7 Things You Didn’t Expect When Selling Your Software Company

Contribution by AceTech Ontario CEO Member Mark Miller of Volaris Group.

You have worked hard to grow and develop your software company. Perhaps your success has attracted some attention; or maybe you are feeling that it’s time to move on. One way or the other, selling is on your radar.

Of course, you’re ready for this next step.

But there are several things you probably didn’t expect – unforeseen factors that could affect you and the acquisition process.

1. Potential Buyers Generally do their Due Diligence

Initially, it felt like you were close to a deal. But the due diligence process is taking longer than anticipated.

Due diligence is more than just opening the company’s books – it’s about determining if your company is the right fit for the buyer. They will look at your operations, structure, and any legal considerations in addition to your financials.

Be prepared for a lengthy due diligence process.

People want certainty. It’s not uncommon for them to make a series of requests before feeling confident.

2. It Will Take a Lot of Hard Work – More Than You Expected

It has taken serious sacrifice –the building, planning, delivering results – to get to this point.

So now you can just sign the papers and relax, right? Not really. Selling the business involves hard work from both parties. Enter the process with this in mind and clear the decks for some serious work ahead.

Your emotional reaction may also come as a surprise. For so long you’ve thought about the end-game, you just assumed you would enjoy the process.

Go easy on yourself – it’s natural to have mixed emotions about giving up your work.

3. The Process Will Take Longer Than You Expect

The process usually begins with the initial discussions followed by the valuations, due diligence, further discussions, proposals, counter-proposals, financial review and payment schedules – all moving toward the final sale.

This process cannot be completed in a single phone call.

Be prepared to work through a lengthy process and continue delivering results along the way.

4. There Will be Fear in the Workplace

Don’t assume that just because you haven’t made a formal announcement, your employees don’t sense that something is happening. Employees can be highly skilled at detecting potential changes within their workplace.

Staff anxiety may hurt productivity or stir rumours that hurt your competitiveness. Always maintain a calming presence.

During this transition, your leadership is more important than ever.

5. You Can’t Take Your Eye Off the Ball

Your core business has been your key to growth, and continued performance has made people interested in your company.

Now that a sale is under discussion, that performance must continue.

A drop in performance could derail the entire process, so don’t get distracted by the negotiations.

6. Buyers Will Be Skeptical of Your Numbers

You have an idea of how your company should be valued, but your buyers may see things differently. That’s a natural part of business.

Don’t be discouraged by their skepticism. If your numbers are realistic and accurate, then the proper deal will present itself.

7. You May Have Seller’s Remorse

When the sale is done, you may feel a twinge of doubt. That’s normal.

It’s important to remember that the sale was your end-game all along.

When the opportunity presented, you were ready, and you made sure your company was properly valued.

It may be hard to give up control, but in time you will know that you did the right thing.

Your Turn

Are you preparing to sell your software company? Have you encountered challenges along the way that you didn’t anticipate? What lessons have you learned? Share your thoughts and questions in the comment section below, and don’t forget to share this post if you found it useful.

                                                                                                                                                                             

Mark Miller is the CEO of Volaris Group. He specializes in global vertical technology and has an interest in organic growth, talent management, sharing best practices, and building efficiency for the businesses he works with on a daily basis.

Volaris is a global company that has customers and staff all over the world providing mission critical software and hardware that helps run better businesses. To learn more about Volaris, visit our website at: http://www.volarisgroup.com/

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AceTech Ontario Annual Retreat

Picture3In one week, over 100 Ontario Technology CEOs and special guests will be gathered together for the hottest networking event in town.  Where is that you ask? Why, the AceTech Ontario Annual Retreat no less!

At AceTech Ontario, our goal is to facilitate Conversations that Create Value. Members are offered the exclusive opportunity to be among a community of leading professionals in their specific field of business.  Every year, members walk away from the retreat with tools and strategies that can be put into action in each member’s company the very next day. We make sure to tap into the expertise of CEOs that have had real successes and can share practical tips from the front lines with our members.

Picture5Every retreat is a total immersion into the core of how technology businesses work and how these core principals can be put to use in every AceTech Ontario member’s company. From advanced business concepts to everyday work problems, the Annual Retreat empowers the CEO from the next day back at work, and through the next several years of career success.

Want to get on the A-List for next year’s retreat and benefit from year-round programming?

Contact Jo Ann Dizy about membership opportunities.

This year’s Annual Retreat will take place at the beautiful JW Marriott Resort on Lake Rosseau.  Many of the speakers and other highlights are outlined below.  It will be another innovative, provocative and worthwhile agenda!

