Share This Info:  

Can You Sell My Business Without Telling Anyone It's For Sale?


"Can you sell my business without telling anyone it's for sale?" a question California business brokers and agents are asked frequently when meeting with potential small business owners thinking of selling their business.

Owners of small - to medium-sized private businesses are justifiably concerned about their ability to maintain a high level of confidentiality when considering selling their businesses. The main reason is the highly competitive nature of business. You could have an exclusive arrangement with a supplier who, if he became aware that you were contemplating selling, might be encouraged to transfer the supplier agreement to a competitor. Customers who are concerned about ongoing source of supply and continuity of both quality and delivery might be inclined to search for another supplier if it became known that your business was for sale.

Key employees often become very concerned about security and opportunities for advancement if the company for which they're working is known to be for sale. Of course, competitors would just love to know that your business is for sale because then they would be able to go after your customers, your exclusive suppliers, and your best employees.

The most common sources of confidentiality breaches are:

• The immediate family of the seller
• Trusted Friends and confidants
• Employees
• Bankers
• Professional advisers such as law firms, accountants, etc.

Maintaining confidentiality is not a simple task. It is a complex, interlocking process that has to be methodically practiced. The methodology that we believe most successful in maintaining confidentiality is using a business intermediary, an attorney, CPA or some other third party to act as a filter between the owner of the business and the prospective purchasers.

Great care needs to go into marketing materials to ensure they do not provide clues to a purchaser as to which business is for sale. It is also important to de-identify all selling material and documents until the buyer is adequately qualified. Ensuring that all prospective purchasers are qualified to actually receive information about the business is a key part of maintaining confidentiality and should be carried out by your intermediary. A critical first step is to have any prospective buyer sign a confidentiality agreement.

The potential buyer should provide a credible third-party reference (accountant or banker) to attest to his financial capability to purchase the business. Another important aspect of qualifying a prospective purchaser is to establish his or her integrity and reliability. What do the business owner and his or her intermediary know about the prospective buyer? Does the prospective buyer inspire confidence or doubt?

This is an area where a great deal of experience in selling businesses comes in very handy.

If you're contemplating selling your business in the not too distant future, then it's important that you think about what degree of confidentiality will be required. For instance, if you own a gas station or dry cleaner, confidentiality won't be a major concern... Your customers are more interested in your convenient location than in who's running the ship.

That's why you often see businesses such as these advertised openly in the business opportunities section of newspapers. Because selling your business is a complex process, owners of larger companies should plan far in advance for the eventual sale and keep that planning confidential from the earliest stages.

About The Author - Peter Siegel is the founder and President of BizBen.com - Businesses For Sale In California. A nationally recognized author (3 books and a syndicated small business blog) and expert consultant. If you are selling a business and need professional assistance utilizing high performance advertising, marketing, and highly effective strategies, or individual customization with your BizBen Power Search options in buying a California business, you can reach him at 866-270-6278.


Categories: BizBen Blog Contributor, How To Sell A Business, Selling A Business


Comments Regarding This Blog Post


Business brokers take extra precaution to make sure the confidentiality of a business is kept secure. When brokers advertise the business online, they should make sure that there are no distinguishable clues, which a potential buyer could figure out the location of the business, without first signing an NDA. I Recommend, a seller should have something thought out in advance, just in case, someone does say, "Hey, is this the place for sale?" The owner could say, "Hey, for the right price, everything is for sale," and laugh it off. If a seller does meet with a potential buyer, I suggest, possibly meet at a coffee shop around the corner to go over financials or other information and not at the actual business, just in case, someone gets suspicious (i.e., employees).


  Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses
Ranvir S. Sandhu, Esq. - Legal Services For Buyers And Sellers

I've worked at top Bay Area law firms and have extensive experience with business entity formation, mergers, dissolutions, conversions, employment matters, including experience in reviewing and negotiating transactional documents such as leases and purchase agreements.

Elizabeth McGovern: Escrow Services - SF Bay Area

McGovern Escrow Services, Inc., is a leading independent escrow company. We are a trusted partner with our clients, assisting them through the tangled bulk sale & liquor license transfer process. We provide attentive, quality & innovative customer service. Phone Elizabeth McGovern at 415-735-3645.

