Being an entrepreneur and starting your own business is a labour of love.

And it needs to be as it is all encompassing.

Any entrepreneur will tell you that it takes an enormous amount of work, passion, grit, resilience, time and dedication to start a business and to make it a success – and I can vouch for that in spades after I started The Healthy Mummy back in 2010 which I grew to a $20m+ turnover business.

But often there comes a time when the decision to sell your business – or to bring on investors happens- and it can be a huge amount of work which goes on top of running your business!

For me, I started thinking about getting investment into The Healthy Mummy back in 2017. And the reason was that when I had launched it in 2010, I had sold my house to fund my idea.

Then over the next 7 years I had invested all money I earned back into the business and had been renting – plus I had moved house 7 times – which was not fun – especially as I then had two small boys along for the ride.

So for me – buying my own home and having financial security for my family was a huge motivator. Plus I wanted to have help to take the business to a whole new level as I passionately believed (and still do today) that the business is an incredible health business that helps mums and families regain their health and body confidence – and I knew I that the business needed extra fire power and backing to take it to the next level.

It was at this point that I began talking to Deloitte and I told them I was serious and ready to start the process.

What I didn’t know was how much work was going to be involved, how full on the process was and what a rollercoaster it was going to be – and all the while I still had to run the business (aka having even less sleep than normal!).

I ended up selling half of the business in 2017 to a private equity group then in 2019 the process began again and I had to do it all over again and this time the process ended in a 100% sale in 2022 to a manufacturing company who I am very excited to see take the business to new heights and I will still be remaining on as a brand ambassador as I love the brand ethos so much.

So after doing 2 rounds of gaining investment and selling a business – what did I learn?

1. Work with a great company with a great reputation. I was lucky enough to work with Deloitte on both occasions and they were amazing. I was also lucky enough to have the amazing Kat McMaster running both processes with me. It was incredible to have someone I had a great rapport with, someone who was a mum and as an added bonus Kat used The Healthy Mummy products so she really understood what I had built. And most of all she was extremely skilled, experienced and talented in areas that I was not.

2. Before you go into anything think about what outcome you want. For me it was enough money to buy a house and I wanted to be able to take the business to the next level. Also think about do you want to sell some or all of the business? This is a BIG question. If you sell part or some of your business then it is very different to selling 100% of it. It is also really important to think about who you want to sell the business to? For example – do you want to sell to private equity who could invest a lot of money into the business and have expertise of growing similar business’s to yours. Or do you want to sell to a trade company who already has a business in the same space as yours and can consolidate and grow your business. Also think about do you want to stay involved in your brand and business – I LOVE The Healthy Mummy brand so this had always been important for me.

3. Make sure all your numbers are solid and you can back all of them up. This requires a LOT of work before you can go to market. The numbers buyers want to see include at least 3 years of financial accounts, sales data for at least 3 years, growth projections for at least 2 years and data supporting your business – for ecommerce business think website data, social data and marketing stats. You will need data to support every single thing you say.

4. Be prepared to do a LOT of presentations! Part of the process is presenting your business to a variety of potential buyers in a road show. This can range from private equity firms, trade buyers and private buyers. And you can be doing 3-4 presentations a day for 2 weeks – that’s a lot right! And you need to keep the same energy and passion in each one – so at the end of the day you will be absolutely exhausted!! 

5. Be prepared for people to scrutinise you and your business in all the presentations. Some people you present to will have read the Information Memorandum (a brief overview of your business before they agree to meet you) and some don’t read it at all (or they read it whilst you are presenting) so you need to be prepared for all kinds of questions thrown at you and most people don’t beat around the bush and can be harsh.

6. Be prepared for the sale process being male dominated. I was shocked at how 99% of people I presented to and dealt with were male and how male dominated the private equity space was. And when I did finally present to a female it was a much welcomed surprise. I remember one of the presentations I did (to a room full of older guys) was quite bizarre as they couldn’t believe we had a team of all women at The Healthy Mummy and questioned if we talked about ironing in the office.  I should also say that there were lots of wonderful men I presented to as well – I was just surprised at how male dominated the space was.

7. Be prepared to work around the clock. As when your day of presenting ends you then have to get back to the endless emails and questions that come with running your business – plus if you have kids and a family you need to still look after them too.

8. Once your presentations have ended – don’t think that is it! Then even more work begins. And that is called the due diligence part. This can last for weeks or even months and can be very draining as the potential buyer needs to investigate every part of your business and this means LOTS of due diligence and data to back absolutely everything up.

9. Don’t count your chickens! A potential buyer can give you all the right signs, they can do all due diligence, they can even spend large amounts on legal fees and share sale agreements and still back out at the last minute which can be very very hard and frustrating – as well as cost you a lot of money.

10. And finally make sure you have excellent lawyers to draft share sell agreements and contracts as the devil is in the detail and although things may be peachy when you sign on the dotted line, it is really important to protect yourself in the future if relations don’t go well or things change in the future with the business.

It can be so rewarding to build a successful business that some else wants to buy and believes in. And it is so exciting to be able to sell to the right buyer or parter who can take your business to the next level –  just be prepared for a lot of work to get there and lots of ups and downs along the way!

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