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How To Sell A Business: Ten Tips For Maintaining Confidentiality

Ten Tips For Maintaining Confidentiality

Navigating the selling process of your company requires a delicate balance of confidentiality, discretion, and strategic communication. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the suggested steps on how to maintain confidentiality when selling your business.

1 – Location:

At some point in the selling process there will be a need for an advisor to visit your premises. However, in the first instance, we suggest that you have the first initial meeting away from your offices in a private meeting room. This will avoid potentially awkward questions about who the visitors are and also removes the potential of unintentionally overheard conversations.

2 – Confidential Email Address:

Establishing a confidential email address dedicated to the selling process is crucial. This ensures that sensitive communications regarding the sale of your company don’t end up in your regular office inbox, where they might be vulnerable to prying eyes.

3 – Secure Document Handling:

Whether meeting at your office or elsewhere, be cautious about leaving documents and folders visible. Keep sensitive materials out of plain sight to prevent inadvertent leaks of information. Similarly, if you have branded documents from advisors, ensure they are discreetly stored away during meetings to avoid unnecessary attention.

4 – Maintain Privacy at Home and in Your Car:

Extend your vigilance beyond the office environment. Avoid leaving documents, branded materials, or business cards visible in your car or home, especially if unexpected visitors may drop by. This may seem overzealous, but the consequences of leaked information can be serious so it’s worth taking a few extra precautions.

5 – Exercise Discretion in Communication:

Think very carefully about who you tell and when, most acquirers will want to be involved in how and when to tell staff and in the case of listed companies there are strict rules governing this.

6 – Responding to Staff Inquiries:

Handle inquiries from staff about the company’s potential sale with diplomacy. Avoid being defensive or evasive. Even if you are really strict on confidentiality staff may pick up on something, even just a feeling and make a guess, so it’s important to handle…

7 – Confiding in Key Staff:

As the selling process progresses, you may need to bring key staff members into your confidence. However, be strategic in your approach and avoid fabricating cover-up stories that could backfire later. Instead, seek advice from professionals like the Entrepreneurs Hub on how to navigate this delicate situation and consider creative ways to incentivise and motivate key personnel.

8 – Manage Diary Entries:

Pay attention to how you describe meetings in your diary or calendar. Vague or coded language can help maintain confidentiality and prevent inadvertent leaks of sensitive information.

9 – Visitor Records:

if you have a visitor book think carefully about how you want advisors and potential acquirers to sign in, what company or what names should they use, that won’t arouse suspicion.

10 – Understand the Selling Process:

Familiarise yourself with the approach and strategies your advisor plans to employ to sell your company. Recognise that different businesses may require tailored approaches, and some conventional methods used by brokers may not be suitable for your specific situation, It’s not a one-approach-fits-all scenario. Clear communication and alignment with your advisor are essential for a successful outcome.


If you have any questions on maintaining confidentiality or would like to discuss the sale of your business don’t hesitate to contact us.

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