Earlier this week I was on vacation about 600 miles from home. Just before leaving I ran into someone who would be a perfect fit for one of my businesses.

We had in impromptu meeting since I was heading out of town. We agreed to move ahead with the sale of the business.

Should I stay can cancel my plans? Should I go on vacation? What would you do?

Selling my business while on vacation

I had no intentions of canceling my vacation plans. We’d made them 5 months earlier. In fact I was excited to be away!

Why was I so calm with someone anxious to get a business deal done?

This was the plan since day one. Everything I built in the business was designed to work without me and for a buyer with the right mindset and a decent offer to whisk it away!

As such I had everything in order to proceed with the business sale right from my iPhone (using Dropbox, one of my favorite freebies).

How to be ready to sell a business

From day one I set out to build a business that I would buy if I were in the buying mood or wanting to expand. As such I’ve made a focused effort to document things along the journey.

Part of this is having consistent and meaningful quarterly and annual planning sessions. This has helped me keep track of not just the business assets and finances, but intangible business features such as marketing successes, business systems, management systems, personnel changes, market research findings and so on.

Having all of this ready means that with little or no updating I can hand over a robust synopsis of the business as a whole, current status, strong points and give a prospective buyer an excellent holistic view of the operation.  At the drop of a hat you could read my business like a good book.

How to keep your business ready to sell

Perhaps we can use a car as an analogy. You’ve likely purchased a car in the past. Used cars can be a pretty big risk. They’ve had at least one owner, perhaps the owner has or has not serviced the vehicle, they’ve perhaps modified it and made “improvements”. Wouldn’t you want to know all of those things before buying a car? What about a business?

Someone who plans to get top dollar from their car keep meticulous records along they way. This tells the buyer they kept the car in top form. Though it may have miles on it, they’ll see it should have life left in it.

Your business is no different.

If you’re not keeping good records, no one will want your car. If they do, expect to get a low ball offer at best.

So in a nutshell, keep immaculate records.

Sell a business for top dollar with immaculate records

If you were buying a business, what you want to know? If you were looking to pay TOP DOLLAR for a business, how does that change things?

I won’t make an exhaustive list here of all the things one should know when buying or selling a business as you’ll find some great bullet points in the free download below.

Let’s talk about HOW to keep immaculate records and when we do you’ll find what records to keep will become more obvious.

Tracking your business along the way

It’s so easy day to day in a business to be overwhelmed with putting out fires or perhaps overwhelmed with panic if business is sluggish.

This perception is much like traveling down a highway at high speed and looking at the rocks just beside the road. They are passing by really fast as we are very close to them. However if you look off into the distance at the horizon, it appears to be moving really slow, if at all.

What happens with many business owners is we are so focused on the rocks, we look up and the mountains have changed. Making periodic check ins with your business a habit keeps you on top of the changing horizon and documenting your progress.

If you’re making any effort at all to grow your business then you’re likely making progress. This is not unlike how you keep your focus during daily events using a time management worksheet.

Document your business to get top dollar

Being disciplined and taking time to document those little baby steps will over time yield a solid map of progress. This map is vital to establishing where the business is now, where it has come from and where you’re taking it. This is critical information for a person seeking to buy a business.

Often this comes in the form of quarterly and annual planning. It also is important during these planning sessions to document. Think about not just where you’re going, but where you’ve come from. What road blocks did you overcome? What new breakthroughs or successes have you had? What lessons did you learn or new things did you test? What failures did you experience?

Doing this periodically keeps us from one day, looking up and seeing a potential buyer with cash in hand only to realize we have no idea where we are or what to do.

What to document when selling a business

In the free download below you’ll get an outline of what documentation I keep, but this will vary depending on your industry more than anything. Keep in mind that a small business doesn’t need mountains of records. A simple bullet point outline should be enough to get the negotiations started.

Here are a few things you’ll likely want to have ready:

  • Overview of your business
  • Shining features and best selling points of the operation
  • Business age, location and market area
  • Competitive analysis (if you have it)
  • Revenue breakdown (complete list of products/services and revenues for each)
  • Profit & Loss Report for 3 years
  • Number of active customers/clients (or transactions, however you track client base)
  • Market area breakdown (if you sell to more than one area)
  • Business hard assets (buildings, equipments, vehicles, tools)
  • Business soft assets (systems, marketing, website, patents, people, software)


The process of selling a business will be different for everyone.

What’s important is being ready and having your affairs in order so when the day comes you can focus less on getting ready and focus more on selling your business for top dollar.

By using the helpful download below and making good use of consistent planning you’ll have a far more efficient business and will be ready to sell on a moments notice. Oh and get the best offer possible!


If now or ever in the future you’re thinking of selling a business then this powerful worksheet will help you make sure you’re documenting all the most valuable features that you business has to offer. It’s a simple worksheet that used often will make sure you’re ready on a moments notice to get the highest possible price for your business. Don’t sell a business without it!