When an owner decides to sell a company, there are a few things he must do before the company is put on the market. First, all records need to be put in order, including financials, leases, legal documents and licenses. Then the business must be appraised--a reasonable price is best for all parties. After that, the owner may want to employ a broker to help get the word out and handle the negotiation side of any dealings. During this process, the business must continue to grow.
If all goes well, a deal is reached, financing is acquired, and a closing date is set. And when that date comes, the deal is completed and both parties think they got a good deal.
Sounds pretty cut and dry, right? It used to be that this process was as easy as it sounds, deals going through with little trouble and yielding high payouts. Not anymore. Expect complications if you decide to sell your company.