From SXSW the session, “5 Secrets to Getting Acquired” was insightful and panelists were Gabe Karp, Partner, Detroit Venture Partners and Matt Wise, CEO, ePrize.
First, there are NO secrets. It often takes dumb luck and a great product.
(SXSW coverage sponsored by Infusionsoft – all in one sales and marketing CRM software for small business)
The 5 tips they DID share, however, were:
Have mature and experienced leadership
When companies are looking to buy your company it’s important to have mature and seasoned leadership in the executive team. It’s important for two reasons. 1. You NEED the experience to help your business 2. Your INVESTORS want the comfort of knowing that their investment has a great degree of success.
Talk in sound bites
It’s important that you know how to properly communicate with investors (and others). Be able to speak in sound bites and clearly communicate the value of your business, how it differs from others and etc. Do not speak in nonsensical industry jargon to sound smart.
Be sure that you and your executives are good at common social norms, polite, shake hands and etc. Some executives are not comfortable speaking to people, might be rude or impolite. Leave these people home when you speak with investors (or customers).
Get your financials together
Be very clear and professional in your finances (and other aspects) of your business. KNOW your “stuff”. Treat your business seriously. When investors ask you a question about your business have a good (and truthful) answer.
Go make friends
Before you even think about selling your company ensure you are touching based with the people in your industry who could be possible buyers or influencers in the buying decision.
During the Q&A time I asked how to know when to fire an executive versus keeping them on board. The advice given was that if an executive (or employee) is not adherent to your core values fire them immediately – they will only hurt your company. Clate Mask, CEO and co-fonder of Infusionsoft is passionate about the aspect of company culture.