Picture4In addition to the formal programming, there is optional golf, a bike tour and guided paddle tour before check in. Our traditional Casino Night sponsored by Bedford Consulting is back again with fabulous prizes! Lastly, we are excited to share that we will be taking part in a dinner cruise & ski show!  These events will not only be a great deal of fun but will provide numerous opportunities to network with all our technology CEOs and discuss issues pertinent to your business.

Our event app, which was generously provided by our member company EventMobi, has an exciting new addition…gamification! Now attendees will  have the opportunity to have a friendly competition with their peers and a further opportunity to network and win prizes.  The grand gamification prize is a private 2 night getaway for 6 at an exclusive winery in Ontario.

“The Rules of Opportunity” Keynote with Michael Hyatt, BlueCat Networks Inc.

Michael HyattMichael Hyatt, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of BlueCat Networks Inc. and professional speaker with Speakers.ca and the National Speakers Bureau, “Dragon”, Next Gen Den | Entrepreneur and Technology Visionary.

Michael Hyatt is a serial entrepreneur, active investor and the Executive Chairman of Bluecat, one of Canada’s most successful software companies. Michael is a weekly business commentator on CBC’s The Exchange,  CBC’s Business Panel and a Dragon on CBC’s Dragons’ Den – Next Gen Den.  Michael is a Founding Partner at the Rotman School of Management Creative Destruction Lab and on the CEO Board of Advisors at Georgian Partners. He is also a finalist in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, a recipient of the Top 40 Under 40™ Award and chairs his family’s charitable foundation. Michael is an active speaker with Speakers Spotlight and the National Speakers Bureau.  Michael also co-founded Dyadem which was purchased by IHS (NYSE: IHS).

Keynote with Pierre Cléroux, BDC

Pierre Cléroux photoPierre Cléroux will deliver an informative presentation as he provides economic analyses and advice to our CEOs, while helping interpret economic trends and their impact on businesses.

Pierre Cléroux was appointed Vice President, Research and Chief Economist at the Business Development Bank of Canada in 2012. He is responsible for providing economic analyses and advice to the Senior Management Team, while helping interpret economic trends and their impact on businesses. His responsibilities also include all marketing and industry research activities.

 3 TECH TALKS on Strategic Change Leadership followed by a Panel Discussion on Strategies to Motivate and Manage During Change

Our businesses are constantly pivoting and our organizations are under stress to increase revenue, hire new staff, and deal with ever changing competition and a dynamic environment.  How do we deal with changes inside and outside our organizations?  How do we successfully  implement change?  And how do we best plan for change?  We want to lead into our Retreat by thinking about Growth and Change Management.

Robert Harris Mike Katchen Mark Miller Chris Rasmussen

Robert Harris
Robert Harris Resources Inc.

Mike Katchen
Wealth Simple
Mark Miller
Volaris Group
Chris Rasmussen
Doxim

3 TECH TALKS on Sales, Sales Tools & Social Selling followed by a Panel Discussion

We are privileged to have three experienced Sales Professionals speak on different aspects of Sales in the B2B space, and then they will come together for a moderated panel discussion with interaction from the audience.  Some topics will include:

  1. Interdependence between sales and marketing in B2B selling, both internally and in the broader B2B ecosystem
  2. Effectiveness:  How to turn around an under-performing sales team – how to manage for success, recruiting attracting and retaining high performing sales people
  3. Efficiency:  What tools are available to increase the efficiency of our sales?
  4. Social:  How do we take advantage of Social Selling?  Is it a time waster?  What are the drivers for success?
Andrew Ford Justin Lafayette Eric Shefler bob.jpg

Andrew Ford
Sales CoPilot

Justin Lafayette
Georgian Partners
 Eric Schefler
Oracle Corporation
 Bob Vaez
EventMobi

3 TECH TALKS on Marketing Automation, Social Leads and Branding, followed by a Panel Discussion

We are looking forward to our three short presentations and moderated panel discussion on Marketing with our exciting lineup of experienced speakers.  They will be talking about:

  1. Social lead nurturing
  2. How can we implement Marketing Automation?
  3. Win/Loss and Churn Analysis … getting the buyer’s candid review of why you lose, and how you can win more
  4. Branding and marketing of SaaS based B2B technology companies.  What do we need to know to be best in class?  How do you turn a good marketing campaign in to revenue?
Alan Armstrong Krista LaRiviere kristy sadler Lisa Shepherd
Alan Armstrong
Eigenworks Inc.
Krista LaRiviere
gShift Labs
Kristy Sadler
Docebo
Lisa Shepherd
The Mezzanine Group

Being a Leader:  The Ability to Allow Yourself to Learn Continuously

Mark Miller, CEO Volaris Group

Mark MillerMark will speak about one of the things he looks for in a leader: the ability to continue to learn. Businesses today are complicated – they can be global in nature, have consolidation going on – and needs are constantly changing. As well, customers are all expecting different things, including more interactivity with mobile application with their data or with your solutions.

