Jay Steinfeld started selling blinds online in 1993. The e-commerce pioneer went on to build Blinds.com into a $100 million category killer before Home Depot decided enough was enough and made Steinfeld an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Nashville-based Bryan Clayton was running Peachtree, a landscaping business, when the financial crisis of 2008 hit hard. Customers stopped spending money overnight. Clayton gathered his employees together and told them the world had changed and asked each to re-commit to the company. Clayton told them that the road ahead would be challenging, but he would do everything in his power not to cut staff.
From the acquirer to the seller, Ross Buhrdorf bought more than 25 companies at HomeAway, then sold his business to Expedia for a whopping $3.9 billion. Now, he’s sharing his secrets – from both sides.
Tom Pisello built Alinean, a consulting company which offered a set of tools to help salespeople express the value of picking their solution. The business was cruising with about half of its revenue coming from recurring licensing fees and the other half from consulting when disaster struck the Pisello’s family.
Jim Beach sold American Computer Experience for $200 million, which sounds like a fantastic exit, but when I asked Beach if he had any regrets I was surprised by how long a list of lessons he had to share.