Things I Learned Not to Do When You Sell a Business
This is a talk I gave to the Vancouver Chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) on February 19, 2009.
Highlights of Part 2:
- I wish I had done a secondary sale – that would have taken the pressure off – mistake #1.
- I confess that we had never even discussed an exit strategy – mistake #2.
- We start to learn about exit strategies at the worst possible time.
- Our exit strategy was to sell the main company to a large defense contractor.
- I make the classic error of having the CEO lead the exit – my mistake #3.
- Three buyers get interested, but one by one, they drop off the list – mistake #4.
- We pay someone to leak to our major competitor that we ‘are in play’.
- I learn that every exit needs multiple bidders.
- Just as things start to go well with the exit, a VC on our board starts a hostile take-over from the inside.
- I learn why venture capital funds will block exits that would work well for the other shareholders.
- We didn’t check the alignment on our exit strategy – mistake #5.
- I slowly realize our VC ‘isn’t playing fair’.
- I learn why it’s critically important for a CEO to be careful when filling out expense reports.
Part 3 of How Not to Sell a Business is online here.
Many of the lessons I’ve learned are described in my new book on exit strategies for entrepreneurs and angel investors – www.Early-Exits.com.