Always get an investment banker involved in such deals. For a first-time entrepreneur especially, one doesn’t know what the structure will exactly be or what options are available. There are so many nuances that you would always want to get an investment banker involved. They take their fair share, and I feel it’s better to give their fair share rather than have zero percent of nothing
Here is my checklist:
- Get great counsel. You need advice (ideally before you decide to sell, but surely now) to help you with multiple aspects of the sale—legal, financial, T&Cs, special conditions like escrow/lock-in, etc., and process related.
- Align all stakeholders. You cannot discuss each step with all stakeholders. Between key employees who are aware and your board plus key investors, schedule a call to align them on key points plus establish guard rails so you can post periodically as opposed to having to discuss each item. Agree on negotiable and non-negotiable things to work with during deal negotiations.
- Create a small group of key employees who are aware and will help with the due diligence process. Make sure that complete confidentiality is maintained within the core group to avoid unwanted speculation and ensure smooth functioning of the company. Assign ownership of different due diligences like data room/tech, revenue and sale, HR, etc.
- Ensure all your data is populated in extreme detail to avoid time wastage due to incremental data requests.