Business valuation

Do you need an accurate and independent company valuation? Our specialists apply valuation methods and market knowledge to determine valuations for purposes including exit planning, business sales, acquisitions, tax planning, incentive schemes, divorce cases, and shareholder disputes.

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Business financing is sought for the specific purpose of funding business activities which can include acquiring another business, management buy-ins (MBIs) or buyouts (MBOs), a key growth project or investing in new talent. Business financing can help you achieve your growth objectives and strengthen your overall competitive advantage. But the process to secure the business funding you need can be time consuming, stressful and costly if you don’t know what you’re doing.


We work with ambitious, high-growing businesses that have funding needs in excess of £2m and regularly approaching £100m. Our clients’ needs will typically be for sophisticated finance products such as cash flow based lending or private equity investments. Our value lies in helping clients access funding that relies on confidence in future trading and cash flows.

See our deals and success stories.


We can confidently say that every client we engage is unprepared to take their funding proposal to their business bank or alternative lender. Being unprepared for funder scrutiny can significantly reduce, or entirely remove, your chances of getting the financing your business needs. Remember: first impressions count.

The typical things that can erode funder confidence and jeopardise your chances of securing a business loan include:

  • Failure to fully explain your business model;
  • Poor articulation of your value proposition and value drivers;
  • Inconsistent, incoherent or incomplete financial information;
  • Weak financial modelling and incomplete forecasts;
  • Presenting a biased view of business performance and risks;
  • Funding proposals that exclude critical information that lenders expect to see.


To successfully secure business funding, whether it’s for supporting an acquisition, a management buyout (MBO) or organic growth, you need to achieve four fundamental objectives:

  1. Create a robust business plan that stands up to funder scrutiny;
  2. Articulate that plan in a balanced and coherent way that funders can understand;
  3. Approach the right partners to fund your plan as part of a competitive process;
  4. Defend value in due diligence and close your transaction professionally.

Funders need to have confidence in you and your business from the beginning to the end of the financing process. In the world of funding first impressions matter and you must never approach the funding market until you are truly ready. We can help you get ‘market-ready’ to deliver funder confidence and secure the funding you need to make your ambitions happen.


By using our business funding advisory services, our experts will ensure that your funding proposal stands up to funder scrutiny and gives you the best chance of securing the funding you need. Below are the different types of business financing we can help you secure:


"What is the current valuation or market price of my business?" This is a question many owner-managers consider when securing investment, buying a business, or achieving a quick business sale.

When valuing any business we use a range of business valuation methods, analytical tools, and our deep market knowledge. Find out more here.

The standard performance indicators we'll use to assess the value of your business include (but are not limited to):

  • Business assets and capital asset valuation;
  • Business income (current cash flow) and future cash flow;
  • Cost of capital;
  • Earnings ratio;
  • Growth rate;
  • Net profit;
  • Stock valuation.

As well as reviewing tangible and intangible assets, our valuation specialists will also perform a comparable analysis against market competitors to help determine the value of your business. 


Our experts work with UK privately-owned SMEs that need to accurately understand the valuation of their share capital for a variety of purposes.

See our deals and success stories.


Calculating the value of a company requires developing a deep understanding of business valuation models, the target business, and its market. We often see wildly inaccurate and inappropriate valuations that have led to some regrettable decision making.

Typical mistakes that business owners make when trying to value a business include:

  • Applying valuation metrics based on partial market information;
  • Using free business valuation tools or business valuation calculators on the internet; 
  • Failing to correctly use the common business valuation methods;
  • Failing to accurately account for the illiquidity of shares in private companies;
  • Misunderstanding how to deal with balance sheet items such as cash, stock, debtors and corporation tax;
  • Failing to correctly identify normalised underlying earnings;
  • Application of hope over logic.


To determine an accurate and fair market price, your method of business valuation must:

  1. Use a variety of valuation approaches such as comparable company, similar transaction and discounted cash flow analysis;
  2. Establish the appropriate markets against which to benchmark your business after developing a deep understanding of your business drivers;
  3. Carefully analyse your balance sheet to establish working capital requirements and therefore excess cash and debt like items;
  4. Accurately map ‘Enterprise Value’ to ‘Equity Value’ and correctly apply share rights to arrive at the right value per share across all share classes;
  5. Apply real world sense checks based on years of experience of selling private businesses.


Our experts provide accurate valuations for various purposes, including exit planning and business acquisitions. This is what our business valuation service provides:


We leverage our extensive market expertise of both public and proprietary deals knowledge to benchmark your business against competitors to accurately determine both its performance and its appropriate valuation metrics.

