Advertising Your Business Confidentially
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 advertisement of a listed business:
- Should not say the actual name of the business.
- Should not disclose the specific city in which the business is located.
- Should make it nearly impossible for a buyer to determine the actual identity of the business.
Purpose of a Blind Ad being ‘Blind’ When Selling Your Business
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.
How A Blind Ad Protects Seller’s Confidentiality During Sales Process
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 is a simple concept but not at all followed by many brokers purporting to sell businesses.
Realtors Do Not Generally Protect Seller’s Confidentiality
Many ads on bizbuysell.com or various websites advertising businesses do indeed disclose the city or zipcode 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. Every publicly available ‘blind ad’ should not allow the public to figure out the identity of the business.
An 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 (such a the square footage, years established, or number of employees…which normally are all disclosed in ‘blind ads’).
- 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.
A Proper Public Ad Should Not Reference the Name of the Business Being Sold
Secondly, a ‘blind ad’ must above all else not reference the actual name of the business being offered for sale. This can be trickier than it appears because some brokers 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.
Ensuring Seller’s Confidentiality
From publicly displayed pictures… anyone may:
- recognize the interior of the business
- recognize the exterior of the business, or
- even see the name of the business in the pictures.
- More often than not, however, brokers who are not business brokers (or sellers themselves acting as their own broker) simply do not understand that they must refrain from publicly posing 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. See https://fivestarbusinessbrokers.com/avoid-these-3-common-mistakes-when-selling-your-business/ for more on the importance of hiring the right business broker.
Signing an NDA Only Way To Ensure Seller’s Confidentiality
It is important to note as well that many prospects (some of whom may be unscrupulous) frequently call or email the listing broker demanding to know the name of the business. A competent and judicious business broker must protect their seller’s confidentiality by first requiring such prospects to sign the all important Non-Disclosure Agreement. That is the only way the seller can operate their business without disruption during the selling process.
Wording of ‘Blind Ad’ Can be Tricky: Only Trust the Sale of Your Business to A Professional
Lastly, 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 industries or businesses are far more susceptible to being ‘discovered’ and having their confidentiality pierced than others.
An Example: Selling A Healthcare Company in South Florida
For example, let’s say a unique healthcare company such as a sleep disorder center is being offered for sale. It may be the case that only three or four sleep disorder centers exist within Palm Beach County. The generic ‘blind ads’ should take great pains in such cases to still protect the seller’s confidentiality.
Making A ‘Blind Ad’ Even More Generic to Ensure Seller’s Confidentiality
In this instance, the ‘blind ad’ must be even more generic than normal, or the listing title may even need to refrain from saying ‘sleep disorder center’ but rather say ‘Unique Healthcare Company for Sale’. If that doesn’t work, then the advertised location of the business must be even more broad than ‘Palm Beach County’ and simply advertise ‘South Florida’ as the location of the offered business. In short, a professional business does whatever it takes to protect the confidentiality of the business being offered for sale, no matter how unique or rare the business may be.
Get Your Business Sold Confidentially
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.