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Selling Your Business? How to Get the Most for It

Selling Your Business? How to Get the Most for It
Image credit: Corbis

Political brinksmanship in Capitol Hill over the “fiscal cliff” may have you feeling nervous about your business and you might be thinking about bailing. If you are going to sell, don’t be overly emotional or rash. Consider these five tips for making a graceful exit from Bill McBean, author of the recent book The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don’t, published by Wiley.

  1. You are still the boss. Even though you are looking to sell your business, you will have to keep your business in tip-top shape -- efficient and competitive -- if you want to fetch the highest price. So don’t slack off during the day as you start planning your retirement.

    Related: Selling Your Business? Serial 'Trep Gurbaksh Chahal Says Be Bought, Not Sold (Video)
     
  2. Know your numbers backwards and forwards. During the time when you are shopping your business around and still running it, you are going to have to be especially on top of your financials and your illiquid assets. Employees, standards of practice, procedures and customers all contribute to your company’s value and you will need to remember this when you are on both sides of the coin -- boss and seller.
     
  3. Go long. You might be frustrated right now because of endless fiscal cliff machinations, but remember the big picture. Keep in mind who is your ideal buyer, how much you want to make from the sale and what you need to do in order to get that price, and what is the most optimal time to sell your business for your personal life, too.

    Related: 4 Things to Do Before You Sell Your Business
     
  4. Be willing to change. Selling your business is not the same as selling a product or service. You may need a new business plan entirely and your old marketing plan will very likely be in sufficient. Guiding your business toward an exit changes priorities.
     
  5. Know what you are up against. Part of getting the most for your business is knowing what your competition is worth so that you can defend the price you are asking to your potential buyers. Knowing the trends of your market will give you an upper hand as you negotiate prices and contracts with possible sellers. Another key part of taking home the most money is maximizing your tax deductions. Set up an appointment with your tax guru.

How have fiscal cliff negotiations affected your thoughts about selling your business? Leave a comment below and let us know. 

Catherine Clifford is a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com.

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