So, you've decided to sell your startup. That's good, as all business relations must come to an end, and if you have an exit strategy planned, that means that your business is doing well and that your exit will be a positive one.
However, there's a big difference between selling your business for a few hundred thousand dollars versusone hundred million dollars. If you want to get the most bang for your buck when selling your startup, there are a few things to consider. These are five tips to ensure that you get the maximum value for your startup.
Know What To Sell
When you market your business to your customers, you are presenting them with something of value in order to entice them to buy. The process of courting buyers for your entire business is fairly similar. Positive statistics over a short period of time are much better than mediocre statistics over a larger amount of time, as it shows that your startup has explosive value versus median value that is reliable. Know what aspects of your business are the most profitable or most enticing to potential investors and be sure to sell them on those hot points before mentioning other less exciting parts of your company.
Know When To Sell
This is hard to put an exact finger on, but selling your startup early on when it still shows quite a bit of promise is one tactic to go by if you want to maximize the profit that you can receive from selling. In some cases, sticking around longer to make sure that growth continues could be another way to maximize the profit on your startup. It really depends on the field that your business is in. The best way to determine when to sell is to look at your own metrics and the selling patterns of your competitors.
Watch The Market
You should always make sure to pay close attention to your specific niche and trends in the marketplace so that you know what value your business has to consumers and where you could improve. Finding the right time in the market to pitch your business will mean that you can drive up the price and get more from your startup than you would otherwise. After all, who does not want to get the most for what they have worked for? Keeping tabs on the prices of other companies in relation to their positive cash flow will help you put a price to your company and know what to aim for.
Add Strategic Value
Tailor your pitch to each of your buyers. Let the buyers know that in addition to the positive cash flow and metrics that you have at your disposal, that your business will be able to add something else to theirs; perhaps there are integrative functions, or perhaps they bolster a business's portfolio a bit more. Either way, show the company what they stand to gain from their investment in your startup--the more value you can add for the long term, the higher the price will be.
As the managing director at Viant Group, Steve Gurney recommends that startups prove that an acquisition will be beneficial for everyone involved, both on the technology side and on the revenue side. "Typically we find that buyers have distribution channels and sellers have technology," he says. "Be very specific about how you show potential buyers the revenues and profit they stand to gain if your technology is distributed through their channels. Model out a hypothetical income statement."
Showcase Your Business's Assets
These include not only your cash flow and product, but things like employees and operating systems. These will continue to add value to your business and drive up the price; after all, large businesses love having teams that are already trained and can slip into a new environment easily.