Mark Chatow, Esq.: Legal Services For Buying, Selling Businesses

Mark has a broad range of small business purchase & sale experience from analyzing potential acquisition targets to successfully guiding buyers and sellers through the purchase & sale of small businesses. Mark can assist with contracts, negotiations, legal matters, etc. Reach Mark at 949-478-8393.

Helen Yoo: Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - Southern California

New Century Escrow, Inc. is a fully licensed & bonded independent escrow company. Over 20 years combined experience in handling bulk escrow transactions. Multi-lingual staff that speaks your language, including Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese. Call Helen Yoo direct at 626-890-1151.

Willard Michlin, CPA, Certified Fraud Examiner, Due Diligence Services

Willard Michlin, CPA #106752, offers buyers step by step training & assistance in doing Due Diligence Services when they are thinking of making an offer, or are in process of investigating a business purchase. He helps to determine the actual net profit even when there is cash. Call 805-428-2063.

Diane Boudreau-Tschetter: Escrow And Bulk Sale Services

California Business Escrow, Inc. is a full service independent escrow company serving all of California and has expertise in a wide range of escrows. Our team prides itself on providing an exceptional escrow experience. For more info phone Diane Boudreau-Tschetter at 888-383-3331 or 209-838-1100.

Joe Sandbank, Esq. - Legal Services

I have provided legal counsel to business buyers, sellers and brokers for over 17 years. With prior experience as a business broker and SBA loan officer, Joe brings both a practical and legal approach to all aspects of the business acquisition process.

Brad Steinberg, Broker - Laundromat Specialists

PWS is the leading laundromat broker in California. Since 1968 PWS has brokered over 2,500 laundromat sales. With over 90 employees dedicated to the coin laundry industry, PWS has 18 licensed agents, a 3 person in-house finance department, 10 service technicians and a 20 person parts department.


  Related Articles, Events, Blog Posts, Discussions, Videos, Interviews
Financing Advice: Showing Add Backs To Get Business Acquisition Financing

When seeking business acquisition financing, it helps to review a seller's addbacks as a source of funding to service the debt service. But explain them correctly. Peter Siegel, MBA business acquisition financing expert and advisor at 866-270-6278 covers this topic on financing a business purchase.

How Many Months Should I List My Business With A Business Broker?

It's important to remember that selling a business takes time. Unlike selling a house, which can be sold relatively fast, a business can take up to six months to a year to sell. Joe Ranieri (Orange County Business Broker) at 714-292-5448 explores this topic from a Business Brokers perspective.

Selling My Small Business: What Items Should I Have Ready To Be Successful?

When selling a small to mid-sized business, owners should have their paperwork and financial information ready to go! They should also have a short business plan of past history, current operations, and potential for the future. In this BizBen Discussion several advisors and intermediaries weigh in.

Selling A Business Without Getting Sued: 5 Tips For Business Sellers/Brokers

How do I sell my business without getting sued, isn't a subject just for discussions with lawyers. A seller can take some precautions to reduce potential legal problems. Peter Siegel, MBA Founder Of BizBen and BizBen's ProSell Program discusses this topic for business owners/sellers and brokers.

Financing A Business Purchase With Limited Or No Real Estate Collateral

In my experience working with the "right banks and financial institutions" repayment ability sometimes overrules collateral pledged by someone needing financing for a business purchase or a down payment. Peter Siegel, MBA (Business Purchase Financing Expert) at 866-270-6278 shares his experience.

Before Buying A California Business, 10 Questions You Should Ask Yourself

Before buying a business, all serious business buyers should ask themselves some key questions about possible buying a small California business, franchise, or opportunity - from Peter Siegel, MBA (Business Purchase Financing Expert, ProBuy & ProSell Program Advisor with BizBen) at 866-270-6278.

Sellers Ask: How Long Should I Wait For The Buyer To Do Their Due Diligence?

Business sellers & buyers ask the question in the buying process-how long should I ask for due-diligence when buying a small business? The answer really depends on several factors. They include: type of business, demand for the business, complexity of the business. Advisors weigh in on this topic.

What Factors Are Considered In Valuing A Small Business? Advisors Weigh In

Valuing a small business is not guess work. It's not what some other businesses of the same type may have or may not have been sold for, it's not even what a business owner "feels" they want or deserve. It is a formula based on many factors. Peter Siegel, MBA from BizBen & others discuss this topic.

