You want to become a millionaire before the age of 30, making the most out of your youthful days and living life to the fullest while still having the energy to jump off from an airplane? If you’re an entrepreneur and that’s your dream, then the concept you’re looking for is: exit strategy.
See, smart entrepreneurs don’t spend their whole life working on building a startup from the ground up and throwing in effort and time until it grows to become your life dedication. While that might have worked out well for some, it’s not always a favorable pathway to follow. If you’re in it for quick money in a sort time, you need to build a startup, grow it fast and scale it quick, then get it to be acquired by a big player for several millions… or Billions!
It’s like when someone asks you what’s your goal with your current venture, and they expect you to talk for 30 min explaining how you want it to change people’s lives, to revolutionize your industry or to become a legacy you will leave the world with. Snap out of that, when someone asks you what your goal is for your startup, the answer is easy and it fits in one word: acquired!
Now that’s easily said than done right. How do you execute a successful exit strategy, how do you get to fatten up your small business until it looks promising and appealing enough for the big guys to throw in the Benjamins and buy in? Let me walk you through that.
It sounds bad, and it probably is, but that’s life and you have to play dirty from time to time to get what you want. If you want your startup to get the right attention, it needs to be a winner, like a horse on a track racing its way to the top position. While there are rules that ban shooting horses with performance enhancement drugs, in the entrepreneurial world, that’s common practice. Investors are not your usual guy who looks for a 3 times or 5 times return on investment. They are on the lookout for the unicorns, the superstars that bring in that 100x or 1000x return, and if you have a startup that looks like a business on steroid, then you have their attention. In order to look healthy and rapidly expanding, you need to show a unique performance, meaning if you have a website, boost traffic to it by any means, if you have a product, make sure sales are going off the roof, even if you have to blackmail your neighborhood into buying your entire stock.
Some people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s true as well for startups. If you’re looking at being acquired, you shouldn’t wait for people to notice you, instead you should reach out to competitors and big companies, and pitch them yourself. You can imagine with the thousands of startups popping around all the time, it’s kinda hard to tell which ones are the lucky picks, so a little help from your end is more than welcome.
Brand Acquisition vs Talent Acquisition
When someone wants to acquire your startup, it was one of two: they either like the amazing company you are and want your product or service, or… or they like the people and want the human capital. When a company looks for talent to acquire, they can live with killing your startup as long as they retain you, or to be specific, retain your brain. Now as an entrepreneur, you need to realize what do you want to put on the table: are you looking at selling yourself or your company, because the first is a long-term commitment, the second is a one-shot money cashing. If you feel like you need a break, make sure you signal that you, as a person, are not for sale, but if you feel like you’re too close to your startup, or that you might become unemployed once your precious baby is sold, then make sure to offer yourself as part of the deal, stick around as CEO or board member and love off a continuous stream of income on top of your one-off big bonus.
Don’t get too attached
Launching a startup is like going into a relationship, it is great while you’re having it, but the break off can be disastrous if you’re too attached. Whenever you start a new venture, internalize the fact that it’s a one night stand, it’s just a quick a temporary thing you’re doing and planning on ditching for a small fortune in a couple of weeks, months or years. If you’re ready for the breakup in advance, it will make it a lot easier for you to know when it’s time to sell and call it a day instead of being emotionally blinded into sticking too much to your business and ultimately missing the perfect exit time window.
Now with these advices in mind, get out there, get your ass to launch a venture or two and then grow them enough to make a fortune by the age of 27. Having fun and being rich while young should not be seen as a luxury, it’s your right, then you better fight hard for it and be smart about making it happen!
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