Should I Tell My Employees I’m Selling?

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Posted by Jennifer Smith Hendrickson on

The short answer: no. We have sellers all the time who ask us this and our answer is always the same: it’s a bad idea. Even if your team is small in number and a very tight knit group, we still recommend that you don’t take them along with you on the ride of selling a business. There are a few logical reasons why:

  1. They may leave: When you tell your employees that you’re going to be selling the company, they’ll understandably get nervous. They’ve grown to like you and how you run the business. The unknown factor of who their new boss will be might make them start looking for new jobs. If a key person leaves the company, it can put your deal in jeopardy.
  2. Word spreads: We strongly recommend that very few people know that your business is for sale. When you tell your team, you can reasonably expect them to go home and discuss it with their spouses, who may turn around and tell their coworkers who tell their friends, etc. It opens up the door to a large number of people who are talking about what should be a very confidential matter.
  3. Employee moral & work ethic: Let’s face it, selling a business can be an emotional roller coaster. Generally, you will entertain multiple offers, get the deal under contract, go through due diligence, and then could still have a landlord threaten the deal in its final stages (seriously, landlords can be a real wildcard). Your team will likely want to have updates on where the deal stands and when you take them on the roller coaster with you, it can impact their work performance and increase gossip in the workplace.

At the end of the day, we’re here to help you make the ownership transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved. We’ll advise you on who to tell what and when. When you’re ready to sell your business, contact us.