Investors want to see data to support the idea that a business has a history of making money, is currently making money, and will continue making money. Profit is a very important component in valuing a business, but this number just scratches the surface.
In addition to profit, revenue is also a strong consideration. Beyond the dollar amount of revenue for a certain year, income and expense sources are also studied to see the true value of the revenue. For example, revenue of $5 million for a software company seems great. However, where is that money coming from?
What if this hypothetical business made $4 million on a single contract that is ending in a few months? The other million dollars in revenue came from 200 customers, the most expensive of which paid $10,000. In that case, the high revenue is highly dependent on a single big-ticket client. After that client’s contract is up, the business would likely go back to making $1 million per year.
Profit also gives great insight into a business’ expenses. What if a business has higher revenue than is expected for the industry? On the surface, that is great. Upon deeper examination, what if that business makes more revenue because expenses are reduced by a vendor contract with the current owner’s relative who extends a generous family discount? The discount may not apply to the new owner.
As these examples show, finances are a treasure trove of data. Oftentimes, taking a deeper look at income and expenses yields positive results for both the business owner and investor.