This is a page from my book, “How I Sold My Business: A Personal Diary”
Marty told us that our closest competitor has been inquiring about this "mystery" computer business for sale in the local region. I don't know if he contacted them, or they contacted him, but since this has come up, Marty tells me we have to do something about it. Marty assures me he hasn't given them our name yet, and says that our options are (a) to give them the usual "blinded" information as Step 1 in the process, or (b) let him tell them that the mystery business isn't for sale to them. His advice is to meet with them.
Marty assures us that once they sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) as part of the process, they can't legally say anything to anyone, and we can sue them if they ever use this information in any way. That's huge, because we still run into them fairly often, and I can see them saying "Oh, it's just a rumor, but I heard they were for sale," when they talk to a prospect about us. But hey, they could say the same thing today, telling their prospects there is this mystery computer consulting business for sale in the local area, and the description sure does match our business.
I'm very torn about this idea. I don't like it more than I like it, but I'm also interested in selling the company or growing. I've met with owners of this other business several times at business functions, and while I don't like one of them, the others seem okay.
I met with the other Class A partners yesterday to discuss this, and we weighed the pros and cons. In the end we decided we were pretty screwed either way, and it might be better to get them under an NDA, so we decided to go forward with it. I called Marty today, and he's going to get them to sign his NDA before going any further, and we'll see what happens. I also told him that if he thought I didn't give away much information last time, this was going to be even worse for him.