Dear SaaStr: What Do Founders Need to Know to Navigate a Merger/Acquisition?

My #1 tip: Get Zen.

Once you sell it, it is not yours anymore.

And both your upside and your downside are now capped. You can no longer fail or run out of money, but really, you can no longer win in the same ways, either. You now have a much, much narrower role than you did before the deal, in most cases. Even if they tell you nothing has really changed.

You may still have an important role, but the ultimate decisions are not yours. You will have a boss. The product will evolve in different ways than you’d planned, or even, hoped.

For most of us, especially if the acquisition is after years of doing it “our way” — that can be very frustrating.

So the advice I give founders now is:

  • Get Zen.
  • Plan to stay for 24 Months. Even if you stay less, at least mentally plan for it. This will de-stress your life. And you likely will have strong economic incentives to stay at least that long.
  • Get your arms around what they care about. And try to help more there.
  • Don’t take it personally; and
  • Try to find your replacement when it’s time to go. If you find the person to replace you, odds are much higher your business thrives when, after you Get Zen and Stay 24 Months … someone else runs it.

A bit more here: My 4 Year Anniversary. Thoughts on Selling Your Company. | SaaStr

And a great recent SaaStr deep dive on so many details here with Google’s ex-director of M&A:

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