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Breaking the News: When and How to Tell Your Employees You are Selling the Business

While selling a business can be a great financial move for owners, it also has a huge impact on the livelihood of employees. Announcing that you are selling your business, if done incorrectly, can cause shockwaves that can threaten profits and destabilize the work environment. The following 4 tips can help your business ownership transition go smoothly as possible, for yourself and for your employees.

1) Timing

As the old adage goes, “timing is everything.” This is especially true when it comes to deciding when to tell your employees that you are selling your business. It is important to wait until the deal is final before telling the majority of your employees about the sale. Otherwise, you run the risk of upsetting your workers unnecessarily. The exception to keeping the deal quiet until it is final is that some owners benefit from telling a handful of upper-level employees about the sale as it progresses. By telling key players about the decision to sell first, you’ll have a ready-made support system in place to help the transition go more smoothly.

2) Anticipate employee questions and have answers ready

When announcing that you are selling your business, it is likely that your employees will have many questions about how it will affect their livelihoods. Anticipate common concerns your employees may have and be prepared to provide sufficient information. Common questions employees have include:

  • Will I be able to keep my job?
  • Will I receive severance?
  • What happens to my health insurance coverage?
  • When will the sale take effect?
  • Why are you selling the business?

3) Remain positive about the future

While most owners will want to reassure their employees as much as possible about the transition, once the deal is done they may have little control over whether employees keep their jobs. Avoid making promises you can’t keep while also remaining positive about the future of the company.

4) Show your employees appreciation for their hard work

As every good business owner knows, a business is only as good as its employees. At this critical time of transition, reward your employees for a job well done. Planning an award ceremony, party, or company outing, can be a great way to show your appreciation to your employees for all their hard work and help put a positive spin on the company’s new ownership.

Harvest the wealth in your business with Tennessee Valley Group

At Tennessee Valley Group, we understand that selling a business can have a huge impact on the lives of the owners and employees. We offer business brokerage and transfer mediation to help buyers and sellers maximize the wealth in their businesses, while being mindful of employee impact. For more information on our services, contact our office at (615) 390-9966.

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Tennessee Valley Group

Jim Cumbee established Tennessee Valley Group to help business owners fulfill their dreams for life after business ownership. It’s a mission that his 30+ year career history had prepared him well for—in addition to being an attorney, transition mediator and business broker, Jim has been a buyer, seller, and entrepreneur. His broad range of experience gives him unique insight into how business buyers and sellers can achieve their goals.

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