All of these things are really complicated and figuring out how to navigate everything is a monumental task. It’s near impossible to figure it all out by yourself. You really need to learn from others. You need to read about different issues, connect online, find people and peers who are solving similar problems, and continue to learn. When a manager and a leader wants to learn, it sets a great example for everyone who works for them and anyone who works with them because that whole culture of learning gives the organization, whole team, and that company’s customers a real edge.

The ROI of Intentionally Building a Healthy and Happy Workplace Culture 

Jason Atkins, CEO 360Insights

jason atkinsJason Atkins will discuss the ROI of intentionally building a healthy and happy workplace culture. The talk will demonstrate the ROI in terms of:

  • Savings on candidate attraction/retention
  • Broader ROI metrics related to improved productivity, attendance and others
  • Effect of culture on client retention

How to Grow Through Acquisitions

Noam Tomczak, COO Iotum

noam tAcquisitions when done well can be an excellent way to grow both your top and bottom line. Success requires both careful planning and execution. Buying competitors can result in lower customer acquisition cost than your typical sales funnel. Additionally, margins in the target company can be vastly improved if you can integrate infrastructure and people successfully. Noam will share Iotum’s 2 year journey of growth through 4 acquisitions and lessons learned.

Aligning Your Sales Team and Your Buyers:  Driving a Sales Process to Scale Your Business

Dan Marcus, VP, Operational Excellence Intelex

daniel marcusAs your sales team grows it is imperative that you have tight processes in place not only to hit your growth numbers but so you can effectively analyze your sales KPIs, identify trends and ensure every deal and sales person has the best chance of winning. Daniel Marcus, a veteran at Intelex, will summarize the process of building a winning sales process that aligns the buyers and sellers journey with various tools, resource, job roles and KPIs.

Learn to Swim with the Sharks – Advice From Young CEO Devon Wright

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Devon Wright

From band shirts, to dress pants. From rugged instruments to a keyboard and mouse. This is Devon Wright — and his transition was unusually quick. Now 28 years old, Wright holds the title of youngest CEO at AceTech Ontario. He mans the fort at Turnstyle Solutions, a proximity marketing platform which is particularly used for mobile marketing.

Though he’s taken a walk off the stage, Wright sports hair long enough to tie-up and a beard grown beyond any kind of order. It’s safe to say he hasn’t changed his look, perhaps a testament to how quick his professional encore came about.

“For us, my co-founder and I, we started the company when we were still in our band,” said Wright. “We had a really hard time figuring out who was coming to the shows and who our fans were.”

“We wanted to profile who was at the show, and get information on the shows they go to, how long have they been a fan, those kind of things.”

This is how Turnstyle Solutions got its start, and Wright was just 25 years old at the time. With no experience at all in the tech world, he jumped in with both feet. It wasn’t until he landed that he saw that he was just a goldfish in a shark tank. This is how he survived. This is how he turned his simple idea into a reliable proximity marketing tool used by some of the biggest retailers in the country.

How to Swim Among the Technology Sharks

“I’m not a technical co-founder, so the first thing I did and the first thing I would always suggest is – even if you’re not going to be the CTO, still learn the basics around development. I did do that, I learned some coding and it was obviously terrible, but doing that helped me attract my partner, who is the co- technical guy. ”

“Even if you’re the ‘sell guy’, learn how to develop the product.”

“I relate starting something like this to waking up in the morning, it’s the first thing you do, but it’s the hardest thing to do. You sit in your bed and say ‘shit, I want to hit snooze, shit I want to sleep for 20 more minutes’, there’s a million reason not to get started. But if you can be disciplined and just start your day by making that first decision to just get up and go, everything comes a lot easier.”

Don’t Overthink and You Won’t Get Bit

“There’s too much thinking into market research. If you have a new idea that you want to get off the ground, you just have to have a need, you need to identify a problem that you yourself are familiar with.”

“The only research I we did is look at trends… like is Wi-Fi still going to be popular in ten years, is something going to disrupt it, etc.”

“Just make it and see what people say. Let people make fun of you and say it sucks, take all that feedback back and adjust.”

Know Your Scales and Be Proud of Them

“The lack of network and lack of experience is difficult. As a young CEO, you don’t know very much about anything, so it’s pretty tough.”

“It’s hard, you get a lot of people saying ‘no’, you always feel out-gunned. But you learn that doesn’t have to stop you. What’s going to win the day is awareness.”

“Seek advisors and bring your passion and energy and the commitment to work cheap and work hard on something you love and believe in. I think that’s the number one characteristic that’s going to get a team through the tough, early days.”