5 Steps to Protect Confidentiality When Selling a Business

August 27, 2020   |   Business

Tyler Davis, CFO outlines strategies used at SVN | SRD to protect our clients' confidentiality in all transactions.

When most people are selling a business, one looming question is: “How can I sell my business confidentially?” There are many reasons confidentiality is vital and listed below are some of the strategies we use to protect our clients.

  1. Protecting Confidentiality
  2. Marketing with Blind Ads
  3. Response Systems
  4. Screening Processes and NDA’s
  5. Off-Site Meetings

1. Protecting Confidentiality

One of the most challenging aspects of selling a business is confidentially marketing it to prospective buyers. Typically, sellers do not want their employees, customers, or competitors to know that their business is on the market. Because of this, marketing departments and business brokers must exercise extreme caution and attention to detail to avoid sharing information that could make the business identifiable. The third party buyer shouldn’t identify the specific company for sale without the prior performance of due diligence by the selling broker and the signing of a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).

2. Marketing With Blind Ads

Another common question is: “How do you confidentially market a business?” Our answer is simple: we provide as much information as possible to prospective buyers without identifying the exact company. For example, suppose the “John Smith Insurance” company is for sale because John founded the insurance brokerage years ago in Kissimmee and wants to retire. Our team would market the company as “Central Florida Insurance Brokerage For Sale.” We disclose certain things about the company (perhaps some financials, some recurring customer information, etc.) in the generic marketing materials.

3. Response Systems

We market directly to business owners in similar industries in the area through an array of media channels. Many times, competitors and other business owners in adjacent industries will be the most interested buyers. We also respond quickly to inquiries we receive from our numerous online marketing efforts. These include website postings on popular business brokerage websites, email blasts to our mailing lists, social media posts, etc. Our team actively engages throughout the entire due diligence process once the business is under contract.

4. Screening Processes And NDA’s

We thoroughly screen each inquiry before providing any additional information. If we feel an interested person does not have the background, experience, or financial capital needed to purchase the business, we will not engage in discussions. Protecting privacy and company information is one of our main goals throughout this process. We will require interested buyers to sign an NDA before engaging in conversations. We would never provide any confidential or specifically identifiable information until the prospective buyer signs the NDA.

5. Off-Site Meetings

Another concern with prospective buyers is our team’s potential presence on-site to photograph, shoot aerial footage, or to understand the business for the sake of employees finding out the company is for sale. These are all very valid concerns. However, any meetings needed between the seller and buyer, or the seller and us, can be held at our offices or a third-party neutral location. Additionally, photos and videos do not have to occur during working hours. We will work with you to ensure we keep our discussions and meetings a secret.

Our business brokerage team will do whatever it takes to sell your business while ensuring confidentiality. We’ve worked with publicly-traded companies in the past. Keeping transactions a secret was not only essential but also legally required. We will take the necessary steps to ensure that your transaction remains confidential.

These are some important considerations before selling a business. At SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler, we provide business brokerage services to clients across Florida. Please let us know how we can assist in your sale or purchase.

Tyler Davis
Tyler Davis brings a wealth of financial knowledge to our team at SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler. His history in tax planning and consulting services have supported some of the largest insurance companies across the nation. Tyler's experience in finance has supported him throughout his c...