I hired six consulting firms and business brokers over my seventeen years of running a software company. Each time, I was pressured by investors and the Board to sell. Angel investors get antsy for returns after about five years.
Despite my optimism and monthly retainer fees, we couldn't seal the deal. We got some interest, but mostly at bargain prices. In between formal sales attempts, I fielded countless inquiries from potential buyers. I used these calls to refine my value proposition, creating a top three reasons list and a pitch script. I must've done this over 200 times during my tenure.
Eventually, a private equity firm reached out to us during COVID. No broker was involved. With my management team and the Board's help, we struck a good deal. I paid back investors and pocketed my share, wearing a permanent smile.
This journey taught me that running a company and selling one are different games. Often, it's the first time for both seller and buyer, especially in smaller companies. While experts like brokers, consultants, lawyers, and CPAs can help, they can also rack up costs and complicate things.
Successful sales require strong leadership on both sides. Military leadership experience can be a game-changer. Veterans selling to veterans often benefit from a unique trust factor that speeds up the process.