Managing an Exit - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
This week on the podcast, Mike & Mike tackle the question of a startup exit or merger from the perspective of the employee within the organization, to the founder/leadership team, to the company who is making the acquisition.
Acquisitions & exits are tough, they become more complex as more information is shared, especially if too much of the wrong information is shared or gaps are left in the information. It is a delicate balance and a difficult dance.
We hope you enjoy the discussion, and look forward to your feedback on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
- What are some of the things you should not take for granted during an exit?
- What about timing, and the way organizations handle setting expectations on the amount of time the acquisition should take.
- How does managing an exit correlate with a sales process?
- How do you avoid losing key people?
- Let's say you are the company who is making the acquisition - how do you determine what to do with the technology?
- What are some considerations that we should keep in mind from an employee perspective, founder perspective, and acquiring company perspective?
- Cultural differences and mindset that is different between an early stage company, and one who may be more established, and is leading the acquisition.
- Communication & setting expectations are important, from both sides of the equation.
- Transparency can be dangerous. If you are a small company, managing resources directly, too much information, shared too soon, can put an organization in a psychological holding pattern.
- Transparency can lead to uncertainty and can be a momentum buster.
- Anne Wolfe - Some of this information needs to be held as state secrets.
- If the performance of the company starts to suffer due to uncertainty, it can have a negative impact on customers & the organization.
- Understand the culture inside the organization, keep this in mind when considering communication.
- When it comes to timing, figure that it will take longer than initially anticipated.
- Always remember, you still have a business to run.
- Consider the worst case scenario - what happens if the acquisition does not take place? Be prepared to adjust, and keep operating the company.
- When managing pipeline, you usually have multiple opportunities in play to help mitigate risk.
- When managing an acquisition, as you get further down the process your risk increases if you lose focus, and the deal falls apart.
- Be careful about over-communication, this can lead to speculation, and you may lose key people as a result of uncertainty.
- People will make up the story.
- The transition from you are "on a mission" to you are "in a role" can create significant conflict and risk.
- Be careful about taking the parts away from the golden goose, you may no longer have a goose.
- From the enterprise perspective, remember to take a holistic approach to integration.
- An integration strategy requires multiple perspectives.
- Do your job, deliver on your role, minimize distractions.
- Don't forget about your customers & your employees
- Minimize assumptions, and leverage the collective intelligence of the organization to minimize the impact of blindspots.
Call to Action
- Share your personal experience with acquisitions either from the perspective of being the founder, an employee, or the acquiring company?
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