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Old 04-23-2005, 08:04 AM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Yes ones the home computer and the other is the computer at work for me and the staff.
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Old 04-23-2005, 10:09 AM   #12 (permalink)
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NO! NO! NO! Whatever you do... DO NOT TELL ANYBODY. You are creating legal and financial disaster for yourself and the old owner. If the new owner asks you NOT to tell the customers I would be certain to follow those instructions. You are leaving yourself vulnerable to a major lawsuit if you tell the customers you are leaving. Apparently the other people on this website have no idea of how serious this is going to become for you. It may make you feel good to say goodby, but there is an important legal consideration here that can cost you some serious money out of your back pocket. Here's why:
When the new owner buys the business, a portion of that sale includes the goodwill of the business. If you do anything to destroy the goodwill of the business for the previous owner, you will have effectively undermined the full vlaue of the sale and the new owner has the opportunity to withdraw from the sale or to advise the previous owner that the goodwill of the business was damaged by your actions. The new owner can go back to the old owner and get the price adjusted down and the old owner will have legal recourse to suing you. By saying goodby, if any customers are lost, you have undermined the value of the business because you changed the customer base.
Secondly, you need to understand that all of your efforts towards the customers belong to the owner, not yourself. That's right! Every time you smiled, shook hands, bent over backwards for a customer... it all belonged to the owner. Not you. You were paid cash to offer your services, attitude, etc on behalf of the owner. Everytime you received a paycheck it was because you were doing your job. Nothing more. Tuff luck that you really enjoyed yourself. Tuff luck that you feel you made a difference. Tuff luck that you feel everyone likes you. Ultimately, it's the old owners decision to place you in that position and your services worked out for her... on the legal scope, you are as valuable as the clock on the wall. You do your job, you show up, you make customers happy, you leave at the end of the day. The old owner owes you nothing. You got paid to do your job. Accept it.
So, at this point if you sabotage the owner's sale by interferring with the desire of the new owner to have the employees remain silent about the business then you have given the new owner ammunition to go after the old owner (who in turn can go after you.) Yes, I've seen this happen! I've seen people undermine the efforts of the old owner and end up with their butt in a sling. I've seen the transfer of the business title be stopped at the last minute over poor decision making like yours.
You are open to a lawsuit that is equal in value to the loss of goodwill that the old owner has accumulated in the sale value of the business. How can the old owner prove that devalued the business? Simple. The new ower simply bifurcates the escrow (does not stop the sale in escrow, simple allows time to discover how much the old business lost due to your poor judgment.) She then goes back after the business has been opened and discovers how much damage you did. Then she and the old owner sit down to discuss how much less the business is now worth.... once they reach an agreement, then the escrow goes forward.
You are treading on very shaky ground if you even mention that there is going to be a change of ownership. PLUS, now that this has been published on the internet, oh boy! You've stepped into it with both feet now. If I were the new owner I'd be looking for evidence (if she hasn't already been on this site and others) about the publiciation of the sale.
I suggest you totally and fully honor the request of the new owner or accept that fact that you could ultimately face a legal challenge from a very irate old owner. The new owner is going to find out everything on the day she opens anyway.... and I suspect that she'll be all over the old owner's *** so quick it'd make your head spin. The new owner can bifurcate the sale in escrow (the sale will be accepted pending the challenge of the ultimate selling price based on the loss of goodwill caused by you.)
The customer base belongs to the owner, not you. It's that simple. She'll hire an attorney and she'll be all everybody. Your action of telling the customers that you are leaving makes me sick. This is not your business. It never was. It belongs to the old owner. Not you.
Many customers will have the option to simply leave on their own accord when a business changes hands, and it often does happen. I suggest you advise the new owner that much of the goodwill of the business if due to your efforts and that she can retain the goodwill of the business if she keeps you for a specific period of time after the sale goes thru. It can be weeks, or months, but find a way to advise her that you fear that the majority of the customer base will leave when you do.... she'll understand the bottom line. But if you personally cause the customers to leave because you got so emotional that you wanted to say goodby to everyone.... you are open to legal action. Saying goodby is not in your perogative. This is simply not about loosing a job you love. This is about not getting sued in court.
Personally, from an owners point of view I'd fire your *** today and get rid of you on the spot and not give you the opportunity to make a scene. Please understand that I ususally advocate that everybody keep all employees and never fire anyone for any reason... but, at the last moment in the sale of a business... this is probably the one time when I'd opt to line someone up against the wall and send in the firing squad.
Think about what you are doing. It's obvious that the other people who have responded are doing so for one of two reasons:
A. They think it's funny to see someone come into legal harm.
B. They have no clue about what your obligations are to the new owner.
Everyone who responded to this link telling you that it's ok to go against the new owner's wishes needs to go back to basic business school 101, read up about selling an existing business and review the valuation process on the business. Your actions can fully undermind the sale and put you at legal risk. Tread softly here! If the new owner asked you to be silent, I'd do so. If not, the old owner will eventually learn of your undermine of the business value, and be sure to screw you over in a law suit, or by screwing over your employement referrals.
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Old 04-23-2005, 11:16 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I do have to admit that Jancy has a valid point of view. I often forget that I have a very good attorney, and that comes into play in a lot of decisions. I would do exactly what I suggested earlier, but, as she pointed out, that may not be your best course of action. It goes like this: "If you don't have anyone looking out for you, you've got to look out for yourself".

Sunsally had an interesting take on the matter, and though I don't see myself doing it, that is a more positive option to have on the table. I'd be seething over the whole matter, and would certainly not be speaking nicely to the new owner--but that's just me. If you can put a positive spin on this and let it roll off your back, your blood pressure will thank you for it...
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