How do you find a buyer for a hardware company?

I want to get the hell out of running this business. It makes $15K a month but holds $500K in debt. The brand is strong and drives traffic and the space is getting popular so bigger companies might be interested. Where are the basic calcs I need to run and where do I go to learn the ropes on selling a company? 

  • Frankly, I don’t think your business is worth much. You’ve got too much debt. I take it you’re not growing quickly, otherwise you wouldn’t want to get out. So I would take pretty much any offer, even an insultingly low one. Then you’re out and you can try something else.

  • Are you able to speak to any of your competitors (go direct to owners/CEO)? Even your customers could be buyers but you’d want to approach any conversation with sensitivity as it may cause customers to panic and move elsewhere.

    Search for a M&A broker or have a trusted friend/advisor confidentially approach potential buyers (without revealing the company), sign an NDA with companies that show interest and take it from there.

    If you want to maximise the sale price (which you should always do as it costs you very little) you need to be clear on the non-financial benefits of why a buyer might buy you – the buyers job will be to think of all negative reasons thus helping them to drive down the price.

    If you’re really desperate to get out, then consider some kind of equity only deal where you receive no cash but retain some shares (or get shares in the buyers company), that way the buyer takes on less risk and you only gain if the company does well in the future.

    One thing to remember is that it can take many months (sometimes even years) to sell a business. The best thing to do is keep running your business (as if you weren’t selling) until a sale contract is signed.

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