” means to you. While the precise “value” of a business is a somewhat nebulous concept, there are consistent methods of assessment that can set you on the right track if you’re trying to find the value of your business. This might seem complicated, but we can help. At Redwood Valuation, we built our foundation on years of experience that we leverage to assist our customers seeking business valuations.

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Why Do Businesses Get Valuations?

There are a myriad of reasons to get your business valued, but perhaps the most obvious one is in order to see how much it will sell for. If you are considering selling your business, it’s critical to get a valuation first so that you can go into negotiations with potential buyers armed with knowledge and data.

In addition to how much a business is worth, a valuation can show which parts of a business are valuable. The value of any one business could come from entirely different sources than a different business. It might be surprising to learn that a business with a very high value in Detroit is perhaps not as highly valued in a different city. In contrast, a business that seems modest and small may actually hold a lot of value for a buyer. The particulars of a business will determine the outcome.

Therefore, getting experienced accountants to do a valuation is critical. An accountant doing a valuation needs to know tax law, the audit process and finance, as well as information about your business. But the benefits of a business valuation come in many forms, from stock compensation to expenses to selling prices. However, any advantages of doing a valuation are up to you and your business. We at Redwood offer a free consultation for clients who need advice getting started with a business valuation.

What Approaches Are There to Business Valuation?

An accounting doing a business valuation will likely take one of three main approaches to assessing the value of a business. While there may be other approaches, these three encompass the main methods of assessing a business’ value. These methods apply to an array of businesses, whether they’re in Detroit or elsewhere. Each business has its own particulars that will ultimately determine the approach that is the most appropriate for it.

Looking at Assets

There are several asset-based approaches possible for business valuation. The aim of an asset-based approach is to total the investments of a business. One way to go about looking at a business’s assets is by figuring out how much it would cost to set up a brand new business that mimics the existing one. This reveals what that original business is worth (what kinds of assets it has) and what liabilities it has. The difference between the assets and the liabilities of the company is the business’ value.

Of course, this approach is deceptively simple. In practice, determining which assets and liabilities to include, and how, is a tricky process. Additionally, there are two different ways of going about this process: a going concern asset-based approach and a liquidation asset-based approach.

A going concern asset-based approach is a little more straightforward. Value here is determined based on the value of the assets the accountant finds in the business contrasted with the cost of any liabilities. In a liquidiation focused approach to valuation, it is important to imagine the business is liquidated before determining its value. The net cash received from such a liquidation is the business’ value.

The type of asset-based approach you choose depends on your business. It is possible that a different method is more suitable for your particular business. As one example, a business that is owned in the name of a single person �” a sole proprietorship �” should be advised not to take this approach. A corporation, however, could find value in an assessment that is asset-based, as its assets are owned by the entire company and not one person.

Market-Based Approach

Sometimes it is important to take in the whole picture, meaning the entire market, and not just your one business. The value of other businesses in Detroit could provide insight on your own. A method that uses comparison to determine value take into account other factors impacting the market as a whole.

This approach has the benefit of viewing overall market conditions rather than having a more narrow focus. An accountant using this approach will try to determine the fair market value of your business and what a buyer is likely to pay for it in the current climate.

Unfortunately, it is not always easy to get competitors with your business to reveal the sort of information needed for a market-based valuation. Some of the difficulty with a market focused approach arises when you encounter non-competition clauses and other information a business has decided to make private.

Income- or Earning-Based Approach

The difference between an income or earnings focused approach and other approaches is that this means of valuation is concerned with the future. However, this method starts in the present, looking at the earnings of the business today to try to predict its future earnings.

It is not an exact science to predict the future of a business and therefore an earning focused approach can invite an element of risk. However, they can use hard data to back up this prediction. The accountant doing the valuation can even “normalize” figures to remove unusual spikes or dips that could make the assessment less precise. Sometimes, these predictions are divided by capitalization factors that fluctuate based on the market.

How a business is run and who owns it is an important consideration here, as with other approaches to valuation. Sole proprietorship could mean that a business’s identity is so closely linked to its owner that selling it incurs particular risks that can not be predicted based on earnings alone.

Different Kinds of Business Valuations

A valuation has benefits beyond just figuring out what a business is worth and there is therefore a lot of variety in types of valuations. A business valuation is not the only type of assessment that is possible. Others focus on things such as patents and intellectual property.

What is a 409A Valuation?

A 409A valuation is conducted for the purpose of evaluating the stocks associated with the company. It is common for employees in many fields to receive stocks as compensation. Such businesses need a 409A valuation because that stock is considered a form of income offered in one year but paid out in a different year.

This sounds complicated. What it comes down to is stock options. Businesses who need this form of valuation need it in order to determine the fair market value of their business. Any employee offered stock as part of their compensation must be able to buy equity in your company at or above the fair market value determined through this valuation. In addition to stock, a 409A valuation is required if your company issues bonus plans, salary deferral arrangements and other agreements involving deferred compensation for employees.

Often, you will know you need this type of valuation because it will be legally required of your business. Additional 409A valuations could be required at the end of a new round of funding or once a year, even if you have gotten this type of valuation in the past already.

