Ultimately, every business owner will want to know the resale value of their business. Even if they intend to pass it on to the next generation, it is important to be able to defend your valuation. Several criteria are needed to come to a reasonable valuation.
If there is real estate involved, and it is assumed that a new owner would continue the use of the property for the same or similar business, a commercial appraisal may be needed. However, lenders have some leeway on whether a fee appraisal is necessary, especially if the real estate value is less than $500,000.
A second consideration is whether the business will be sold as a "going concern" or if a new owner will be starting something new or a re-start of what was once there. A "going concern" will be valued based on historical profitability and how bankable those figures turn out to be. Most business acquisitions will involve financing, so it is important to avoid being too aggressive in write-offs in the immediate year's tax returns, otherwise a prospective buyer will devalue the business to comply with lender requirements. Saving some in taxes could result in even greater losses as it relates to the lowering of net income and thereby lowering the value of your business.
When a prospective buyer learns about your business, they will want to see two things right away. First, they will look at your website as it gives a first impression of how current your business is. Second, they will want to see your financials to determine the viability of the business.
If you're thinking a sale of your business is in the near future, contact Waking Girl Company. They have the resources to update a website and to give guidance on an independent evaluation.