Lets face it, when not every business for sale actually sells, the seller should be playing to the buyer’s hand as well as his own.
In the very best scenario, the buyer wants to see
1) Increasing revenues and net to owner
2) Easily understood records and up to date contracts
3) Low staff turnover with reasonable wages and benefits
4) A great looking work place
5) Clean, current inventory
6) Well operating furniture, fixtures, and equipment
7) No history of bad dealings
8) A fair price
9) Owner financing a significant share (I know, Ouch!)
Take one of these perfect business-for-sale characteristics away and the owner needs to beef up the others and have good explanation.
Owners can take note today and make one of your 2010 resolutions to meet all 9. If you do then you are also playing into your hand in furthering the chances you will get the right price for you.
See additional tips at http://www.allbusiness.com/buying-exiting-businesses/selling-a-business/1445-1.html
Have a great New Year!