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How do you sell a smaller company?

Larger companies have VC, investment bankers, brokers, etc to help them garner interest in a possible acquisition. For smaller companies that rely heavily on word of mouth, what's the best way to get the word out that you're interested in selling?

12 Replies

Kristin Pierce Fitch
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Kristin Pierce Fitch Entrepreneur
Co-Founder ZiggityZoom Media-Online & Mobile Ed Tech- Content & Games- Business Educator & Mentor, Author, Speaker
Stella, are you referring to an online company? If so, there are sites that sell sites for you and allow buyers to find your site. The site also lists other sites for sale, and their stats so it is also a great place to get data on other sites. Latonas.com is one of the sites that lists and sells websites.
Ian Saunders
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Ian Saunders Entrepreneur • Advisor
Experienced entrepreneurial tech and digital media veteran. Director/Investor at CryoAction
It depends on the smaller companies' sector but in my experience, I wouldn't rule out the smaller investment firms as they are quite often scouting on behalf of larger business who have a skills or tech gap to fill.

Sometimes a carefully placed word with any large clients could be a good route also.
Matthew Barmash
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Matthew Barmash Advisor
Consultant, MEB Consulting
Stella, There are a couple of methods that I have see used over the years, some with greater success than others. For starters, there are folks out there who act as Rep's for bartering a sale. Their cut is smaller than a small banker firm but they also offer little value. Depending on the Enterprise Value of the business there are smaller bankers as well who will take upwards of 12%. All that being said, the best way is to look through your partnerships and make them valuable to the operating companies you are working with. At that point, a lawyer can make the inquiry, although it is always best to assume that the larger company already knows and if they are good, has already considered the option. Of course there is word of mouth as well but in the end, all the options are relatively similar in that you need to determine both your value, your hold value and your unique value. Nothing stops you from sending a pitch book off to companies you think might be interested. My last thought is to consider how much you want to sell and for what reasons. That will help you determine your timeline and best strategy. Best of luck. matthew
Stephen Huson
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Stephen Huson Entrepreneur
Leader in Internet lead generation, SEM / PPC / SEO and analytics
It really depends on the business and the value. There are definitely M&A focused investment banker/advisor people that are very good at this, but probably work mostly on businesses with value over $1 million. I can refer you to someone in that business that I trust if you are interested and it's a fit. Feel free to message me directly if you are interested in that referral.
Brian Hult
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Brian Hult Entrepreneur
New Product Development Chemist, Entrepreneur & Board Member
Bizbuysell.com is a good website to look at, there are a lot of other firms that deal with M&A. CPA's might be a good resource as well.
Jessica Alter
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Jessica Alter Entrepreneur • Advisor
Entrepreneur & Advisor
If you think you have tech or a talent play you should reach out to exitround.com this is what they do.
Joshua J. Scott
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Joshua J. Scott Entrepreneur
Product Manager at CyberSponse, Inc.
Lot of great advice here. I'm assuming this may not be a web-based business, but Flippais an easy way to sell a web-based business.
Brian Ross
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Brian Ross Entrepreneur • Advisor
Engineering Lead at Haven, Inc.
I can introduce you to a colleague of mine who brokers these kinds of deals for a living ($100k and up). PM me if you're interested.
VS Joshi
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VS Joshi Entrepreneur
Founder of Mobile Startup in Social & IoT space - TrintMe
Brian Ross, and stephen husom,
Can you please send your contact details. will be very helpful.
My email address is [removed to protect privacy]
Barbara Kelso
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Barbara Kelso Advisor
Strategic Development, Social Entrepreneur
I work with a Business Broker who does works with smaller companies. He can help you properly valuate your company and find the right match for your particular company. If you have an interest learning more, please let me know. Good luck!
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