This is the first time I’ve described all of the things we did wrong the first time I tried to sell a business. It’s also the story of the first time I lost several million dollars.
How Not to Sell a Business – Don’t Blow The Biggest Deal of Your Life
This is a talk I gave to the Vancouver Chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) on February 19, 2009. It is consistently the most viewed video on my blog.
In this talk, I compare my first experience selling a business to a more recent one where everything was perfectly planned and executed.
- This is the first time I’ve described all of the things we did wrong the first time I sold a business. It’s also the story of the first time I lost several million dollars.
- During this presentation, I compare my first business sale to a more recent one where everything was perfectly planned and executed.
- My story begins with the launch of my first company, Nexus Engineering, while I was still in university.
- I wish we had done a secondary sale before we sold the business.
- I confess that we had never discussed our exit strategy.
- We start to learn about exit strategies at the worst possible time.
- We make the classic error of having the CEO sell the business.
- I learn that every business sale needs multiple bidders.
- What happened because we hadn’t checked the alignment on our exit strategy.
- Painful lessons about how nasty take-over battles can get when you sell a business.
- I was a rookie and ended up playing defense all the way through.
- We finally get the business sold, but my regret was that we ‘rode it over the top’.
- It took me another ten years to understand all the things we did wrong.
- The truth is… we were lucky. To this day, I wish we’d had a good exit strategy and checked the alignment before we started to sell the business.
- This is the story of the Parasun business sale – where we did everything perfectly.
- We developed alignment on a simple exit strategy at an offsite planning retreat.
- At Parasun, we successfully executed two secondary sales before we sold the business.
- We sell the business right on schedule, but the price was 48% higher than the target.
- A comparison on the Nexus and Parasun exits – what to do and what not to do selling your business.
Many of these lessons are described in my new book on selling businesses for entrepreneurs and angel investors – www.Early-Exits.com.