In Dr. Coveys book, the idea behind Habit #2 was to self-discover and clarify our important character values and life goals. He encouraged us to be disciplined around the end vision and take the time to write down the ideal characteristics for each of our various roles and relationships in life. And while 25% of the readers may actually do it, most of us can nod and agree that having a clear idea about the endgame should drive our decisions, habits and behaviors.
What in the world does this have to do with selling your technology company?
Most first-time sellers I speak with believe the buyers primary issue will be around price. But candidly after looking across dozens of Corum Groups last 270 software deals, it turns out that most issues are actually around structure. And often buyer-seller deal structure gets thorny because of tactical decisions that were made by the seller while building the business. These seemingly harmless tactical decisions when aggregated around transaction time can cause severe buyer indigestion when rolled together.
As a tech company seller, I appreciated the guidance I got early from my advisors about building value vs. explaining why we were so valuable at transaction time. Companies that build value almost always have a coherent, reasonable strategy but predictably build the actual enterprise value through a series of day in, day out tactically sound actions. As a former seller and then later a tech company buyer, the only way I could cure my own buyer indigestion was a laser focus on protecting our company, de-risking the sale proposition and perhaps offering a deal structure that might not be the end that the seller had in mind.