It is advised that you don’t try to do a 409A valuation yourself, even though you can, and instead let an accountant deal with unforeseen difficulties that you aren’t prepared to handle. They can also help you choose the best approach to this valuation for your circumstances and business needs.

Valuations for Businesses

Whether you’re negotiating a transaction, planning your business or estate, or involved in entity conversations, business valuations cover a wide range of situations and companies. Perhaps you are interested in finding the likely selling price of your business on the market. Or you might be hoping to assess your tax liability by looking at your business’ value.

Equity and enterprise valuations are best handled by a talented accountant. As our clients have expanded, so has Redwood, increasing the size and expertise of our team. We years of experience and a comprehensive team, we are prepared to take on a host of business valuations needs. Business valuation could include tax or financial reporting, assessment of fair market value or for purchase price allocations.

IRS regulations, business needs and finance are complex fields that call for knowledge and specialization. You know your business, but evaluating your business against all applicable laws, regulations and financial considerations takes an expert in the field of business valuation.

Valuations for IP and Patents

Patents and intellectual property also require their own valuations. Patent and IP valuations come from many different industries in the business world. Taxes are complex when it comes to IP and patents, but it is also important to make sure trade secrets and trademarks can be protected. But you might also seek an IP and patent valuation in order to plan, secure a merger or acquisition, or during litigation.

Don’t neglect to protect your valuable intellectual property or patent by getting a valuation of it. These assets can be difficult to appraise as they are often intangible and difficult to define. But the value of IP and patents cannot be understated, especially in recent times when so much of a business’s value comes from these assets in particular.

Purchase Price Allocations (ASC 805)

Another requirement businesses encounter is ASC 805. During a purchase or acquisition, businesses seek to find their fair market value, including their intangible assets and liabilities, to bring to the transaction. This is particularly important for assessing purchase prices in an acquisition.

The goal of a purchase price allocation is to tease apart the pieces of a business, such as liabilities and assets, to find its fair market value. Sometimes a business is sold in pieces and in such cases it’s important to find the value of those pieces before any transaction takes place.

What’s the Bottom Line?

At Redwood Valuation Partners, we are experts in business valuation. Whether your business is in Detroit or somewhere else entirely, we can help you find the value of your business or intellectual property and stay in compliance with the tax code and other laws and regulations.

Fair market value is a crucial piece of information you should have about your business. This may be because you intend to sell your company or because you want to stay in compliance with 409A. Maybe you are seeking a business valuation for tax reasons or to assess the value of a patent. Don’t get overwhelmed by the details. That’s where experienced accountants come in to help inform and guide you. We know how to assist you with a business valuation whether it is for tax issues, value assessment or any other reason.

While venture capital and auditing can be complicated, we believe teamwork and expertise can help manage the process of a valuation. Our team consists of experts who have worked in their specialties for years. We understand that many of our clients come from high-pressure startups and growth-focused companies with tight deadlines. That’s why we won’t waste your time; we’ll handle the details while you keep running your business.

Whether you want a valuation for selling, taxes or any other reason, we can promise client focus and years of experience when working alongside you. We go beyond the standard valuation to offer a free consultation, as well as audit defense and customized reports. We will even help you get started if you aren’t sure. And our customized reports will include all the detail you need to make business decisions based on your valuation. The comprehensive valuation report will include subjective and objective factors relevant to your particular business. And if an audit should come up, you can rest easy knowing our audit defense has your back at any time.

If you do want to find the value of your business or assets, having skilled assistance can be a boon. Redwood has the experts on hand to make your business valuation a painless process with lots of benefits. Find out how to get started with a consultation.


Our clients have direct access to Redwood’s managing partners and directors. You know your business better than anyone, and the valuation process includes subjective assessments that require your input. We guide you through this process, save your time, and allow you to focus on what matters – growing your business. Get a quality company appraisal in Detroit, MI.


The Redwood team has performed many IRC 409A Valuation Seattle engagements, and we offer a wide variety of business appraisals to Seattle. Other services include ASC 805 valuation (purchase price allocations), IP valuation, patent valuation, impairment valuation, carried interest valuation, portfolio valuations, IRC 382 valuations, and many other types of stock valuations and business valuations.


With over 50 years of combined valuation experience, we provide top-tier expertise and client service at a reasonable price. Our experience as CFOs and Controllers of venture firms and startups separates us from our competitors who lack the boots-on-the-ground experience that our clients have, which we also share.

Contact Us

If you plan to issue stock options in the next twelve months or have any questions about potential valuations, give us a call for a free consultation and we will give you candid advice about whether a valuation may be needed and how we might help. Our goal is to help our clients achieve their desired goals with minimal burden.

Detroit Michigan business valuation services

409A Valuation Detroit

Redwood Valuation Partners was formed behind an idea of service positioning us as one of the most well respected companies in the industry. Our expert knowledge of finance, tax, venture capital and the audit process helps us understand the difficulties of start-ups. We speak your language! Give us a call and learn how we can help. For information on Business Valuations follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook and find us on Google+ too! (206) 660-1295

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