I recently enjoyed an exit that a younger version of myself could have hardly even dreamed of – I sold a company that I self-funded for more than a billion dollars.
This unicorn company, Byte, went from inception to sale in less than four years.
Some mornings, I still wake up with Byte to-dos on my mind, momentarily forgetting that it is out of my hands.
As I reflect on the experience, I realize that there are a few things I wish I had known before I began the process.
If you plan on starting and selling a company, there are a few things it would advantageous for you to know.
Here are the three things I wish I had known before selling my company
A ten-figure sale is possible.
When I set out to start Byte, I knew that the idea was a good one. Invisalign patents had recently expired, opening up the invisible aligner space to competitors for the first time.
Plus, the at-home model was growing in popularity (even before 2020), and I knew the market was desperate for an affordable orthodontic solution. What I didn’t know was that the company would absolutely explode the way it did. The marketplace immediately loved us.
Our product was fantastic, but it was our brand values that really bred loyalty within our target market. We launched the company with a philanthropic arm, and we did everything we could to support our local community and our nationwide customer base during the pandemic.
As a result, consumers felt good about buying our product, so that is what they did. I learned the valuable lesson that so long as your business model is strong (I made sure that the company made money on every single unit sold, starting with unit #1), you can do right by your community and still be successful.
I will not doubt myself with my next endeavor, because now I know that business savvy and philanthropic beliefs can yield incredible results.
The team cares about the company as much (if not more) than I do.
I have heard many business founders say that no one can ever care about their companies as much as they do. I can now say that that is unequivocally false.
In fact, I now think that founders who say that are protecting their own ego from the discovery that their creation can successfully manage without them.
The team I worked with at Byte believed in the company’s vision just as strongly as I did. They connected with the plight of our customers, celebrated our innovative offering, and enthusiastically promoted our brand. I made it a point to hire passionate and forward-thinking people, and they still blew me away with their dedication, creative thinking, and grit.
When I walked away from Byte post-sale, I walked away confidently knowing that the company I had built was in incredibly capable and caring hands.
People only see your victories, never your hard work.
Since the Byte sale, I have enjoyed quite a bit of press coverage. People are quick to celebrate the victory, call me lucky, and mark the accomplishment as an impossibility for most people. What they fail to report on are the sleepless nights, the giant investment (that could have turned out very, very differently), and the 10 thousand tough decisions that had to be made along the way. A career as an entrepreneur isn’t for the faint of heart, but in the halo of victory, everyone assumes that the path was clear the entire time, and that cannot be farther from the truth.