By Ronald Kouvelt
Posted on 2023-02-15T00:00:00.000Z

How do you sell a company?

Successful exit from selling a company needs strong team, preparation, timing, networking, Plan B, and emotional intelligence. Learn from other entrepreneurs.

Selling my company was a turning point in my entrepreneurial journey, and I want to share with you the personal insights and lessons I gained from this experience. I hope that my reflections can provide valuable insights for those on their own entrepreneurial path.

  1. Team: Selling your company shouldn't be your goal in my opinion. Building an amazing product or service that helps your customers and creates a lot of value should always be the main goal. In order to do that and in order to grow your company, you need a well functioning team that gets the job done! So hiring is very important, if you do get in the position where your company might get acquired, the buyer will take a look at your team and stress test the ability of the team to execute the growth plan.

    In my experience there are 4 main traits in a person you should look for, of course there are more, but these are the most important in order to build a team that gets the job done.

    1. High in Conscientiousness: The quality of wishing to do one's work or duty well and thoroughly.
    2. Low in Agreeableness: Disagreeable people are competitive, tough, blunt, and skeptical. This helps when you are building a company from zero to one.
    3. High in Industriousness: Simply put, it is a measure of how much a person values hard work, and how guilty they feel when they do not meet expectations. People who are higher in industriousness tend to finish what they start, to adhere to schedules, and to feel shame when they fail to meet their obligations.
    4. High Intellect: People who are higher in intellect tend to be more curious, more verbally adept, with a richer vocabulary, and more interested in learning.

    For key roles I use the assessment. The Understand Myself assessment and report is based on the Big Five Aspects Scale, the scientific model that describes your personality through the (Big Five) factors and each of their two aspects.

  2. Preparation is King: Before I even considered selling my company, I made sure that all my finances, contracts, and legal paperwork were in order. Next to the administrative side of things, it's really important to be able to communicate your vision and strategy clearly, have a strong execution plan and knowledge of the market. This allowed me to present my company with confidence to potential buyers and investors and, ultimately, secure a better deal.

    My advice to you is to be thorough in your preparation. This includes organizing your company and its paperwork, and bringing in an experienced M&A team if necessary. Remember, taking the time to prepare will pay off in the end.

  3. Timing is Everything: Timing was a crucial factor in the successful sale of my company. I waited for the right market conditions and seized the opportunity when it arose. Stay informed about market trends and be patient. Don't rush into a sale. Take the time to understand the market and wait for the right moment. During this time, focus on growing your company, ensuring your team is performing, and building your network. If the growth (high growth numbers and negative churn) of your company continues, the opportunity for an exit will occur naturally.

  4. Networking is Key: Throughout my journey as an entrepreneur, I formed valuable relationships and partnerships that helped me grow my company and, ultimately, sell it. I leveraged these connections to gain feedback and explore all potential options. Invest time in networking and building strong relationships. This can be an investment in your future success. Make an effort to reach out, give back, and surround yourself with people who have done it before and align with your company culture.

  5. Plan B is a Must: While I had a clear plan for my company, I always prepared for potential obstacles. This flexibility allowed me to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and ultimately led to a successful exit. My advice to you is to have a Plan B in place and to be prepared for any bumps in the road. Develop a strong, independent growth strategy that you can execute regardless of any obstacles that may arise. Remember, the world is what you aim for, so be mindful of your target.

  6. Emotional Intelligence is Essential: Selling my company was an emotional rollercoaster, and I learned that emotional intelligence is crucial in the process. I had to manage my emotions, stay calm, and stay focused in order to negotiate the best deal for my company. My suggestion to you is to stay in control of your emotions and focus on what you want to achieve. Start negotiations by discussing points of agreement, rather than diving into differences. This will help you remember why you started the process in the first place.

In conclusion, selling my company was a defining moment in my entrepreneurial journey. I learned that a team that can execute, preparation, timing, networking, having a Plan B, and emotional intelligence are key to a successful exit. I hope my personal reflections and lessons can help guide you on your own entrepreneurial path. Regardless of what obstacles may arise, stay focused on your goals, and never give up on your dreams. Dreams are the beginning for inspiration!