New buyers hate confidentiality.
We tell new buyers why confidentiality is important, but they are still frustrated by having to sign non-disclosure forms, having to wait to find out the physical location of a business and by having to visit businesses by appointment and then only after hours. We get it, it is tedious, but it is also extremely important.
Invariably we come across a buyer who deals with their frustration by breaking all the rules – by waltzing into a business during business hours and demanding the employees produce the owner so they can talk about the listing price, by telling their neighbors and friends what businesses they have toured – and confidentiality is suddenly out the window.
When you first enter the business marketplace as a buyer, the process by which you gain access to information about the businesses that are on the market might seem ridiculous at first, but those protections benefit you too.
When a business goes up for sale, confidentiality needs to stay in place.
What do we mean by that? We mean that the only people who should know that the business is for sale are the seller, the business brokers and attorneys involved and vetted buyers who have signed the appropriate non-disclosure documents. No one else should have access to that information.
“Why? I’m trying to make a major decision here, I need access to the business to see if I want to buy it or not.”
Yes, you do need access to information, and you absolutely will gain that access – but it needs to be done carefully to maintain confidentiality.
What can happen if confidentiality is breached? Clients go to a competitor, employees quit and take their regular customers with them, vendors cancel contracts and the community assumes that the business is for sale because they are moments away from having to close the doors. If you are trying to buy a business, you don’t want to take the reins in the middle of this confidentiality crisis. You want the business to be in good shape and in good standing with the community the day you take over as owner.
An important note here – the impacts of a confidentiality breach aren’t for the business and the seller alone. If you caused the breach, you can be sure that the legal repercussions included in your non-disclosure agreements will absolutely be enforced.
How can a buyer ensure the health of the business they are trying to buy? Be patient, and keep the information you learn about businesses currently for sale to yourself. Don’t be “that guy” who causes severe upheaval in someone else’s business. If everyone plays by the rules, businesses stay protected and buyers end up with businesses in great shape.
Are you a buyer who is frustrated by confidentiality? Do you have questions about why confidentiality is so important? Please feel free to leave a comment or question here, and we would be happy to assist you with your business buying questions.
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907