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Want to sell your business for a strategic multiple?

Here’s your 8-step plan👇

1. Brainstorm Potential Target Buyers

Write down 100+ enterprises that could benefit from owning your business. Think broadly and creatively. Consider competitors, partners, customers, international companies, and other startups.

2. Prioritize Your Target List

Research and prioritize your list using data. Consider strategic gaps, capitalization, PE ownership, previous acquisitions, scale, and operating history.

3. Develop an Acquisition Thesis for Each Target Type

Identify what makes your company appealing to each potential buyer. Is it your product/IP, customer base, markets served, or team’s expertise? Focus on how you can drive their revenue, increase efficiency, or reduce risk.

4. Make Time for Outreach

Block out weekly time to reach out to executives at your targets. You will need product sponsorship, executive lean-in, and corporate development support for a strategic exit. Prioritize in that order. Prepare well, ask questions, bring market insights, and show how you can help accelerate their strategies.

5. Keep Working at it Consistently

Building trust and relationships is a process. Try to start collaborating, even if on a small scale. The best buyers are often those you're already partnering with or your biggest customers.

6. Get Your House in Order

Ensure your business's finances and operations are in top shape. Objectively identify and fix known issues. An organized and well-run business is more attractive to potential buyers.

7. Start Sparking Interest

Buyers will show interest if you've successfully built a broad strategic network and demonstrated value. This can happen in two ways: a buyer steps forward and submits an LOI, or you signal your intent to “merge forces.”

8. Roll Up Your Sleeves

Now, it’s time to navigate the complexities of closing the deal. Engage an experienced M&A attorney. Getting an LOI is an important first step, but remember there’s still much negotiation and due diligence left. Deals can break post-LOI, so continue performing and running your business as if you will own it forever.

What strategies have worked for you in preparing for a strategic business sale?


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