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The Clean Exit: 7X Revenue, No Earn-Out

April 8, 2022 |  

About this episode


After graduating from business school, James Benham interned at one of the large accounting firms. Benham quickly realized corporate life was not for him. Instead, Benham started a business and lived on less money than he made as an intern for ten years.

After a decade-long slog and several failed product ideas, Benham stumbled on SmartBid, a software product designed for general contractors to solicit and manage bids from their trades.

SmartBid took off and in 2018, Benham accepted an offer of 7 times Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) in cash at closing. In this episode, you’ll discover how to:

  • Bootstrap your business without raising outside capital.
  • Minimize your downside when launching new products.
  • Create a steady flow of new leads through speaking engagements.
  • Avoid the temptation of exiting too early and figure out the ideal time to sell.
  • Decide when to share your list of deal killers with an acquirer.
  • Avoid an earn-out.
  • Keep your team after you sell your company.

Show Notes & Links

Dave Ramsay’s Financial Peace University

Company that acquired James’ company SmartBid

Harvesting Intangible Assets by Andrew Sherman

ISqFt software

Rob Nixon

Entrepreneur’s Organization

Entrepreneurial Operating System

James’ website



Confidential Information Memorandum (CIM): “A Confidential Information Memorandum (CIM) is a document used in mergers and acquisitions to convey important information about a business that’s for sale including its operations, financial statements, management team, and other data to a prospective buyer.”


Minimum Viable Product (MVP): “A minimum viable product (MVP) is a version of a product with just enough features to be usable by early customers who can then provide feedback for future product development.”


About Our Guest

James Benham

James started his journey as a tech entrepreneur in his Texas A&M dorm room in 2001 and has harnessed his passion for innovation to bootstrap multiple businesses to financial sustainability. James’ most successful bootstrapped exit occured in 2018 when he and his team sold their construction bid management software, SmartBid, in a groundbreaking deal with ConstructConnect.

James is a sought after consultant and speaker at the forefront of innovation in the insurance industry. His no-nonsense style and love for “geeking out” on technology has landed him keynote opportunities on over 400 conference stages in the last 15 years.

When James isn’t working hard on improving companies—his own or his clients’—he keeps himself busy as a Regent at Texas Southern University or with his many hobbies as a pilot, musician, Star Trek fan, tech gadget aficionado, and Lean Methodology “life hacker”.


Connect with James:
James’ website

Watch the interview

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