For many business owners the sale of their business is a hard decision, but can prove exceedingly financially rewarding. In a survey of 513 business owners of privately-held companies, nearly nine out of ten of them are interested in one-day selling their firms. This includes transfers to heirs as well as management buy-outs.

For the majority of business owners, selling their companies is a very effective way to become rich (or even richer). “The ability to sell well is universally the most effective way to create significant personal wealth,” explains Ronald F. DeSoiza, partner at top 100 accounting firm O’Connor Davies and an authority on business valuation and planning. “The complication is that few business owners take the required actions that would help them get the best price for their companies and pocket the most money from a sale.”

Of the business owners surveyed, about a third reported knowing one or more business owners who sold their companies and that they were knowledgeable about the transaction. Their general overall perception is that about half the sellers were unsatisfied with the results of the sale.

“If a business owner is going to sell his or her company and wants to get the greatest return possible, it calls for some upfront planning in advance of the sales transaction,” says Carlo A. Scissura, president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “The company itself needs to be prepared, which often requires a financial review and a formal valuation, and the owners and stakeholders should engage in wealth planning to mitigate the taxes owed on the sale.” Unfortunately, both forms of preparation are rarely taken as entrepreneurs are focused on the day-to-day demands of their businesses. According to the research findings, less than half of business owners who expect to sell their companies have done any pre-sale corporate restructuring to enhance the market value of their firms. Even fewer, just 15 percent, have taken steps to reduce the tax bill from a sale.

According to Thomas Sorrentino, partner at O’Connor Davies who works with both public and privately-held companies, “While many entrepreneurs think about selling, when the opportunity does arise they get so wrapped up in the negotiation that any kind of pre-sale planning usually gets pushed aside. In doing so, most business owners are doing themselves and their families a huge disservice and will likely end up with a lot less than they could otherwise generate from a sale of their business.”

“Even if a sale is expected to be years in the future, most business owners get enormous benefit from the pre-sale planning process,” notes Scissura. “The activities typically uncover corporate and personal opportunities that can be converted into immediate efficiencies and financial advantages.”

This article was written by Russ Alan Prince from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.