Entrepreneurship is a twisted, turning, unpredictable path. We start a business, put our all into expansion, success, sustainability, profit…our lives vested in our ventures, our ventures dominating our lives. But as we build and grow, heads down and heart pumping, pushing further and further towards the goals in our minds, where does this take us?
Businesses, like babies require constant care. Endless hours, days, years – we just want them to succeed, we just want them to be happy. But what is success, why’s it so important? And, when’s time to let go.
The Uncertain Entrepreneur
By now many or most may be aware that I’m CONSIDERING selling Art of the Kickstart. Note the emphasis on considering, something any entrepreneur who has contemplated a sale can relate to. We’re never fully sure, that’s the beauty and curse and startups. Fickle founders constantly changing, pivoting, evolving…
Terms that hide the uncertainty of the entrepreneur, nothing more. And entrepreneurship is nothing if not uncertain: untested markets, marketing messages, founders…millions of decisions on a daily basis that impact every aspect of the business. But business is broad, what of other opportunities?
The ADD Entrepreneur
Most entrepreneurs, myself included have a touch of insanity – a crazy, insatiable ADD that constantly seeks new, creative and outlandish – we’re builders, not bosses. The prospect of growing and scaling an agency or corporation crushes the soul of the ideator, the Kickstarter, at least it does for me. Here partnerships, cofounders and possibly even acquisitions are invaluable – you’ve done the hard work, now money or massive scaling are in order.
But where does evolution occur? What’s the best way forward for a business, a career, an entrepreneur with no idea what they’re doing? Every day we’re bombarded, I’m bombarded, we’re all flooded with opportunities. Consulting offers, potential partnerships, new market expansions, joint ventures….It’s overwhelming. Cutting through the crap and finding the one thing, the driving force behind your business and personal success is vital.
And that might be scaling a startup, selling, or even starting anew, you never know. There’s no defined right or wrong, only your gut and a good old pros and cons chart to aide in your adventure.
The Pros and Cons of Selling a Business
The big payout
You’ve busted your butt building a business, reinvesting profits and delaying gratification – here’s your big payout. That’s your reward, money in the bank. Finally financial woes are over (at least for now) and your efforts are rewarded.
But, what if you waited longer? What if you worked harder? Could another month, quarter or even year catapult the profitability and exit potential of your business? When exactly is enough, enough – set your limits, the opportunities for improvement are endless.
Startup founders kill themselves to create success. Hundred hour weeks, constant concentration – these wear on the mind and body and are only sustainable for so long. Selling can mean freedom, living life…
But, what about the closing. Finding a buyer, paperwork, penning the agreement…this all takes time. Tons of time, sometimes. Are you willing to go through the efforts of a sale, is the payout worth it?
And what would that added effort do to the growth of your business? The devil’s advocate dies hard.
Ah yes, freedom! Feel it, experience it. Your first day off in years…now what? For many the ADD is already kicking in. You successfully sold the business and by day 2 you’re bored. Take a break or time to start anew?
Either way ridding yourself of a business opens a world of possibilities. Whether it’s a month mastering the art of surfing or a new software startup with VC potential, freeing your time and mind make anything possible.
But it hurts too. Your business is a part of you, what happens when that piece is gone, what takes its place?
Entrepreneurs are ego driven, at least a little. We take pride in our businesses, our successes – the fruits of our labor. And there is nothing wrong with that. Without accomplishment and personal satisfaction, what’s the point?
And an exit is the ultimate success. Selling to Apple, Nike or even a no-name venture firm is impressive. And recognition feels awesome! Who doesn’t want a next reunion knockout story or to casually mention an exit while negotiating a new deal.
Prestige is power, especially in the world of the entrepreneur.
Bigger pie, bigger impact
The scale and impact a business can have are directly proportional to its revenues, reach and marketing budget. For Art of the Kickstart and many others building mission driven businesses, our desire to help and change the world can often drive a decision to sell. As a solopreneur, our resources almost inevitably limit the scale and impact our ventures can create.
As a podcast, Art of the Kickstart’s helped thousands of crowdfunders launch successful Kickstarter, Indiegogo and assorted other projects. But what of truly transformational business change, impact on a greater and more profound scale? An example – acquisition by a elite crowdfunding platform. Imagine instantaneous, actionable, free content and courses provided to EVERY SINGLE campaign creator preparing to launch – the implications are enormous (hey Indiegogo, call me baby!).
And the analogy does not stop here. Health products hopping on Nike’s bandwagon, learning software selling to Hasbro, language lessons expanding into Rosetta Stone – the perfect partner amplifies everything a business stands for and boosts the quality of life of a bigger portion of the planet.
So keep this in mind when considering an exit. If it matters, really matters to you, and it’s all about making a difference, just maybe someone else is setup to exponentially increase the AWESOME.
…yes, pun intended.
In the nature of Art of the Kickstart, the crowdfunder community and the confusion we entrepreneurs face on a daily basis, I hope this brief look into company exits creates a new perspective for you and your own ventures. Here are some of my thoughts and feelings on the possible sale of Art of the Kickstart, hopefully twisted to help your business plans as well.
And if you’ve experienced a sale or are considering an exit, it would be great to hear from you. We’re all here to make it happen and it’s an unguided adventure we could all use a guide on now and again.
And of course if you’re legitimately interested and in a position to consider acquiring Art of the Kickstart, I’d love to chat.