Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Owner's Discretionary Income"

Everyone wants to know the same thing when analyzing a business – what’s the profit?

Prospective business owners want to know a company’s earning potential.  If analyzing a franchise, candidates should (and often do) ask existing franchisees how much money they’re making and what the financial viability of the system is.

Business owners want to know how much value they’re deriving from the company.

Investors, board members, franchisors and other interested parties want  to know the operational efficiency of the business.

The problem is that determining “profit” isn’t as simple as looking at the bottom line of a P&L – especially when analyzing a private company like TGA Premier Junior Golf that is usually home-based with a single owner/operator.  That’s because the P&L often includes a variety of benefits to the owner that are entered as expenses, such as an owner’s salary/draw, entertainment, etc.

At a recent conference, I learned of a financial calculation from a fellow franchisor that solves this problem.  It’s called “Owner’s Discretionary Income.”  Here’s the equation:

company profit (Net Income line of the P&L)
+ owner’s salary (including draw, dividends, etc.)
+ fringe benefits (things you’d likely pay for out of your own paycheck if not a business owner)
= Owner’s Discretionary Income

This calculation tells you exactly how much value a business is delivering to its owner.  It also tells you how well the business is functioning from an operational standpoint.  That, in my opinion, makes it extremely relevant and important for business owners and prospective entrepreneurs alike.

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