Hire a risk taker

An appraiser with a background as an entrepreneur or venture capitalist is less likely to be put off by risk and more inclined to assign value to a company's growth potential.

Know who's doing the valuing

Tailor your pitch to someone who's predisposed to understand your company. In other words, if you're in a sports business, look for an appraiser who's a sports fanatic.

Talk up your rivals

The ability to speak authoritatively--and positively--about your competition shows that you're realistic about the marketplace and a good manager. Better managers get better valuations.

Think about the context

You may get a higher number if your company is evaluated in the context of a potential merger or acquisition, since many appraisers will factor in the strategic value of the deal.

Get credit for your IP

If you've developed intellectual property, be sure that it's included in your appraisal. It may cost more, since the appraiser will have to do patent searches and so on, but it can boost the final number.