It’s never too early to think about your exit from the business.
Even if the business doesn’t earn enough revenue for you to do it full time, you can take steps now to execute a profitable sale down the road. Alexis Grant, founder and CEO of They Got Acquired, and Thomas Smale, founder and CEO of FE International, shared some exit strategy tips at the Creator Economy Expo.
“Even if you didn’t want to sell and you did all these things, you’d be running a great business,” Alexis says.
Here are five things you can do now that will help your content business, no matter your plans to sell.
1. Increase revenue (and profit): Money is the biggest lever to pull to increase your business’ value. Review your existing and potential revenue streams. What can you sell that produces the biggest profit? Alexis says profit is what buyers want to see because they want to buy something that will boost their cash flow.
Explore how to minimize expenses. Content entrepreneurs are good at this because you likely started without a lot of investments (or none at all.) Just make sure to keep that lean-operations mindset as you grow the business.
Resource: Revenue-related advice from The Tilt
2. Tidy your house: Just as you clean up your home when company is coming, clean up your business to make the best impression on potential buyers. Work with a bookkeeper or accountant who can help keep your books clean and organized. It can help you enter the sale process with accurate expectations and avoid price reductions during due diligence.
Ensure you execute contracts with all parties involved in your business. Having the business arrangement in writing is a must – otherwise, buyers don’t know what they’re legally getting when they acquire your business. In the creator world, content rights are an important factor in the consideration.
3. Set up the business to run without you: What tasks can you delegate? Even if you can’t yet afford to hire someone to do them, think about what they would be. Then, you know what you’ll do when you hit that next revenue goal.
Get clear on your role. Most founders work on multiple aspects of the business. Buyers will want to know what you do so they can understand how they would replace you and how much it can cost them.
Alexis also reminds entrepreneurs to be mindful of personal branding. Building a business publicly around you can make it harder to sell.
4. Document your processes: Can someone else follow your instructions and run the business without you? If not – even if there is no one else to follow them right now – start writing down your standard operating procedures. Include links and relevant passwords to all the tools and sites you use.
Consider using a video tool like Loom to record your screen as you execute a task. Seeing what you do can be helpful for others who may be asked to complete the task.
Resource: A Guide To Plan Your Business Operations
5. Develop relationships: Connect with and get to know the potential strategic acquirers of your business. You can get them in your ecosystem without ever mentioning the sale. These potential buyers can often bring value to your business – and you can do the same for theirs – even if you never enter into a sale.
Resource: Build a Community Marketing Strategy
About the author
Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. An IABC Communicator of the Year and founder of G Force Communication, Ann coaches and trains professionals in all things content. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.