How to list your business for sale, yet remain confidential

sell a business

sell a business

One of the questions that we are most commonly asked by our clients is…

“How do you put your business up for sale, yet remain confidential?”

This is one of the biggest fears that our clients face when they first make that momentous decision that they are ready to sell a business.

It is only natural to not want your employees, customers or competitors to know of your decision before the time is absolutely right.

We have frequently reassured clients who raise concerns such as: “If my competitors learn that my business is for sale, they’ll tell their sales force and all my customers will know.”

Or “If my staff find out, they will immediately start looking for a different job.”

As one of the UK’s leading boutique business brokers, we have a team that have completed hundreds of deals in their career and have heard the above concerns countless times.

WATCH our MD Rob Goddard explain how his experience has helped Evolution CBS to create a service that eliminates these fears:

Alternatively, read on to learn our top three reasons why we are able to sell a business while maintaining complete confidentiality:

A No Name Marketing Policy & NDA’s

We always adopt a ‘no-names policy’ towards our marketing. This takes the form of a one-page summary of the business and the opportunity it presents to potential buyers. We call this a “teaser”, and this is the only information publicly provided to prospective buyers.

We always include enough detail in the teaser to interest potential acquirers, but not enough detail for the recipient to reverse-engineer the identity of our client’s business.

If prospects are interested in finding out more about the opportunity, we ask them to sign a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before receiving any further information.

We Never meet at our Clients’ Address

Regular meetings with our clients are an important part of the service but this never takes place at your premises.

We always meet off-site, either at our own offices or an independent venue, to avoid arousing suspicion with your staff.

Separate email address

We encourage our business owners to have a private and separate email address from their work email, which they use only for communication regarding the sale of the business. This will keep any information from being accidently seen or accessed by IT staff or personal assistants.

In our view, the best time to tell staff is when the business is sold; not only is it easier for the transition, but less stressful for you.

But what if they do find out?

No system is perfect and, whilst extremely unlikely, it may be that a member of staff gets wind of your decision to sell so having a plan for this conversation is crucial.

If you are confronted by a member of your team, our advice is that you explain that you are making enquiries into an investment partner. That investment partner may be investing for 100% of the business, but that does not need to be confirmed.

It is always handy to give yourself wiggle room and a plan!

At Evolution CBS we are passionate about customer service. For us, every client’s needs are unique and our bespoke solutions are designed specifically to meet those needs and are delivered by specialist teams with the experience and resources you’d expect from a company with such a long pedigree.

Our values of professionalism, pragmatism and integrity run through every aspect of our business and so, as you would expect, we are absolutely transparent about our services and our charges.

If you would like to discuss how we can help you with buying, selling or growing a business please call us +44 (0)118 322 4688.


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