Acquisitions · M&a

How do you sell a smaller company?

Stella Fayman Director of Marketing at Trello

December 9th, 2014

Larger companies have VC, investment bankers, brokers, etc to help them garner interest in a possible acquisition. For smaller companies that rely heavily on word of mouth, what's the best way to get the word out that you're interested in selling?

Anonymous

December 9th, 2014

I can introduce you to a colleague of mine who brokers these kinds of deals for a living ($100k and up). PM me if you're interested.

Kristin Fitch Co-Founder ZiggityZoom Media-Online & Mobile Ed Tech- Content & Games- Business Educator & Mentor, Author, Speaker

December 9th, 2014

Stella, are you referring to an online company?  If so, there are sites that sell sites for you and allow buyers to find your site. The site also lists other sites for sale, and their stats so it is also a great place to get data on other sites.  Latonas.com is one of the sites that lists and sells websites.

Stephen Huson Leader in Internet lead generation, SEM / PPC / SEO and analytics

December 9th, 2014

It really depends on the business and the value. There are definitely M&A focused investment banker/advisor people that are very good at this, but probably work mostly on businesses with value over $1 million. I can refer you to someone in that business that I trust if you are interested and it's a fit.  Feel free to message me directly if you are interested in that referral.

Ben Griffin CEO Peer Group Facilitator | Executive Coach | Board of Directors | Strategic Thinking | Ben.Griffin@CEOIQ.com

December 11th, 2014

Stella, you've received lots of great comments and input.  As is so often the case, the answer is 'it depends'...in your situation, it depends on answers to the questions posed in other replies.  The biggest 'it depends' in my mind is can you be dispassionate enough about the business to sell it yourself (few founders can do that, despite what they may think)...if your answer is no or a qualified maybe, then a boutique investment banker / sellers broker in your local market may be the best way to go. If you are comfortable in DIY mode, then the online sites like BizBuySell or others mentioned are a good way to get exposure beyond your immediate geographic area (that 'assumes' that the business is movable / portable)...

Jessica Alter Entrepreneur & Advisor

December 9th, 2014

If you think you have tech or a talent play you should reach out to exitround.com this is what they do.

Brian Hult New Product Development Chemist, Entrepreneur & Board Member

December 9th, 2014

Bizbuysell.com is a good website to look at, there are a lot of other firms that deal with M&A. CPA's might be a good resource as well.

Matthew Barmash Consultant, MEB Consulting

December 9th, 2014

Stella, There are a couple of methods that I have see used over the years, some with greater success than others. For starters, there are folks out there who act as Rep's for bartering a sale. Their cut is smaller than a small banker firm but they also offer little value. Depending on the Enterprise Value of the business there are smaller bankers as well who will take upwards of 12%. All that being said, the best way is to look through your partnerships and make them valuable to the operating companies you are working with. At that point, a lawyer can make the inquiry, although it is always best to assume that the larger company already knows and if they are good, has already considered the option. Of course there is word of mouth as well but in the end, all the options are relatively similar in that you need to determine both your value, your hold value and your unique value. Nothing stops you from sending a pitch book off to companies you think might be interested. My last thought is to consider how much you want to sell and for what reasons. That will help you determine your timeline and best strategy. Best of luck. matthew

Ian Saunders Co-founder of CryoAction, cryotherapy chambers for elite sports. Startup veteran & advisor

December 9th, 2014

It depends on the smaller companies' sector but in my experience, I wouldn't rule out the smaller investment firms as they are quite often scouting on behalf of larger business who have a skills or tech gap to fill.

Sometimes a carefully placed word with any large clients could be a good route also.

VS Joshi Founder of Mobile Startup in Social & IoT space - TrintMe

December 10th, 2014

Brian Ross, and stephen husom,
Can you please send your contact details. will be very helpful. 
My email address is vsjoshi.us@gmail.com

Joshua Scott Product Manager at CyberSponse, Inc.

December 9th, 2014

Lot of great advice here. I'm assuming this may not be a web-based business, but Flippa is an easy way to sell a web-based business.