This is very likely to be the most significant financial (and personal) decision of your life. There are three smart things to do:
1) Get smart / do some reading. What you don’t know about selling a business can literally cost you a fortune. Here are four good, useful, easy reads: Walking to Destiny (Snider); Traction (Wickman); Exit Planning, The Definitive Guide (Brown); Built to Sell (Warrilow)
2) Carve off and delegate selected value-building tasks to the heir apparent, key people on your leadership team as they are ready, willing, able. Aim to free up 15%-20% of your time so you can shift from “hands on, head down” to “hands off, head off.” Move toward working more on your business than in your business. Try to get your business able to thrive without you. You will benefit hugely with more time and financial freedom. This also reduces a buyer’s risks.
3) Get some help. CPAs, financial planners, business brokers, insurance specialists, estate/tax lawyers and business value consultants all bring specialized expertise. If you have done some reading, you’ll be well informed to pick the right people for you, ask the right questions – and learn what’s critical to a happy and lucrative sale.