Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Is $13.25 reasonable for a cup of coffee?

This morning started as most mornings do around our house: Blurry-eyed, I went to Starbucks for a grande Americano. It cost me $2.65.

I could have ordered a regular drip coffee or even brewed one at home, but I'm lazy and I've become addicted to the powerful jolt of three shots of espresso in the morning.

Now $2.65 for a coffee may not sound like a big deal, but if you're preparing to sell your company, that coffee may be costing you four or five times that.

Story continues below advertisement

A buyer will likely use a multiple of your pre-tax profit to value your business. If you can get five times pre-tax profit for your company, a $2.65 expense will end up costing you $13.25 in terms of money you would have received when you sold your business ($2.65 x 5 = $13.25).

Now think about your choice of hotel room the next time business takes you to New York: The W Hotel at 49th and Lexington has a great lobby bar, but at $429 a night, is it really worth the money when you could stay at the Marriott across the street for $359, instantly saving $70 — or $350 once you multiply by five?

How about the new 3G iPhone for $699 — is it worth $3,500 to you?

And the new A6…?

What expenses have you stripped out of your business in preparation for a sale? What expenses would you avoid cutting for fear they would have an impact on your business performance? What little luxuries do you run through the business that you would never give up? Tell me about them in the comments section below.

Special to the Globe and Mail

John Warrillow is the author of Built To Sell: Turn Your Business Into One You Can Sell . Throughout his career as an entrepreneur, Mr. Warrillow has started and exited four companies. Most recently he transformed Warrillow & Co. from a boutique consultancy into a recurring revenue model subscription business, which he sold to The Corporate Executive Board in 2008. He is the author of Drilling for Gold and in 2008 was recognized by BtoB Magazine's "Who's Who" list as one of America's most influential business-to-business marketers.

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error
About the Author
Founder, The Sellability Score

John Warrillow is the developer of The Sellability Score software application . Throughout his career as an entrepreneur, John has started and exited four companies. He is the author of Built To Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You, published by Penguin in 2011. More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