A Tricky Balance: Business Sale Confidentiality versus Marketing Exposure

Business brokers get a lot of questions from business sellers, and one of the most common topics revolves around how to bring in buyers without letting the world know that the business is for sale.

Why is this an important point? Confidentiality during a business transaction is paramount. As a seller, you don’t want the competition, your staff, or your vendors to know the business is for sale until the deal is done. A competitor can exploit your status, employees may jump ship, and vendors might tell their other clients about your impending business sale.

Discretion and confidentiality, therefore, are the name of the game when it comes to selling your business.

As a small business owner, however, you may find this counter-intuitive. The way you have brought success to your business is by getting the word out there. You have used networking strategies to make sure that as many people as possible know about your business and what you can do for them. You have put out marketing campaigns that may have included mailers, signs, posters, emails, and flyers. The more people you reach and the louder your message, the better.

So how do you balance the need to bring in buyers with the need to keep the whole thing under wraps? Don’t go it alone.

Confidentiality during a business transaction is one of the most important responsibilities that a business broker brings to the table. Trying to market your business yourself can lead to disastrous results, as it can be hard to know who to trust and who to disclose your sale status with.

Your business broker will be able to market your business in a variety of ways:

-A good broker has access to a number of business-for-sale databases that are available to other brokers and even to those who are searching online on their own. These listings give a prospective buyer a good idea of your business and the numbers without knowing which business it is. If they are interested in finding out more, they will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement before they are allowed to know any business or location specific details. You can even specify a list of those (like competitors) who you would like to be kept from finding out your business status.

-Most brokers also have lists and contacts with prospective buyers, so when your business gets listed, they will let those folks who’ve been looking for a business like yours know that it’s available.

-Business brokers also have contacts within the local business community, and are therefore able to let interested parties know about your business without giving any specific information that would let someone figure out which business is for sale.

-Depending on the type of business you have, certain types of marketing may work better than others. An experienced broker will know which methods will bring in the right buyers and which methods are a waste of time, and will implement a marketing plan for your specific business accordingly.

The message here is the confidentiality of your business sale is of the utmost importance, but so is getting you a buyer and getting your business sold. By employing the services of a qualified and experienced broker you can have the best of both worlds.

Are you a business seller who has had issues with confidentiality? Do you have questions about how we can market your business successfully while keeping the whole transaction under wraps? Leave us a comment or question here and we will be happy to address and concerns or questions you might have.




Michael Monnot


Selling Your Business: What to Tell Your Clients/Customers

You are well on your way to a business sale, and as you and your buyer hash out all of the final details, one aspect of the transition you will need to consider is how and when to tell your customers that the business is changing hands. If you have a business that does not have specific and personal client relationships, then this part can be easy or even left up to the new owner. If, however, you have a business with a defined client list, like a house cleaning company or something similar with service contracts, then it will be up to you to help the transition to new owner go smoothly.

One way to announce the change to new ownership is by sending a letter or an email announcement to your current clients. You will want to time this carefully, as letting them know about the business sale before it is a sure thing can be problematic if the deal happens to fall through.


Some things to include in your announcement are:


-How much you have appreciated their business and how you’ve enjoyed owning your business.

-Tell them that you will be transferring ownership of the business, and when the new owners will be taking over.

-Give a brief description of the new owners, including a bit of background and why you are willing to endorse this new owner as the representative of your business.

-Explain that the services they receive will not change, unless this is not the case. If you know what the new owner has planned, you can let your clients know what those changes will be and when they will be put into place.

-You should also disclose if they will be seeing a change in price for the services they receive.

– Give your clients contact information if they have any questions about the transition.

-Let your clients know that you sincerely thank them for their business and know they will be in good hands with the new owners.


Ultimately, your announcement of the business sale should be given in a positive light, and with the lines of communication open. If you have a business that is very dependent on a client list, this transition will be important in the success of the sale.

Do you need help with writing an announcement for your clients or customers? Do you have questions related to you specific type of business and what you would need to include in such an announcement? Leave us a comment or question here, and we will be happy to assist.




Michael Monnot


Designing Your Exit Strategy: Priorities to Consider When Selling Your Business

When it’s time to sell your business, you need to consider a few points in order to fully prepare for one of the biggest business decisions you will make.

First and foremost, you will need to determine what your priorities will be in regards to your business sale. What are some non-negotiable sticking points that you will want in place before any discussions begin with a buyer? You will want to be upfront with these, make sure your business broker knows right off the bat where any lines in the sand need to be drawn. On the other hand, what aspects of a business transaction will you be willing to negotiate or be more flexible on? Be sure that this part of your game plan is firmly in place between you and your broker from the very start and you will be more likely to end up in a better position come closing.

Second, decide what type of deal you are prepared to make. Are you going to be a seller who requires all-cash up front, or would you be open to some kind of seller financing? A word to the wise in this economy, all-cash offers do exist, but are few and far between. If you really want to sell your business, seller financing is a much more realistic way to bring in buyers. Discuss this point with your business broker.

Third, are there any ties to the business that you would want to remain in place? Do you have a child or relative working in the business who wants to stay on as an employee even with a new owner? How long of training and/or consulting period are you willing to agree upon? These types of details should be handled at the beginning of your business sale journey instead of at the end, so be sure that your business broker knows these important details.

Lastly, (and probably foremost in your mind as a seller) what is the minimum price you are willing to take for your business? This is a problematic point for many sellers, as the actual selling price of your business isn’t necessarily what you would want it to be, it is what someone else is willing to pay for it. Before you get a number stuck in your mind, have a serious talk with your business broker about what a realistic asking price should be, and also where the line would be in negotiations about bottom line offers. Be wary of a broker who is willing to list your business for whatever price you want. If priced too high, your business will just sit on the market indefinitely. By having realistic and well thought out expectations on price, you will not only be more likely to sell, you will be much happier with the end result.

Are you a business seller who has questions about business sale priorities? Do you have your business listed at a price that doesn’t seem to be generating any action? Please leave a question or comment here, and we will be happy to assist you.




Michael Monnot


Michael Monnot


5111-E Ocean Blvd
Siesta Key, FL 34242

Michael Monnot


9040 Town Center Parkway
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202


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