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What do I tell employees and customers when I'm thinking of selling my business?

Is it best to keep it quiet? What kind of info should I be telling them?

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Grover Rutter Mergers, Acquisitions & Va
"We Bring Business Sellers and Buyers Together Confidentially"
Hancock County, OH

If you want to frighten your employees and scare away your customers---go ahead and tell them that you are thinking about selling your company. Otherwise, "MUM" is the word. Regarding your employees, you need to work with them to "take ownership" and have confidence in what they do. Do you have operations manuals and employee job descriptions documented? If not, get your employees involved in helping you document your operations---and their jobs. You tell the employees that you are doing this for them (in the event that something should happen to you---you want the business to continue and for them to have jobs). This also makes your business more salable and valuable. Regarding customers, make sure they know that you are not the only personal asset in your company. Get your customers used to working with others in your organization. If customers ask why, tell them that you want excellent customer service to continue, even in the event that something should ever happen to you. Build the customers' confidence in your "company"---rather than just in you. This too improves the salability and value of your company. Then, when you find the right buyer, the employees and the customers are much more likely to be more comfortable with the ownership change.

Apr 3, 2009

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