When prospective buyers visit your office
Imagine this scenario: The company you founded has begun negotiations with a larger corporation that has an interest in acquiring your startup. After a series of phone calls and meetings, you determine a date when leadership from the corporation can visit your office to meet your team and see where the innovation happens. This "informal walk-through" will be an illuminating experience where decision makers across the table can witness your corporate culture, expertise and professionalism up close and personal.
It's a scene that could go comically awry in a movie. Just as showtime nears, your small shop proves it's not ready for primetime. Employees roll into the office late and disheveled, none of the presentation technology works and your well-rehearsed elevator pitch escapes you at the last minute. Mergers and acquisitions are full of moments that seem like defining turning points in the negotiation process, when you can either win over or put off your potential buyer.
It's important not to place too much emphasis on these moments that seem critical, and to remember that interested companies will view your startup as a complete package. That means looking at its achievements as well as its potential and room for growth. However, you should still approach these big opportunities with adequate preparation.
- Stay authentic to what your company is. "Be yourself" is a platitude that's been used so much that it's practically lost its meaning. It can still be valuable to startups with M&A goals. If your corporate culture is casual and dressed-down, don't ask your employees to show up in suits and ties when top brass from a potential buyer are visiting. A truly compatible buyer should get excited about your operation for what it is, not what it isn't.
- Get ahead of the walk-through. In tech, many companies pride themselves on office culture. One of the ways some startups demonstrate this is by emphasizing the business environment in their web presence. Time-lapse photography of a day at work, interviews with key team members and even earned media that explores what makes your company different can allow you to control the image your business presents to the outside. This can help set expectations for companies with an interest in M&A.
- Don't sweat the little glitches. If you're hoping to be acquired by a tech giant like Google or Microsoft, a faulty projector in your conference room isn't the thing that will ruin the deal. They're not judging your company at face value but by the potential for growth as an asset within the corporation.
- But still bring your A game. No company is perfect and mistakes happen, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't prepare a captivating pitch for why your company is right to buy. You can still greet visitors to your office with bells on and ask your employees to prep accordingly. One meeting might not make or break your M&A prospects but it can still add value to the negotiating process.
With the guidance of an experienced M&A advisor, your tech company can pursue, negotiate and sign a lucrative and satisfying merger or acquisition deal. Contact us today to learn more about how an advisor can help achieve growth objectives in the tech industry.