You’ll often hear business brokers and M&A advisors say that the right time to prepare for your exit is when you first launch. By that they mean that it’s important to always be thinking about how to optimize your business so that it is streamlined for an eventual sale. Some of the savviest entrepreneurs and business owners are also thinking about partnering with those who will ultimately want to buy their businesses, even if the prospective sale of their business is many years away. It is easy to see why so many top-level entrepreneurs feel this way, as it is prudent to plan for the outcome you want from the very beginning.
It Pays to Think Ahead
The simple fact is that in most endeavors in life, it pays to think ahead. Selling a business is no exception. The rate of businesses that are being acquired is rising significantly. In a recent study at the University of Maryland, researchers found that in the last three decades, the rate of venture capital-backed startups that have been acquired has soared from 10% to 90%.
Anyone building a business should build that company in such a way that it will be appealing for acquisition down the line. Thinking about who the ideal buyer might be will help you to properly shape your business operations.
Many owners have an eye on businesses that work to serve similar markets. You may also want to think about how your product and your business model work to address an overlooked need within the existing customer base of that larger entity. If you can clearly show that acquiring your company will instantly lead to new business, then much of the battle is already won. By finding customers that a business is overlooking, you have positioned your business to be an attractive target for acquisition.
Have a Success Oriented Strategy from Day One
In short, company founders must understand their customer, their product, and why a customer will want and need what they offer. Being able to attract the right talent is also important. If a successful staff is firmly in place, your business will be far more attractive to potential buyers.
Understanding from day one the path of your startup and where you want to go will make all the difference in your success. It is important to remember that it is much easier to build an acquisition-friendly company from day one than it is to retrofit your existing company years down the road.