What is a ‘Blind Ad’?
Many people are confused when they search businesses for sale online and can not determine the actual identity of the business that is being offered for sale. That is because they are seeing what is called a ‘blind ad.’ A ‘blind ad’ is a method of advertising businesses for sale whereby the business sale is kept confidential. This means that the advertisement does not disclose the specific location of the business, does not disclose the identity of the business, and requires the buyer to go through a thorough qualification process prior to receiving the confidential information about the business.
Protect Seller’s Confidentiality
The purpose of obscuring the actual identity of the business offered for sale in a ‘blind ad’ is to protect the seller’s confidentiality. For most business owners, this is of paramount importance because they do not want their employees, competitors, suppliers, or customers to know that their business is for sale . Business owners want to sell their business without disruption and it is the business broker’s job to ensure that this happens.
Do Not Disclose Location
A competent ‘blind ad’ must first protect a seller’s confidentiality by not disclosing the actual location or address of the business being sold. This seems simple but is frequently ignored by many brokers purporting to sell businesses. Many ads on bizbuysell.com or various websites advertising businesses do indeed disclose the city or zip code where the business is located. Unfortunately, these ads are written by brokers who are not business brokers or not knowledgeable enough in their craft to realize how critical it is to protect their seller’s confidentiality. The more concerned that the seller is with the confidentiality of the sale, then the broader the geographic scope of the disclosed location.
Example: Selling A Hair Salon Confidentially
- For example, let’s say a hair salon is being offered for sale, and the ‘blind ad’ discloses that the location is Palm Beach Gardens, FL.
- This greatly narrows the possible hair salons that the ad is representing, and may allow a buyer to figure out the actual identity of the hair salon.
- A proper ‘blind ad’ will say that the hair salon is located in Palm Beach County.
- This protects the seller’s confidentiality and at the same time gives the prospective buyer an accurate description of the salon’s general location.
Do Not Disclose Identity of Business
Secondly, a ‘blind ad’ must not reference the actual name of the business being offered for sale. The content of a well written ‘blind ad’ must refrain from advertising unique and salient characteristics of the businesses which may allow an astute (or unscrupulous) prospect to discover the identity of the business being offered for sale. Some brokers also post pictures of the business online as a part of their generic ‘blind ads.’ A professional business broker should never posts such pictures of the actual business because buyers can and frequently do figure out the identity of the business through such pictures.
Publicly Displayed Pictures
- Publicly displayed pictures allow people to recognize the exterior or interior of the business.
- It is often even possible to see the name of the business in the pictures.
- Many realtors who are not business brokers (or sellers themselves acting as their own broker) simply do not understand that they must refrain from publicly posting the actual name of the business being offered for sale.
- They are in real estate mode whereby they think that their online advertisement must act like a ‘For Sale’ sign and publicly broadcast the name of the business being offered for sale.
- Only trust the sale of your business and its confidentiality to a proven and competent business broker.
Must Qualify Buyers Prior to Disclosure
Every prospective purchaser that responds to a ‘blind ad’ must be properly qualified prior to receiving any confidential listing information on the business. A professional broker must protect the seller’s confidentiality by first requiring such prospects to properly complete and sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. The Non-Disclosure Agreement or NDA requires the prospect to affirm that they will protect the seller’s confidentiality throughout the selling process. Additionally, prospects must be financially qualified by showing their proof of funds.
Example: Selling A Healthcare Company in South Florida
- Let’s say a unique healthcare company such as a sleep disorder center is being offered for sale.
- The business broker needs to create a ‘blind ad’ when advertising this healthcare company for sale.
- Since only three or four sleep disorder centers exist within Palm Beach County, a viewer of the ad has a good chance of figuring out which sleep disorder in Palm Beach County is being offered for sale.
- In this instance, the ‘blind ad’ must be even more generic than normal.
- Instead of ‘Palm Beach County’ the ad should say ‘South Florida’ as the geographic location.
- Also the content of the ad should be more generic than usual because the type of business being sold is so unique.
- In short, a professional business broker does whatever it takes to protect the confidentiality of the business being offered for sale.
Having a well written ‘blind ad’ should enable the prospective buyer to receive sufficient information that will prompt them to take the next step and get the confidential listing information. But the ‘blind ad’ must remain blind and protect the seller’s confidentiality until the buyer is qualified and signs the Non-Disclosure Agreement.
Give Martin at Five Star Business Brokers of Palm Beach County a call today for a free evaluation for your business.