For Subscribers

How to Negotiate a Noncompete Agreement

Selling your business? You may have to sign a noncompete. Here's how to negotiate the best terms.

learn more about Michelle Juergen

By Michelle Juergen

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Fair TradeEntrepreneurs with one-track minds like Steven Smith don't want to hop between industries--they want to stay where their passions lie. But if you're looking to sell one business only to start a similar one, you may run into trouble. Most buyers will want you to sign a noncompete agreement dictating that you won't operate in the same or similar business for a certain period of time within a specific geographic area. Noncompetes may also come into play when employees leave a company to work for a competitor.

But signing a noncompete doesn't mean you have to start from scratch or leave your field of interest; you can negotiate terms that don't restrict you entirely. "Both sides have an interest in making it reasonable," says Thomas Brown of Kansas City, Mo.-based Brown Law Firm and author of How to Start a Business & Not Get Sued. "You have to bear in mind what it is you really want, and bear in mind what the other really needs. And that's where you negotiate." Here are a few ways sellers can carve out some wiggle room.

Continue reading this article — and all of our other premium content with Entrepreneur+

For just $5, you can get unlimited access to all Entrepreneur’s premium content. You’ll find:

  • Digestible insight on how to be a better entrepreneur and leader
  • Lessons for starting and growing a business from our expert network of CEOs and founders
  • Meaningful content to help you make sharper decisions
  • Business and life hacks to help you stay ahead of the curve

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game
Business News

Fully Remote Work May Be A Relic of the Past, According to a New Report

New data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that many employees are returning to the office.

Business News

These Are the Most and Least Affordable Places to Retire in The U.S.

The Northeast and West Coast are the least affordable, while areas in the Mountain State region tend to be ideal for retirees on a budget.


9 Healthcare Marketing Strategies to Attract and Engage Patients

Healthcare marketing is a unique opportunity to build relationships and connections with your audience. Here's how you do it:

Money & Finance

How to Identify a Good Investment (Even During Economic Uncertainty)

By knowing precisely what a good investment looks like, you'll be able to make wise decisions quickly, efficiently and confidently, no matter what else is happening in the world.

Business News

I Live on a Cruise Ship for Half of the Year. Look Inside My 336-Square-Foot Cabin with Wraparound Balcony.

I live on a cruise ship with my husband, who works on it, for six months out of the year. Life at "home" can be tight. Here's what it's really like living on a cruise ship.