First, you need a solid confidentiality agreement with the potential buyer. Many buyers will offer up their own “form” agreement, but these agreements may not be sufficient to adequately protect your business. Invest the time and resources to make sure that the confidentiality agreement gives you maximum protection.
Second, be judicious about what confidential information you share, and when you share it. Don’t feel obligated to share everything at once; a better strategy is to provide only high-level and/or redacted information in the early stages and then share the most sensitive information only when it appears that all of the other hurdles to closing have been crossed.
Third, limit the number of key employees who know about the deal and give them adequate incentives (e.g., “stay” or “change in control” bonuses) to ensure that they’re careful to keep the deal confidential. These incentives will also help ensure that they’re dedicating their full efforts toward helping you close the deal quickly, rather than worrying constantly about their own future employment.
We can help you implement each of the above strategies and maximize your chances for a successful sale.