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How to Elevate Your BATNA

This week in Built to Sell News, we’re covering:

  • Understanding your acquirer’s BATNA (listen now)
  • a Foxy BATNA
  • a tool designed to give you the ultimate BATNA
  • How to approach an acquirer on LinkedIn 
  • The delicious trophy you can nab for $78
  • Why a call from Apple corporate development may be the kiss of death

🤝 Understanding Your Acquirer’s BATNA

If you don’t have to sell your business, you are in a better negotiating position. However, have you ever considered that an acquirer may also have a BATNA?

A BATNA, or Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement, is a plan B if a negotiation to sell your business falls through. While it’s essential for you to have a BATNA when putting your company up for sale, it’s equally important to understand your potential acquirer’s BATNA.

John wrote about BATNAs on page 177 of The Art of Selling Your Business. Grab a free copy here.

🦊 A Foxy BATNA

For example, this week on Built to Sell Radio, John interviewed Susanne Klepsch, the founder of scheduling software Meetfox.

As a competitor to Calendly, Meetfox attracted 25,000 users before Klepsch decided to sell. John asked Klepsch how long it would take a team of engineers, fuelled with copious amounts of coffee, to replicate what Meetfox had built. Klepsch estimated that a competitive product could be developed in six months. When Klepsch began talking to acquirers, she knew their BATNA was to create a Meetfox replica.

Once you understand your acquirer’s BATNA, you can start to devise countermeasures to weaken their negotiating position. In Klepsch’s case, she knew a potential acquirer could copy the underlying code she had built, but there were other aspects of her business that couldn’t be easily duplicated. Klepsch had a user base of 25,000, and it would take years for a competitor to amass such a large group of customers. She also nurtured reviews for her product, which would take time for a competitive product to attract. Additionally, she created content and backlinks that gave her website domain authority on topics like remote work, ensuring Meetfox appeared in organic search results for people looking for a scheduling software.

Most importantly, when she went to sell Meetfox, Klepsch reached out to more than one hundred potential acquirers, held dozens of exploratory meetings, and received several offers, giving her multiple options. Knowing there were other suitors at the table meant that any acquirer needed to consider the risk of letting their competitor acquire Meetfox. In the end, Klepsch had multiple offers, with the best one coming from the all-in-one marketing software Sendinblue, which acquired Meetfox in March of last year.

📽️ Clip-of-the-Week

To ensure she had a BATNA, Klepsch reached out to more than 100 potential acquirers. Here’s a clip describing how a subtle change to her LinkedIn message boosted her Linkedin response rates considerably.

🛠️ Tools

Your best BATNA is a business that can run without you, so we’ve developed VidGuide. VidGuide makes your SOPs impossible for your employees to ignore because they automatically pop up in the software they use every day. Grab a free trial.

🏆 The Trophy: How to Commemorate Your Win

After selling Meetfox, Klepsch treated her husband to a fancy dinner at the Michelin-star restaurant Le Coucou in New York, where the filet de boeuf will set you back a cool $78. She shares the story at the 1:00:37 mark of the episode.

  📣 Quote of the Week

“When Apple takes interest in a company, it’s the kiss of death.”

–  Joe Kiani, Masimo’s founder, described Apple’s BATNA during acquisition talks is to compete with the entrepreneur’s business if negotiations fail. 

📈 Recent Deals

  • Casper Sleep, a mattress company backed by Durational Capital Management, has agreed to sell its Canadian assets to Sleep Country Canada Holdings for $20.6 million.
  • Parler, a social media platform, has been acquired by Starboard for an undisclosed sum.
  • Anne Mahlum, the founder of fitness studio chain Solidcore, has sold her shares in the company to investment firm Kohlberg & Co.

We look for exceptional entrepreneurs to highlight on Built to Sell Radio, and we’d appreciate your support in identifying them. To propose a founder for the show, please follow this link.

(Was this newsletter forwarded to you? Sign up here.)

Colin Morgan, Executive Producer of Built to Sell Radio

John Warrillow, Host of Built to Sell Radio

Daphne Parsekian, Copy Editor

Denis Labataglia, Audio Engineer

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