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Perhaps you started your business 30 years ago and are now ready to retire. Or maybe you’ve grown a business founded by someone else and are ready for something different. No matter your motivation for selling your business, if you plan to do it soon, here are three steps for moving toward a successful sale.

Look Within
Be introspective. You must take a step back to assess whether this is really the right time to sell your business. Personal factors often outweigh financial and business motivations. So ask yourself why you really want to sell, what you hope to do after the sale, and how you intend to support yourself after the sale. A successful sale hinges on knowing what you are leaving and what you are heading towards.

Clean Things Up
If you’ve decided that a sale is the right move, it’s time to get your house in order. Many of the same steps you’ve taken to make your business successful will help, but if your books are messy or there are serious shortcomings in your operations, now is the time to fix that.

First, you must organize your financials. Your profits should be clearly stated, and expenses should make sense to a third party. How your company earns money should be clear to potential buyers. Document to the greatest extent possible how you do business. Potential buyers should be confident that they can take your business and run it as well as you have. When you leave, you shouldn’t be taking any important data with you. Leave behind whatever is necessary to successfully run the organization you have built.

Finally, cultivate curb appeal. Well-maintained vehicles, clean and attractive facilities, laundered uniforms, and an attractive website all create interest and make it clear that your business is well-run. The ultimate goal here is to cultivate buyer interest and trust.

Contact an M&A Advisory Firm
Selling your business on your own is a recipe for disaster, stress, and fatigue. A business intermediary packages your business in the most attractive possible way, then puts it on the market. They will assemble materials to present your company to potential buyers, qualify and screen buyers, protect confidentiality, negotiate the sale, and then see your business through to a successful and lucrative closing.

Hiring an M&A advisor is the moment when the work you’ve done gets put to the test. So you need to carefully screen and interview them, ask them about their specific plans to sell your business, and then work with them to create a sale that is mutually beneficial for both you and the buyer.

A sale is a monumental undertaking, not something you can do overnight or manage on your own. So invest in quality help to get the most out of the deal while remaining focused on running your business.

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