Preparing for an acquisition is crucial, but years aren’t always necessary
The saying that it's all about who you know, holds true when it comes to an acquisition strategy. For example, prime the business for growth. Prospective buyers will want to know that the company has the ability to properly evolve with time and continue to cater to customer needs, regardless of the industry it is in.
Furthermore, if an exit strategy is at all part of an entrepreneur's game plan, it is important to build a business that is designed to attract specific buyers. Think ahead a few years and try to picture what the most powerful companies in the industry will be looking for.
"Give potential buyers the opportunity to know you – even years before you intend to sell – to understand who you are as a person and to understand your business," said a contribution piece in Forbes. "It makes them more likely to think of you first when they decide to acquire. In the process, you'll get to know them and will better understand their objectives and business needs."
However, acquisition companies can still find favor with smaller companies if the owner did not create an organization with the intention to sell. Brian White and Brian Hankin created (r)evolution, an innovation firm, and recently decided to sell it to a larger firm called Prophet. The duo explained to business blog Inc. that they went nine years heading a successful company before deciding that they had something of value that other enterprises might be interested in.
White and Hankin said that Prophet fit with their company's platform and values. By having a comprehensive business valuation method as well though, they said that it was much easier to find firms with a scalable model to see what would match up well.