The successful sale of a company doesn't just happen; rather, it is the result of a carefully orchestrated process, the planning of which begins many years before the business is ever put on the market.  
When we help business owners develop exit strategies, we focus on three concepts: sell-ability, timing the sale, and the impact on the owner's personal life.  As the name suggests, sellability measures the likelihood that a business would actually sell, and is distinct from valuation.  We analyze several key aspects of the company to help the owner view their business objectively, understand it's strengths and weaknesses, and take corrective action to improve it's attractiveness to a potential buyer.  The ultimate goal is to ensure that the business will be sellable at any point in time, independent of the owner's planned sale date, to hedge against the risk of unforeseen events while enabling the owner to be nimble and adjust the sale date based on market conditions.
Determining the right time to sell a business requires a thorough understanding of the owner's personal goals, the company's performance and general operating structure, and the market.  In a perfect world, your business and market will peak the same year you decide to retire.  In the real world, this rarely occurs; however, we can help you gain a better understanding of when you should pursue the sale while also helping to align your company's performance and your personal goals.
The final aspect of exit planning involves helping the owner to plan for life after the sale.  We'll help you determine when you can afford to sell the business, understand the tax and estate consequences of a sale, and create contingency plans for a variety of scenarios.  Ultimately, these actions will also focus on improving your company's sellability while enhancing the value you extract from it in a sale.