The assets of a running business include its clients and their purchases.Machinery, equipment, shelving, and communications systems arranged complexly for a purpose are more valuable as a group than taken individually.Once a decision to liquidate has been reached, the business needs to be closed, employees discharged, and company assets must be secured and inventoried.

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Some liquidators have added Internet outlets to their marketing and therefore a photographer may be taking digital shots of selected items as part of inventory.

The owner usually can and sometimes does set aside equipment to be held indefinitely or for sale by him- or herself.

They appraise all manner of inventories and equipment daily and have an enormous depth of expertise.

The owner facing such an appraisal, however, must brace him- or herself because prices named will seem extraordinarily low.

Therefore selecting one or more trusted employees to participate in the process is essential before lay-offs are announced and implemented as rapidly as possible. Business closures sometimes produce unusual behavior in employees; they may feel cheated; the atmosphere of a free-for-all sometimes develops and caution is indicated to avoid wholesale theft and sabotage.

Arrangements must be made to have locks changed and valuable goods safely stored.

This may happen voluntarily or involuntarily; the owner may simply decide to stop doing business, puts a "Closed" sign on the shop or a message to that effect on his or her answering service, and proceeds to sell everything; alternatively the owner finds him- or herself forced into liquidation to pay off a foreclosed loan or, alternatively, assets are insufficient to cover debt and Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation is necessary.

It is a truism of business that a going concern is always worth more than its parts.

People entering the twilight zone of liquidation will discover it is populated by an entire industry little suspected to exist.

There are professional appraisal firms whose routine business it is to value business assets.

A receiver may be appointed to oversee such distribution of assets.