A business that can visualize their future is a business that is far more flexible and likely to spot opportunities that will allow them to succeed. Whether you own a startup business or an established business, it is important to set out with a plan that will make your business as valuable as possible for potential acquirers in the future.
When planning for your business, one of the things you should visualize is a shortlist of potential acquirers, especially when you are making key decisions. This is a good way to vet your next move, before taking action.
Take David Perry for example; Perry started his video game company, Gaikai, and began to fill a dartboard in his office with the names of companies he thought would want to buy his startup one day.
He had no revenue and no employees, yet he had already begun to think about potential acquirers. This type of thinking is something Perry has referred to as “down-to-the-track thinking.”
In the middle of his dartboard of companies to sell to was Sony. Perry’s Partner had suggested the name Gaikai due to the Japanese meaning of “open sea”. Perry agreed that the word would be hard for English speakers to pronounce but would be irresistible to Sony.
To further this idea, Perry and his partners named other parts of their product line with Japanese words and had designed the company for the global gaming market and not just American customers.
Years later, Perry began approaching big video game makers about buying his company. Out of all those companies, Sony was the most enthusiastic about the extent that him and his partners had gone to make Gaikai fit Sony’s culture.
In a recent interview with Perry about Sony’s $380 million acquisition of Gaikai, he described his philosophy by using a moving train as an analogy. He described a train full of people representing an industry. Most people are comfortably inside the train watching the countryside go by. There are some people scrambling behind the train, hoping to jump on. Then there are a select few people who are obsessing over where the train is going and are constantly thinking about the upcoming stops along their journey.
Perry described himself as the passenger only thinking about where the train would go next. Even before his business had taken off, he already had that list of potential acquirers.
Whether you are looking to sell or not, developing a shortlist of potential acquirers tomorrow will help you make better decisions today.