It’s a request we get all. the. time. A prospective buyer has made a trip to our area, they’ve already been here a week and they would like an on-site tour of one of the businesses we have listed. Oh, and they fly back home tomorrow morning so the tour has to be now.
Guess what? It’s a hard no.
Business sales are nothing like home sales where you can make a call and someone can drive you around that day. Everyone knows when a home is for sale, and that knowledge of the home’s for-sale status is a good thing.
The opposite is true for existing businesses.
Business sales work under a tightly controlled layer of confidentiality. This confidentiality covers everything – from the tax returns to the very name and location of the business. A business that reveals it’s for-sale status can be setting itself up for potential ruin. Regular customers will (incorrectly) assume that a business for sale is a business on the brink of failure and take their business elsewhere. Staff can quit en masse to find more stable work. Competitors can move in for the kill. All bad things, right?
The necessity of confidentiality means that potential buyers must sign non-disclosure agreements before even the name and location of a business can be disclosed. They will likely need to arrange several conference calls with the seller and business brokers involved to decide if a business fits with their goals for business ownership. Then (and only then) does it make sense for a potential buyer to see the physical location of the business. This on-site tour will need to take place before or after business hours when no staff or customers will be on site, and will need to be coordinated between the schedules of the buyer, seller, brokers involved and the business itself. Guess what? That 100% can’t be done before your plane leaves tomorrow.
Do yourself and your chance for getting a look at a business a favor – plan ahead. Have the cursory conversations with your broker, the conference calls with sellers and the time and flexibility to arrange on-site meetings – way, way ahead of time.
Are you in the market to buy a business and want to know more about how confidentiality affects the process? Would you like to know what businesses in the area might meet your goals for business ownership? Ask us today! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907