According to a recent survey by Coopers & Lybrand, most fast-growing companies don't bother to get or maintain current valuations. That can be a costly mistake, since owners need to know exactly what their businesses are worth when they're considering selling out -- or relying on insurance policies to protect themselves against future estate-tax liabilities.

Does your company have a formal, current valuation?

  All companies Companies that have considered or are considering sale
Current valuation 32% 48%
Outdated valuation 21 15
No formal valuation 47 38

Source: Coopers & Lybrand's Trendsetter Barometer, a survey of more than 200 growing companies with average revenues of $6.4 million, 1992.