1. Don't be reactive
A great strategic buyer might just beat a path to your door. But its unlikely. Even less likely is the thought of two or more buyers chasing after at the same time.
So be proactive - if you want to sell your company you can get real competition amongst buyers - but only if you have an auction process to drive them towards you in the first place.
2. Avoid loss of focus
Its very easy to become consumed with the sale process - and this is usually rapidly and significantly to the detriment of the business. Hire some professionals to market your businses and to manage the sale process - leaving you to make the single largest contribution to the process that of continuing to trade profitably and develope the company.
3. Bad timing
Judging the best time to marketint the comapny in order to maximise the sale value is critical. Think carefully about how the company is performing, and what's happening in the market place - for example is there consolidation currently happening in your sector?
4. Not having a realistic idea of what your business is worth
Do you have a good idea what its worth today? You need to form realistic expectations before going into a sale process to ensure that the outcome will meet your needs in retirement, or as capital for your next project.
This is not a DIY project, to get the best outcome and to maximise the value from a sale of your business you need to work with an experienced team with the insight, resources and marketing skills to get your company in front of the right buyers, and to engineer real competition.
6. Leave time for the process
Selling a buiness is complex, and to get best price can take 3, 6, 9, or even 12 months. Prepare early, get your house in order, and approach the sale in a controlled and planned fashion for best results.
7. Consider alternative strategies
Selling now to a trade buyer may not be the best answer. Have you considered a management buyout as a means to acheiving succession? This might allow you to sell in part and ease out gently whilst relesaing capitla tax effectively.