When planning a business sale, there are many factors to consider but confidentiality is one of the most crucial. Curious about how you can advertise your business to the public and keep the sale confidential at the same time? Trust us, it is both possible and necessary. At Alliant, confidentiality is our constant priority.
Here are some tips on how to keep your exit plan a secret during the sale of your business.
The Importance of Confidentiality
There are many important reasons to keep the sale of your business confidential. First, people tend to panic when things in life change, and managing a business is no different. If you have employees, vendors, customers, or any stakeholders, it is best to wait to announce the sale so that your business continues to run smoothly and without incident. It is good to keep the details private so that your competition doesn’t discover information on the sale either. Otherwise, they might have the ability to poach clients or customers by capitalizing on the uncertainty of new ownership.
You don’t want to announce the sale of your business too soon because you do not want to jeopardize its productivity or momentum. Clients and customers might decide not to purchase from your company if it is in the process of being sold as there is a perceived uncertainty that comes with the sale of a company. This can be detrimental not just to future owners, but to your own immediate sales, income and the business valuation.
How to Protect Yourself During the Sale and Exit Plan
To keep the sale of your business confidential, you can have nondisclosure agreements in place. Nondisclosure agreements are contracts where parties agree not to discuss or disclose proprietary information covered in the agreement. They are excellent and useful legal tools for protecting non-public business information. Be sure to add an expiration date to the contract so that information can be disclosed after the sale.
Another option for business confidentiality is to use blind ads. Blind ads are advertisements that do not include the identity of the person placing it. They use post office boxes or phone numbers for identity protection.
Business confidentiality can also be maintained if you choose to screen potential buyers. Ask investigative questions to determine their business and financial background. Even qualified buyers know what to expect when business owners want to vet them. They are more willing to keep these details quiets as the business transaction will run more smoothly.
Involve very few people in the sale. It reduces the likelihood that someone will disclose the sale to the public. Hold your business meetings off-site for added benefit and have everyone in the know sign a letter of intent to keep vital information private.
Use A Business Broker
Consider the services of a business broker. Business brokers act as intermediaries and work to facilitate business transactions between the buyer and seller. They can work on the condition of anonymity and can handle all of the critical details of the sale. Furthermore, they have access to potential buyers that you might not otherwise reach.
At Alliant, we have both a Confidential Marketing Package and a buyer screening process to protect clients. We require each potential buyer to sign a Confidentiality Agreement prior to our releasing any information about your business. Prospects must also submit personal or corporate financial statements before we reveal any specifics. This means we will only bring you “qualified buyers”.
Keeping the sale of your business confidential is vital so that your stakeholders continue to have an element of trust in your company. You want the process to go smoothly and for your business to thrive once it sells.
If you’d like to learn more about the Alliant process or how to sell your business confidentially, contact us today.