Back in January I decided to sell my baby, the local job board network AllCountyJobs.com. A company that I've grown and nurtured for almost 14 years. I had been thinking about selling it for the past few years but the Great Recession put an end to those dreams.
My sales dropped over 50% by 2009 from their highs in 2007. So I was stuck with nothing left to do but keep at it and try to bring them back to their 'glory days'. I was determined not to let the economy dictate my sales so I worked day and night to do just that.
By 2011 I had brought the business back to within 50k of its best year ever. And I did it in less than ideal economic conditions. When January 2012 rolled around I knew it was time. The country was creating jobs again, hiring was picking up.
I created a sell sheet that described the business/expenses/revenue and announced the sale on my blog. Then I waited for the phone to ring.
The calls came in rapid succession. I spoke with job board after job board and made my pitch. Then I started to get calls from non-job boards such as recruiters. They were also curious about the business. All wanted to know how I built a six figure revenue stream working just a few hours per day (from home).
But by mid February things had cooled off. I started following up with the original callers to see if they planned on making an offer. They either couldn't meet my asking price or tried to lowball me.
I began to feel like it wasnt going to happen.
Not being able to sell would have become a burden I think. I was ready to get out of the local job space and work on something bigger that would be nationwide. I just had to find a buyer. But alas, the calls stopped coming.
Then one day I got an email from someone who I thought wasn't interested. He (bidder #1) wanted to meet for coffee. We began to discuss what the deal would look like and kept in touch. He had to speak to his investor partners.
Two weeks later I happened to mention the sale to an existing client of mine (bidder #2). He was interested. So I sent him the info he requested and waited to hear back.
In the meantime I was also reaching out to my network looking for people to invest in a new idea I had called CareerCloud. I was able to get a meeting with a former client (bidder #3) who had sold his company a few years back and who now spent his time angel investing in the NY/CT region. During that meeting I told him the tale of how I had this very profitable business that I wanted to sell and start CareerCloud. A week or so later they made an offer to buy ACJ and invest in my new startup.
Suddenly things were looking up.
It was now late March and I had three offers to choose from. Each one was from very different people..angel investors, HR consultant and a Recruiter. I had to choose.
In the end I chose OperationsInc, the HR consultancy based in Stamford CT (view press release). They seemed to be the best fit and AllCountyJobs really complimented their existing product lines and geographical footprint. I signed the Letter of Intent and we moved forward on the deal which took another 2 months to complete.
This entire process was a massive learning experience for me. There were times when I was on cloud 9 and times where I got depressed. It was a roller coaster ride to say the least. But I did come away with some valuable lessons.
So thats my story.
And now its on to build the next company. I think it will be bigger and better than anything I've ever built.
Hopefully in another 3-5 years I'll be able to write another post just like this one.