It’s normal for trucking business owners to nurture close bonds with loyal employees – after all, employees are the backbone of any successful business. But while it might feel natural, telling workers about your impending sale may do more harm than good. Discussing a sale with employees, even trusted ones, can have unexpected destabilizing effects that can cost you the deal and leave you, your staff, and your company in an awkward position.
Success in business, and business sales, requires stability. Customers want to do business with a stable company. Employees work best in a stable environment. Most importantly, buyers want to know that the business they will ultimately purchase is the same business that was described to them on paper. Letting the cat out of the bag too soon can lead to sudden changes in management structure, market, or trucking business valuation, throwing a wrench in a once-promising deal. Word of a sale can cause distraction, disillusionment, and disloyalty among workers and, as a result, can end up hurting the very people you were trying to protect with your announcement.
Knowledge about a sale impacts not just the workplace, but the market. Longtime customers who are wary about doing business with new owners may turn to competitors. Competitors may go out of their way to woo your customers. It might be hard to imagine that your faithful workers would spread such an important secret, but try to understand their mindset. Employees may be shocked to discover you’re putting your freight hauling business for sale. Fearful for losing their jobs, they may react inappropriately before considering the consequences. Even a well-meaning employee is likely to tell family members of an upcoming sale, and those family members may let the secret slip to others. Before long, clients and competitors could catch wind of your plans, jeopardizing months of negotiation and potentially costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Most breaches in confidentiality result from a mistake on behalf of the seller. Even owners who wisely keep a sale from employees may unintentionally leave a sensitive document in the fax machine or an important e-mail on their monitor screen during lunch hour. Along with keeping your intentions quiet, take care to use private e-mail accounts, office equipment, and cell phones when communicating about a sale with your broker, accountant, attorney, or a buyer. A business broker with a proven track record in the transportation logistics industry can help you maintain strict confidentiality until you reach the closing table. By protecting privacy long enough to make a deal with your best buyer, you will also protect your trucking business, including your workforce.