The process of selling your business can be exciting, and can lead to a world of opportunities for you in the future. While you may have a lot to look forward to, you don't want to let the cat out of the bag too early. In this situation, confidentiality is a must for all parties involved. Otherwise, the sale could end up falling through or negatively affecting one of the parties involved.
Impact Customers, Suppliers, and Creditors
When word leaks out that you are selling your business, it can negatively affect several areas of your company. Customers may be less likely to buy from you if they think that you won't be around to take care of them in the long run. Suppliers will be less likely to extend you credit in the short term if they think that they may not be able to collect from you. Creditors may not want to give you lines of credit  or business loans if they know that you are trying to sell your business. 
Advertise with Blind Ads
When you advertise that your business is for sale, do not list the name of your business or any specific information that could be used to identify it. You can list your company on business sales websites  without actually including anything specific.
If someone inquires about your business, try to be as discreet as possible. Find out who you're talking to, and stress to him that confidentiality is a must. If you are dealing with a legitimate buyer, they can sign a confidentiality agreement before divulging any sensitive information about your business. For example, if you are going to show the buyer your books, make him sign first.
If you can keep the sale of your business quiet, you'll have a much better chance of a smooth transition to the new owner.
Read more at Inc.