You have worked for years to build up your business and now it is time to sell it and move on to something else. You want to get the very best price for your years of hard work, and that means that you will have to take the necessary steps to maximize your return. There are several elements that affect the price of your business. Some of the more important elements are: Customer base Revenue projections Updated facilities By following this 9-step process, you can prepare your business for sale and make sure that you get the best possible price. #1. Fix Up Your Locations And Offices Even if all you do is put a new coat of paint on your showroom walls, then you have taken the necessary step towards improving the look of your business. The more you put into fixing up your business, the more a potential buyer will be willing to pay for it. Some of the tasks you should take on include: Repair floors, walls and ceiling of office and retail area; Spruce up the landscaping; Modernize the business reception area; Update Your Systems. Sometimes a business owner just knows when their business systems are outdated and need to be replaced. This could become a major project, but it will significantly increase the selling price of your business. If you think that a potential buyer is going to want to invest time and money into upgrading office, retail and inventory systems that you should have already updated, then you will have a hard time finding a buyer. #2. Improve Your Staff When a potential buyer visits your business, they will want to see dedicated staff members who are competent and responsible. Work with your staff to solve personnel issues prior to putting the business on the market. #3. Enhance Your Customer Base When you make the decision to sell, you will want to create a strong business atmosphere that will attract buyers willing to pay top dollar. One of the essential steps in attracting buyers is to enlarge your customer base and increase sales from the customers you have. Use coupons and other promotions to bring in new clients. You can also start a referral program that rewards current customers for bringing in new business. This is a great way to enhance customer loyalty and develop a customer base that is very positive about your business. #4. Update Your Business Plan A prospective buyer is going to want to see your company’s business plan, and that means that your business plan needs to be updated. You need to develop current and accurate revenue projections, and you also need to update the marketing plans for the future. A prospective buyer is going to want to see a focused business that is operating under a strong plan before they agree to buy. #5. Develop A Sales Pitch A prospective buyer will want to know why you are selling the business and every detail there is to know about business operations. You do not want to leave corporate skeletons in the closet when selling a business. Develop a sales pitch that gives the good and the bad of your company but, in the end, convinces a buyer that your company is a good investment. #6. Get A Business Valuation Before you consider how you are going to sell your business, you need to find out how much it is worth. After you have done everything you can to improve your company, it is time to find out what a third-party thinks the company is worth. Get a professional business valuation to help you guide the sales process and get the best price. #7. Find A Broker If your succession planning includes selling your business to a trusted friend or family member, then you won’t need a broker to sell your business. You also have the option of advertising your business for sale privately via websites like Business Sold or Biz Buy Sell. But if you are putting your business up on the open market and don’t really have the time to sell privately, then investing in a reliable broker is a mandatory part of the process. #8. Keep The Process Confidential If customers find out that you are selling your business, then it could hurt sales. In order to get the very best price for your business, you need to keep the process confidential. #9. Get An Attorney Get an attorney involved in your sales process from the very beginning to create the proper documents and be completely familiar with your business. A good attorney can help you to get a better selling price and help you to avoid any problems. The decision to sell your business is not always an easy one and the process can be intimidating. But if you take the process of selling your business one step at a time, then you can assure yourself of getting the best possible price when the sale is closed. Images: ”sell message on keyboard, to sell something or sell concept for stock market./ Shutterstock.com“ __________________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Tweak Your Biz: Would you like to write for Tweak Your Biz? Tweak Your Biz is an international, business advice community and online publication. Today it is read by over 140,000 business people each month (unique visitors, Google Analytics, December, 2013). See our review of 2013 for more information. An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.