Sunday, August 15, 2004

This is a page from my book, “How I Sold My Business: A Personal Diary”

I've reviewed the NDA that our business broker has potential business buyers sign, and indeed there isn't anything in there that addresses a potential buyer hiring any of our people. I've asked Marty to add something to his agreement before we talk to any other prospective buyers, and he said he'd do what he can, but this situation hadn't come up before. His business brokerage is part of a nationwide firm of business brokers, so he's going to go back to them to see what other NDA forms they might have.

Consulting business non-competition agreements

Like most other professional service firms, we have a non-competition agreement with our employees, and while many firms have extremely strict non-compete rules, ours is fairly simple, and more open than other companies I know about. I believe this 'fair' approach has helped us keep employees on board, as they don't feel overly threatened by it, though Jack and another partner seem to prefer that it was more aggressive.

The last company I worked at before starting this business had a non-compete agreement that almost kept me from working for one year. Their agreement started as one thing, and then as their business grew they added other clauses, and before I knew it, it was almost impossible for me to work for another computer company. I almost took a job with Novell just to get out of that agreement, but I changed my mind, and eventually took another job as a computer specialist for a business that was never a customer of the consulting company where I had been working.

As a result of that experience, I decided I would never put someone else through that same experience, so I came up with terms for our non-competition agreement that seemed more fair to me, and if that meant someone could go to work for one of our competitors, well, so be it. If there's a competing company that offers a better work environment than our company, then we've failed anyway, and I don't want a legal agreement to replace us doing the right thing, which is to have the best damn work environment in our industry.

books i’ve written