I was recently asked by a CEO, what are the 5 things to consider when growing a startup to prep for a buyout exit strategy. My first thought was, only 5? But the question forced me to focus. Here is my answer:
1) Recruit the right team. A quality team will execute well, and will be attractive to buyers.
2) Be very thorough in documenting and protecting your IP. A $10 million acquisition could cost the acquirer a billion if they run into an IP battle.
3) Get out into the ecosystem and network, network, network.
4) Form mutually respectful, high-quality relationships in the industry.
5) Don't borrow against the future with your customer contracts, and don't get locked into exclusivity, rights of first refusal, and requirements for customer approval to transfer contracts on change of ownership.