3 Essential Tools to Help You Market Your Business Confidentially

The decision to sell a small business you have been running for years is not an easy one. But once you’ve decided this is the right path to follow, it can raise a lot of other questions. 

How should you set about marketing your company? What kind of legal due diligence is involved? Perhaps most importantly, as you prepare to sell your business how should you handle marketing, negotiating, and closing the sale without losing the trust of your customer base and your employees?

Most divestiture experts will tell you that the safest way to find the right buyer without having word that you’re selling get out is to market your business confidentially. Here are three essential tools that can help you do so. 

1. Business Listings

Business listings are one of the most common tools for reaching a broad range of buyers. If you are looking to find as many people as possible, you can use business listings to attract the interest of potential buyers without giving too much information away.

While this can be a good option if you simply want to drum up interest, it also means you may be overwhelmed with offers that you’ll need to sift through. Once your broker has filtered out the less appealing offers, they can contact the companies or individuals you are interested in selling to on your behalf using a blind profile. 

2. Blind Profiles

As its name suggests, a blind profile provides basic information about your company stripped of identifying factors. A blind profile includes more information than a business ad, and will help the potential buyer determine whether they are interested in entering the negotiation process. 

Typically, a blind profile includes things like:

  • Information regarding assets, capital, and overhead
  • Sales and financial performance statistics
  • Data around operations and logistics

If the blind profile sparks interest, your business broker can start negotiating a confidentiality agreement that will help you move to the next stage of the sale. 

3. Prospective Buyer Targeting

In some cases, you may already have an idea of who you’d like to sell to. If you have different types of buyers in mind, you should work with a business brokerage to help you reach out to potential individuals, business, private equity groups, or other investors.  

A mergers and acquisitions broker will contact potential buyers on your behalf and present them with enough information about your company to make an informed decision while keeping your identity secret. An M&A broker can also take care of the due diligence and negotiation processes that are part of any business divestiture. 

When preparing to sell a business, keeping your cards close to your chest is essential. Maintaining strict confidentiality with potential buyers until a legally binding confidentiality agreement will not only protect you from corporate sabotage, it will also save you from the turmoil that can come when employees learn that the business they work for may soon be under new management.