See All News, Tips And Events


Business Purchase Financing SBA Loans
Mani Singh Manufacturing Listing
Jim Saxton SF Liquor Licenses
Veld Group Business Brokerage Los Angeles County
Facebook
Twitter
Linkedin
Google Plus You Tube
Vlogs and Podcasts


Auto Related
Business Services
Children Related
Communication Related
Computer, Internet Related
Construction Related
Entertainment Related
Financial Services
Health, Beauty Related
Home Improvement Related
Maintenance Related
Manufacturing Related
Media, Publishing Related
Pet Related
Photography/Video Related
Real Estate Services
Restaurant, Food Related
Retail Related
Service Related
Sports Related
Transportation Related
Travel Related
Wholesale Related

Auto Body Shops
Auto Repair Shops
Bakeries
Bars, Sports Bars
Cafe Restaurants
Car Washes
Cleaning Services
Clothing, Apparel Stores
Coffee Shops
Convenience Stores
Deli Restaurants
Discount, Dollar Stores
Dry Cleaners
eCommerce Websites
Fast Food Restaurants
Florists, Flower Shops
Full Service Restaurants
Gas Stations
Gift Shops
Gyms, Fitness Facilities
Home Health Agencies
Hotels/Motels
Ice Cream Shops
Juice, Smoothie Shops
Laundromats
Liquor Stores
Markets, Marts
Nightclubs
Pizza Restaurants
Postal, Shipping Stores
Preschools, Day Care
Print Shops
Salons, Beauty Shops
Sandwich Shops
Smog Test Only Shops
Smoke Shops
Spas, Med Spas
Sushi Restaurants
Tire Shops
Towing Services
Vending Routes
Wireless, Cellular Shops
Yogurt Shops

Alameda
Alpine
Amador
Butte
Calaveras
Colusa
Contra Costa
Del Norte
El Dorado
Fresno
Glenn
Humboldt
Imperial
Inyo
Kern
Kings
Lake
Lassen
Los Angeles
Madera
Marin
Mariposa
Mendocino
Merced
Modoc
Mono
Monterey
Napa
Nevada
Orange
Placer
Plumas
Riverside
Sacramento
San Benito
San Bernardino
San Diego
San Francisco
San Joaquin
San Luis Obis
San Mateo
Santa Barbara
Santa Clara
Santa Cruz
Shasta
Sierra
Siskiyou
Solano
Sonoma
Stanislaus
Sutter
Tehama
Trinity
Tulare
Tuolumne
Ventura
Yolo
Yuba

0 to $99,999
$100,000 to $249,999
$250,000 to $499,999
$500,000 to $999,999
$1 million to $2 million
over $2 million



BizBen - Where California Deals Get Done! 888-212-4747
7172 Regional Street #364 · Dublin, CA. 94568
BizBen · Copyright © 1994 - 2019, All Rights Reserved

               Vlogs and Podcasts  
Join Us On Social Media - Content Updated Daily
Sign Up Today - For Our FREE BizBen Weekly Email Newsletter
Includes The Best Info On Buying, Selling, Valuing, Financing California Businesses:
Articles, Blog Posts, Podcasts, Videos/Vlogs, Discussions, Q&A, Workshops, Webinars,
Resources. Watch For An Email Confirmation After Signing Up Above. Thank you.
Clost Login


Please confirm your registration by clicking the link we've sent to .

If you can't see it, please check your junk mail folder.

If you have any problems registering, or need assistance with your new BizBen User Account please phone BizBen Customer Support at 888-212-4747.



First Name:*
Last Name:*
Email Address:*
Confirm Email:*
Create Password:*
Confirm Password:*
Phone:
(   
 


You Are A:
Individual
 
Intermediary
 

Email Address:
Password:
 
Search BizBen.com

500 New & Refreshed Detailed Postings Daily
Over 2500 Resources Available On BizBen
Since 1994. Where California Deals Get Done!
Financing Advice: Showing Add Backs To Get Business Acquisition Financin...
Read More News
Selling A Business Without Getting Sued: 5 Tips For Business Sellers/Bro...
Read More News