If you're reading this article your business is most likely in trouble. It's time to hear the ugly truth. If you decided to sell a distressed business you'd better get very realistic about its value.
Value of a business is comprised of it's assets and goodwill from a balance sheet point of view. Assets are worth as much as you can pay for buying similar item in similar condition in today's market. Goodwill is a little harder to define because it's combination of intangible things that bring customers to you again and again. (It's my definition related to business sale. Accountants have entirely different definition.) Both assets and goodwill work together to produce revenue. Goodwill portion in some businesses, like services, is greater than in others, like manufacturing. Goodwill is very hard to grow, but very easy to lose. When businesses go down, that's what they lose - goodwill. The sole purpose of for-profit business is to generate income for the owner(s). If your bottom line is shrinking, it's an emergency call "It's time to sell".
You tried your best to withstand the Great Recession, however odds were against you and finally you decided to sell. If two-three years ago selling the business would mean exiting with substantial amount of money in your pocket, now it's most likely an alternative to selling equipment and closing the doors. Why is that? Because over the past few years your business has lost substantial portion of the revenue, and you're either breaking even, or even touching into red territory.
Your objectives should change too. If earlier you could think of getting higher price for a business, today your objective is to sell it - period! Set the purchase price just a dash above of absolute minimum that you can accept and sell it faster. The sooner you sell, the sooner you can move on and re-build your life again. We have numerous examples of distressed business owners who remembering days of glory and amount of money invested, simply couldn't find in their heart to sell business for as low as we suggested them. They started with $100K, had business on the market of 4-6 months, eventually reduced the price to $40K, lost time and got kicked out by the landlord. If they would set the right price from the beginning, they would walk out chin up, having a little money in the pocket. Be smart and reasonable and make at least some money. Good luck.