My company is being courted. Should we sell while we’re hot?

Editor’s Notice: Every week Maynard Webb, former CEO of LiveOps and the previous COO of eBay, provides candid, sensible, and typically stunning recommendation to entrepreneurs and founders. To submit a query, write to Webb at

Q. My quickly rising company caught the eyes of a much bigger company. We’ve been approached to see if we’re open to being acquired. Should we contemplate this?

—Founding father of a breakout company


Expensive Founder,

It’s query. You’ve a breakout. Now what do you do?

The reply: It relies upon. Should you love what you do and there’s traction and a transparent path forward, the company will in all probability develop into extra precious than it is right this moment. Should you see that it is going to be stronger sooner or later, you is perhaps promoting too early.

My sense is that for those who’ve made it to breakout-land and have pleased clients who like your merchandise or service, you’ll in all probability be stronger staying by yourself—so long as you learn to scale. The excellent news is that this drawback has been solved far more occasions than attending to relevance, which is a a lot tougher drawback that you just’ve already tackled.

You recognize your company higher than anybody, together with any acquirer. Simply as you’ve extra conviction and hope, you might also be extra pessimistic as a result of you understand the struggles and ache factors. Use that information to assist information you. Promoting is smart if you’re in a market that may not be round eternally, or if the acquirer has the power to speed up your imaginative and prescient. The query you must ask your self is whether or not combining forces will assist you go additional quicker than you would by yourself. An acquisition by the fitting company can put the whole lot on steroids. But additionally know that typically acquisitions kill off what’s particular about what you do. 

At this level it additionally is smart to do some soul looking in your motivation. What would you like? Should you want to trip it out, and personal it, and lead it, operating it is perhaps the fitting factor (so long as you might be satisfied that it’s going to preserve getting higher). If what you actually care about is that the world will get the concept or service, being acquired might be the fitting factor. I’m suggesting introspection, however then I’d such as you to let go of the private and do what is greatest for the company. That is how you’ll make the fitting determination.

It’s best to have fun that you’ve taken the company to this stage the place there are folks desirous about buying it—that’s success. This is not a dilemma; this is a tremendous alternative that may assist you decide what it’s essential to do to get your company to the subsequent degree.