As a business owner, do you have the end in mind? Even if you have no intention of selling for decades, having processes and procedures saves you time and creates a more valuable business.This checklist guides you through the steps you should take before putting your business on the market.

Know where your business is going

Map out a vision of where you want your business to be in three, five and even 10 years.

Know how you're going to run your business

Use our business plan template to help you map it out. Think about which sort of business structure you should have based on who you want to sell your business to.

Know your customers

Research and understand your customers - who are they and what keeps them returning.

Train your employees to be self-sufficient

Motivated staff who knows how to run the business in your absence are an asset to you as well as a new owner. Create a transparent and sound structure for the important processes that drive the business-everything from technology to staff reporting.

Well-trained, loyal staff increase the value of a business. They can keep the business running even if you're not there. A business not dependent on any one person attracts a higher sale value. At a minimum you should have policies and procedures for your staff to follow including:

Understand the legalities and financials of exiting the business

Legal agreements between partners or company shareholders can solve this. You should also be very clear about your financials. Smart business owners are on top of their cash flow to cover outgoings and for future forecasts. Our Financial and legal page gives more details on this crucial issue.

Think like a buyer

Having good staff, processes and financials increases the sale value of your business. Take a good look at your business and see if you need to make changes before you put it on the market. Find a buyer or successor for your business can help you identify who your potential buyers might be and what they are looking for when they buy a business.