October 7, 2022 | Selling

Selling Your Business? Here’s How to Make the Transition Easier on Your Staff

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Selling your business is bittersweet. On one hand, selling means moving on to bigger and better ventures. On the other hand, if you’ve put years of blood, sweat, and tears into your business, moving on from something you’ve worked so hard to build can be a hard transition.

The sale of your business isn’t just an emotional process for you, but also for your staff. While the you will need to deal with many moving parts and variables during the sale, the outcome of the transaction can be equally as stressful for your team. 

Here are a few of our best tips for ensuring a smooth transition for staff members after the sale of your business. 

Work With A Commercial Broker

If you’re selling a business, working as a commercial broker or real estate agent is absolutely essential. As a commercial real estate specialist, your broker can help you understand your various options for selling. They’ll also be your personal guide through the sales process, helping you make sense of fine print and ensure you’re equipped to make the most of your time on the market. Of course, their vast network of industry connections can also attract better, higher-quality offers for your business, making sure no money is left on the table. 

In addition to facilitating commercial real estate transactions, brokers are tuned into the unique challenges and industry-specific factors that come with everyday business operations. Your broker can help you plan and prepare a communication strategy for announcing the sale to your staff, customers, and community. 

Looking for expert advice about selling your business? As industry-leading hospitality brokers in Southern Ontario, we can help. Send us an email

Communicate Effectively & With Empathy

There are a lot of moving parts in the world of commercial real estate. While it can be an exciting event, selling a business takes patience, discretion, and carefully planned communication. During the infancy of your business sale, it’s critical to be mindful of confidentiality. Major changes can bring out emotions. Announcing your plans to sell too early could upset your staff, which in turn could negatively impact your business. In some severe cases, improper communication could jeopardize a transaction altogether.

When the time comes to share the news, maintain an open, transparent dialogue with your team. Remember, your staff also cares about your business. After all, it’s where they spend most of their time. There’s a good chance that they will have questions for you. Some you may be able to answer, others not so much. Regardless of where these conversations take you, it’s important to be both positive and honest in the information you provide.  

Avoiding Turnover 

In the past year, a general shortage of labour across Canada has created a lot of challenges for business owners. These new difficulties have hit the restaurant and hospitality industries particularly hard. If you’re selling your restaurant, the last thing you want to do is directly or indirectly incentive staff to leave. To prevent turnover, it’s important to make sure your team feels respected, appreciated and well-informed during the transition. For a lot of business owners, this is already standard practice in everyday operations – but it’s extra important when selling. 

If you can, work with the buyer to ensure your staff are taken care of long-term. While business operations will ultimately be up to the new owner, be sure to ask about thier visions and goals for the future during the screening process.

Looking for more insights about selling a small business? Explore these posts from our blog. 

Work With The Buyer  

During the due diligence phase, potential buyers will have the opportunity to perform in-depth research about the financial health of your business, day-to-day operations, logistical factors such as suppliers and B2B relationships, as well as special considerations related to current staff members. This process can give the buyer a sense of how they’d like to handle the transition, however, it doesn’t always give a complete picture. 

Nobody knows your business better than you. Helping the new owners organize a smooth hand-off will mean fewer headaches for everyone.

Before beginning, ask your broker, lawyer, and financial planner about what information you can and should disclose to the buyer. Next, you can work alongside the buyer to minimize disruption to the business as a whole. 

You’ve put your life into your business. When it’s time to move on, work with a broker who will handle your sale with the care, diligence, and passion it deserves. Email us.