Since I started my business, I’ve been fascinated by how you go about selling your company.
The steps that happen in the run-up to that point where you say: “Ok, the money’s hit my account – it’s yours” intrigued me.
Mainly because I was so focused on what we needed to get done, worrying that we’d make enough money so I could feed the cat; and facing down the “OMG WHO GAVE ME A BUSINESS, I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!!!” moments that – really – the point where someone wanted to buy my business felt like it was not just years, but light years away.
What fascinated me most was how that initial contact takes place.
Do you just get a call one day and someone says: “Hey, I’d like to buy your company?”
Are you at a networking event and someone’s eyes light up when you tell them what you do and they slip you a business card to have drink with them the following week at a dimly-lit underground wine bar to talk more?
Or do you hit someone up over lattes and poached eggs in a packed CBD cafe on a Tuesday morning and ask them if they want to buy your business?
In the last few years, I’ve had conversations that I sensed were moving into “sniff-out” territory – where the person seemed to be gauging my potential interest in selling.
Whether they were serious or not, and whether they had the money or not, I don’t know. Either way, I didn’t take them seriously at all.
And then in late November, an email landed in my inbox from someone who seemed very serious about the “future plans” of my business.
He made it quite clear that the company he worked for had a significant amount of money to spend on some acquisitions in 2016. I was curious to learn more, and we scheduled a call for January.
The call rolled around with this man and he was articulate, clearly very experienced in M&As (mergers and acquisitions) and super polite. We spoke for thirty minutes.
I felt strangely detached during the conversation. The deal he outlined would see this company purchase 51% of my business, and the profit multiple he mentioned was high – meaning I would clear a very solid sum if it became a reality.
I heard him out and told him I’d get back to him on whether I wanted to continue talking by the end of the week.
I was curious as to why I felt so “meh” about it – here was a global company that wanted to buy my business, so why was I not more animated?!
I stood in the meeting room after hitting “end” on the Skype call for a few minutes and pondered that question to myself.
I acknowledged that I wasn’t very wowed by this company – I felt that we would bring a lot more to them than they would to us.
But most of all, I realised how fiercely proud I am of this business that was born from an idea of mine and then built with the creativity, passion and commitment of hundreds of people along the way.
The team we’ve created together, the people we get to have relationships with, the experiences it has led to, the dreams I have for it, the sheer nail-bitingly exhilarating bloody potential that it has…
That no amount of money could replace that feeling that I’m on the biggest adventure of my life.
That the only limit to what I can achieve with it is my own perception of what’s possible.
That if I was to bring an investor/co-owner onboard that they would need to absolutely rock my freaking world (and the team’s and influencers’ worlds!) to consider handing even a slice of it to them.
It was as if I got to peek into an alternate future for myself, and I very much liked the future I had already, ta very much. Maybe it was the business equivalent of a Sliding Doors moment?
I realised standing in the meeting room that afternoon that I’m more excited than I’ve ever been about my business. I was an EXTREMELY giddy entrepreneur as I started out, so that’s really saying something…
I emailed the guy a couple of days later and explained where I was at, and he was very gracious.
The whole experience was flattering to say the least – and seriously validating. We’re obviously doing something right to be getting that kind of offer. The game plan is to keep doing that, and then some.
Maybe one day an offer will come in from an investor or company who excites the hell out of me.
Maybe it won’t.
What I know for sure is that right now there is no place in the world I’d rather be than in the cockpit of this remarkable business – even if it means my bank statement has a helluva lot less zeros on it!