Building a business from the ground up, buying an existing company or inheriting and growing one can mean a lifetime of work. Most of your resources might be actively tied up in your business’s physical facilities and financial needs.

In other words, the business itself represents your savings and retirement portfolio. When you are ready to hand the torch off to someone new and start enjoying your golden years, it’s important to inform yourself before you act. After all, the steps you take in the next few months will directly impact the quality of life you have for the foreseeable future.

Honestly evaluate your business, especially for its weaknesses

No one knows your business better than you do, which means you are in the best position to explore what changes, expansions and upgrades will maximize your selling price. You need to be honest about assets and liabilities, but there are often small changes that can make your company much more attractive.

Getting rid of a few bad apples from your staff roster, investing in long-delayed equipment upgrades and even making cheap aesthetic improvements to your facilities can all increase what a buyer will happily pay for the company.

Create documentation to help someone else run the company easily

One of the common requests that a buyer for a business will have for a previous owner is help during the transition to new management. The new company owner will want you to do some of the work around the business and train them so that they are fully ready to take over.

The more concrete information you have in written form, such as daily workflow and account information, the easier it will be for you to set someone up to take over your position with minimal training and future involvement on your behalf.

Discuss your hopes and expectations in order to make them a reality

A business sale is one of the most complicated and expensive transactions possible. Even if you have made a career of selling, you may not want to handle this sale on your own.

Working with an experienced business law attorney can set you up for success during the sale process and ensure you have someone capable of negotiating on your behalf should the need arise.