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The steps involved in liquidating a business

If you have come to the difficult decision that it is time to move on from your business, an experienced business lawyer can walk you through all of your options, including selling the business, passing it on to someone else, merging it with another business or simply closing the business and liquidating the assets.

After you reach the decision that liquidating your business makes the most sense, the process involved will require many steps. Here is a brief overview of the business liquidation process, as explained by the U.S. Small Business Administration:

Learn about the process and make a plan. You have already started this step by reading this post, but you will also want to follow-up with your business lawyer and accountant for personalized advice. As you are planning, keep in mind that your business’ creditors will have to approve your plans before you can act.

Collect inventory and get all items ready for sale. This includes taking a current inventory of all of your business assets, including as much detail as possible, and then deciding what to do with each item. And don’t forget intangible assets such as your permits, patents, trademarks or lease, which likely also have value.

Figure out the liquidation value of your assets. Typically, the liquidation value is at least 20 percent less than retail value, but you will want to get a value appraisal in writing from a qualified appraiser before you entertain any offers.

Choose which type of sale to have. There are many ways in which you can sell your business assets, including a negotiated sale to another business, a consignment sale, an online sale, a sealed bid sale, a retail sale (or “going out of business” sale) or a public auction. Do research to decide on the best type of sale for your situation.

Finish planning your sale. Decide on the best time for your sale, the best location and the best person or company to oversee it. It’s important to have an expert assist you with your sale so that you can make sure to get the most for your assets. Have your business attorney review sales contracts to make sure that they won’t subject you to disputes.

Following these steps and working with an experienced business attorney can help ensure that you can move on from your business in the best position possible, whether you are moving on to retirement or a new business.

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