My business is getting acquired but I'm not sure I should continue working with the business. I never done this before so I don't know if I should sell and walk away or sell and continue grow to something bigger. The buyer wants to keep me on but I've never worked under anyone. The best part of running your own business is not to work under anyone. Can anyone advise what I can do please?
A. Sell and move onto other things and relax
B. Sell and continue working with the company on a salary + commission on deals closed.
If anyone has any experience and sold a company please advise. I would be happy to run a call to understand what advise can be given.
Hi, this is an issue faced by many entrepreneurs. I've sold two businesses and have been a business broker where I helped to sell over 35 others and I've learned from my own experiences and from observing others.
Here's what you need to ask yourself:
1. Is there another project I wish to take on right away?
2. Could I use a rest? Employees are better able to forget the workplace once they leave the office.
3. Do I have a sense of duty to the employees to ensure the transition has a solid foundation?
Even though you're no longer the owner you may still care deeply about the business and wish to see it succeed.
Deciding to stay is not a 'forever' decision. Keeping active and earning while truly enjoying weekends and vacation can give you a rest while leaving your finger in the pulse to identify your next opportunity.
Me, I left. In one case I was too excited for the next thing. In the next, there was no place for me.
Arrange a call if you'd like to chat.
I was in this exact position several years ago...
Before I start, clearly I only have limited information to work from at this stage so I am making some assumptions, however hopefully this will help you develop your thoughts.
To my mind, this can be split into two distinct considerations.
1. Financial and business considerations
You mention that the potential buyer wants to keep you on with the business, would then still be interested in the purchase if you are not willing to stay? Would the offer the same price? If not, are there any other buyers that may be interested on terms that better suit you?
Every situation is different however many businesses - even large ones - are very reliant on their key owners and managers. Because of this they struggle to find a buyer, or buyers may want to pay less as they perceive a risk with a change in key personnel.
This is especially true if the business is a service business and/or the business has been build based on the drive and relationship of the key stakeholder(s) - i.e. you.
If that is the case then it may limit your options regarding a clean break immediately after sale.
2. Personal considerations
It's certainly right that your relationship with the business would be different after a sale, however whether that is something that you may be able to accommodate - or even like or prefer - is down to you.
Do you think you would get on with the new owners? Do you have a similar outlook and approach or is their style different?
If you do have new project(s) that you'd like to move on to then perhaps explore with the buyers if there's a middle ground. Could your time be split? Or could you be engaged on a consultancy basis? Perhaps a full-time handover would work on a temporary basis before reducing this down at an agreed point.
I hope this helps. Very happy to discuss your particular situation - and explain more about my experience - on a call if that would be helpful.
I have not been in your situation. I however am an entrepreneur on my second company, and I have had offers for talent acquisitions usually from contacts I know in the CTO and other offices at mid and large cap companies.
I think them most important thing in business is expectation setting. Both the hiring-employee and employed parties have a right to know exactly what they are going to get: otherwise it is dishonest and resentment will lead to defection (game theory reference) which is bad for everyone. If someone with holds information that if you were to have would result in you making a difference decision, this is a form of defection as they hope to gain more because of it. What usually happens however is that the party recipient of this defection in turn rationally defects once they find out (ripping the company off, making a problem internally, etc).
Thus, Transparent expectation setting is best for everyone.
I would make it clear not just what you want materially if hired, but what you want emotionally. I would have them put in writing things like:
1. you decide who is hired and fired on your team
2. Your chain of decision making command in writing, and that you have no obligation to answer to anyone but them... including not to HR... in writing.
Get what you want, and have it in writing.
Sincerely, Kevin Kane
Be like Pierre Omidyar (eBay founder). If the financial outcome of your acquisition makes your dreams come true, then by all means chose option A. Go and take care of yourself, your loved ones, and go and impact the world! Influence precedes impact.