I am particularly grateful for Gleb’s post because he helped me address a year-long dilemma. Ever since I started No Funny Lawyers, I wanted to write about the ups and downs, ins and outs, of a business transaction as my client and I experienced it, but I could never quite figure out how to do it without undue risk to confidentiality and the interests of my client. Anyway, Gleb’s candid account of his experience will resonate better with you than my story-telling. At the end of the day, the lawyer’s experience is about his or her job; for the human-owned business owner, it’s about his or her life.
As you read the post, be sure to take in the five lessons of many learned in the sales process that Gleb chose to highlight in his blog. My favorite (aside from “Find great advisors”) is “Know your wants and walkaways up front:”
Unless you’re desperate, you probably do not just want to be acquired. What do you consider being fairly compensated for the company you have built? Do you want to stay and run the company or does everyone want to sell the technology and leave? Where will you be physically located? Will you be able to continue executing on your vision or will the technology simply be repurposed? What about your existing customers and partners? Figure out what is important to the team up front and write it down - it easier to stay true to it throughout the process and for the internal decisions to be less emotional.
I should point out that I have no connection with Backblaze or its failed deal, but I’ve seen other deals crash before, and as Gleb surmises, it is not as infrequent as one might think. Take advantage of his generous and public “That really sucks, but I wanted to know that you’re not alone…” to think about how you might approach your own transaction, including finding your own great advisors.
Thank again to Brian Gryth, a reader who has now given me two leads on stories to share here. For that I’m going to buy him lunch. Your tips are appreciated, too.