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If your valuation is undertaken for exit planning, we can help you make strategic decisions concerning how to increase value by improving financial ratios, further product/service development, branding and the overall direction of the business that can increase its value in your ownership.

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Our valuations are commonly used to assist with negotiations when buying a business, where there is a MBO or a share buyback. Our detailed and logical determination of value can cut through emotions and progress discussions in a constructive manner.


Our valuation specialists have experience of acting as an expert witness in divorce cases, shareholder disputes or other forms of litigation. We are happy to attend court to defend our valuations if so required.



Selling, buying and negotiating the value of businesses is what we do. Our opinions go beyond theory. Unfortunately, all too often valuations fall foul of real-world calibration that only comes from significant deal making experience.

Flexible Pricing

Instructing a professional valuation of your business can be an expensive exercise. We can be flexible in our approach to meet various budgets and depending on the level of assurance required.

Value Add

We add additional value by explaining how key value drivers can be used to your advantage and providing detailed logical reasoning behind our determination that builds understanding and consensus.



How can a corporate finance advisor help me?

Corporate finance transactions are not an everyday activity and it is unlikely your team will have the skills and knowledge required to navigate a deal. We provide expert advice to ensure a successful outcome.

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Why should I use Shaw & Co to help me value my business?

We have been delivering valuations of all types of businesses for many years. We are an ICAEW-registered firm and our opinions have been used robustly in private transactions, HMRC tax cases and divorce or shareholder dispute cases as expert witness. Our exposure both to the theoretical and the practical nature of deals means that we are perfectly placed to guide you on valuation of any business.

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Can I base the value of my business on a similar size company in my sector?

Yes you can. In fact, it is a recognised valuation technique and one that we use. However, used in isolation this technique can be misleading. Every business is unique and as many factors as possible need to be taken into account to arrive at an accurate view. It is also likely that the amount of information that you are able to access on a similar business is limited, or potentially distorted depending on its source.

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Isn't the value of my business just its net assets?

In some cases, yes - but very rarely. Valuation of a business starts from estimating the cash flows that the business will likely make in the future and assessing the risk or probability that these will be delivered. There are also various short cut techniques such as multiples of various trading metrics that derive an enterprise value. From there we look at the balance sheet to determine the level of cash, non-trading assets, debt and working capital within the business needed to support the trading. This can add or detract from the enterprise value and this is known as the Equity Value. The adjustment to get from one to the other is not linked to the net asset value of the business.

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Are you a broker?

No, we are not brokers. We are professional advisors. Whilst our role often involves the introduction of parties to a deal, our value is much greater than a simple introduction service. We support you in the development and articulation of your business case, the negotiation of terms and the management of completion - all of which materially improve the end result, adding significant value to your transaction.

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I'm carrying a lot of debt in my business. Will that affect its valuation?

Yes, the equity value of a business (the amount that the shares will be sold for) always takes into account the levels of debt in the business as well as any surplus cash or other assets. It can often be the case that the level of debt can materially influence the valuation. Depending on where the business is in its life cycle, a large debt burden can prohibit an exit for a period of time whilst the enterprise value grows from the investment that the debt facilitated. In other cases a large debt burden can be the result of a poor working capital cycle which will need to be addressed to drive value into the equity.

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What can I do if I think my business is worth more than your valuation?

It is very common for business owners to believe the value of their business is materially greater than its likely value in the market. This often comes from misunderstanding business valuation techniques, or from wishful thinking. However, if our valuation of your business is less than you had hoped, we can help you build a plan to drive its value.

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How much does your valuation service cost?

Our valuation reports are offered at a fixed price which we will agree with you before commencing our work. Our valuation fees start from £4,500 (plus VAT), increasing based on the complexity of the business we are valuing and intended use of the report.

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How long does a business valuation take to complete?

To value a business correctly you first have to truly understand it. This takes time. A valuation can be completed over a period of three to four weeks if information can be readily provided to us. We will also need regular access to your management team to discuss the business and answer our questions.

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Are you sector specialists?

We have specific sector knowledge derived from many years of collective deal making experience. However, we pride ourselves on the diversity of sectors we work with which challenges us to think creatively. This creative and challenging approach brings huge value to our clients when helping them to build robust business cases. See some of our specific sector experience.

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What sort of service experience can I expect if I instruct Shaw & Co?

We take all of our clients through a carefully crafted journey. This not only ensures that we are a great match for each other but, once engaged, it helps us to deliver exceptional client service that exceeds expectations.

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Why Shaw & Co


Our highly talented people are creative, innovative and thrive when faced with a deal-making challenge. It's no surprise that we make deals happen and turn your ambition into a greater outcome.

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Fees & charges


Our objective is to ensure that our fee more than pays for itself from the value we create for you and your business.

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