The Big Reason No One Will Buy Your Company

November 1, 2020 Mac Lackey

Let me share a massive formula for business success. 

  1. Create a product or service for a massive, yet underserved market
  2. Huge bonus if you are uniquely knowledgeable and passionate about the space
  3. Get to product market fit
  4. Develop a profitable customer acquisition strategy
  5. Create raving fans
  6. Hire amazing people
  7. Scale using technology and automation

If you execute this formula you will have your hands on a great company. 

Now, if you are like 75% of all entrepreneurs, some day you are going to want to sell this gem of company. Maybe you want to retire. Perhaps you need cash or you know your business is worth a great deal of money. It doesn’t really matter WHY, the reality is that you will likely want to sell at some point so when that time comes you imagine buyers will be interested.  

Here’s the problem. If you are like MOST entrepreneurs you have already made two fatal assumptions. Assumptions which will dramatically reduce the likelihood you ever sell your business and almost certainly for too little money even if you can exit.

The two fatal flaws both come from a fragment of a sentence above. They can be found in this sentence: 

“so when that time comes you imagine buyers will be interested”. 

Fatal flaw number one is waiting. You are thinking “when the time comes” you will be able to position your company to be bought. Sure, you can wait but waiting means you won’t have taken advantage of months (if not years) of smart decisions compounding into value. Little things you can do to make your company more desirable. Simple tactics that increase the odds of an exit. Strategies that make your company’s story irresistible to buyers.  

This is a tragedy because in most cases the things you can do to completely change your exit readiness aren’t difficult. However, the bigger fatal flaw can be found at the end of that sentence, where it says “you imagine buyers will be interested”. 

This is a fatal flaw. This is an assumption that can not only cost entrepreneurs millions of dollars, it can lead to nothing. That’s right. A zero. No interested buyers. No exit. No value for that amazing company you spent years building. 

Why is this the case?

Simple. 

Companies are not bought, they are SOLD.

If you are waiting (or assuming) buyers will come knocking when you are ready to sell, you are wrong. Period. 

There are so many reasons. 

  • The best buyers often come from outside of your industry (and those companies may not even know you exist). 
  • The likelihood of your timing just naturally lining up with a great buyer is incredibly low. 
  • The most active buyers (the ones who reach out to you, or enter an M&A process) are often financial buyers who care about EBITDA and have entire teams to ensure they pay as little as possible. And most will pass after wasting your time. They are bottom feeders who want fire-sale deals… and on and on.

In ExitDNA we spend months working with founders on how they can maximize their exit value with all kinds of provent strategies and tactics BUT above all of these is that simple reminder we discuss weekly which is:

Companies are not bought, they are SOLD.

You (founder, entrepreneur) have to make it happen. You have to own this process. You have to start early. You have to execute strategies to increase exit value. You have to develop an irresistible exit story. You have to find the best buyers and you have to drive to a great exit. 

Don’t wait for buyers to show up. Remember, companies are not bought, they are SOLD.

A few helpful resources:

Get your ERS (Exit Readiness Score). A FREE quiz to test your exit readiness.

A quick video on reaching out to potential buyers

If you want help or have any questions about how you can increase the value of your company and/or create the OPTION to exit, shoot an email to exit@maclackey.com and I will follow up.

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