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  • Writer's pictureEddie Davis

Value Drivers or Life Drivers?

I recently caught up on some reading about the value drivers to consider when selling a business. The consistent message was, just focus on 5 or 10 value drivers and you’ll maximize the value of your business when you sell it. My reaction: there’s a lot more to “maximizing the value” than this.

When I meet with a business owner, I get to know the business history, the business strengths and weaknesses (i.e. the value drivers), and other key pieces of information. I’ll deliver an estimate of the business value and review it with the owner. And sometimes, the response is … “I understand it, but I’m not going to sell my company for that”. Translation, the owner just isn’t ready to go to market … regardless of the “value drivers”.

Here’s what I’ve learned over the past 20-years. When a business owner is considering “exiting” their business, something has happened in their world, something has changed…let’s call them the life drivers.

For instance:

  • A personal matter – health issue, financial change, moving somewhere

  • A family matter that needs attention

  • Concern about surviving the next “market correction”

  • Worry how the next surge/variant of COVID will impact business

  • Just not as attentive or as “connected” to the business

  • “I don’t know what it is, but something is keeping me up at night”

Here’s my point.

  • Value drivers matter but generally, life drivers are the real motivation

  • Life drivers are private and personal; sometimes hard to see them

  • Understand how the life drivers might impact the negotiation

In the end, the maximum value of the business is the result of good-faith negotiations by both parties. And there’s no list of value driver for that.


Like you, we’re small business owners. We get it, and we’d love to discuss it with you. Give us a call for a free consultation. We appreciate the opportunity to help out.

This post was written by Eddie Davis, C.P.A., C.V.A. , Harvest Business Advisors partner.

Clients choose Harvest Business Advisors for our sage advice on profitably growing their business, accurate business valuations, and when the time is right, a consistent ability to deliver a high price as part of a smooth exit transaction.

Harvest Business Advisors provides business brokerage, business valuation, and business succession planning services.

We have extensive experience in the information technology and professional services, manufacturing, distribution, and contracting fields. We maintain offices in Maryland and Virginia. Connect with us at

or 877-838-4966 to discuss selling your business, ordering a business valuation or buying a business.

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