Chris Shipferling is the Managing Partner at Global Wired Advisors, who help eCommerce business owners sell up. With over 1,000 transactions under their belts they know what they’re talking about!
Chris started his career 17 years ago in an entry level sales and marketing gig. He worked his way up and helped grow that first company to 22 Million dollars and left that position as a sales and marketing director.
This was in 2008, and Chris says he remembers living through the shift of brick and mortar to eCommerce. He continued on the path, shifting focus more aggressively towards eCommerce and wholesaling online. He began getting interested in seller central on Amazon decided to dig into his career and understand more fully digital D2C.
He intentionally dug his heels in and learned everything he could about digital marketing and seller central on Amazon. At this point Chris became a full time consultant to enterprise level businesses. A couple of years ago, he met some people in investment banking who would become his partners at global wired advisors
A Gap in the Market
For digital companies who have grown multi million dollar businesses, there are relatively few choices for a successful exit. Chris says that middle market investors won’t consider anything below $75 million in revenue so the only choice becomes business brokers.
This huge gap in the market was the perfect opportunity for the partners who now offer an alternative to brokers. Furthermore, their investment banking background gives them a collective edge over typical buy/sell brokerages.
Top Tips for Getting Ready to Sell
- Start thinking about it 18-24 months before you want to have a successful sale. That timeline gives everyone the opportunity to make sure the business is structured in a way that will allow for a clean exit.
- Articulate your goals and see how they line up with financial metrics.
- Get your books in order. Chris says that a lot of great product development minds aren’t great at accounting.
Not the pretty pastel treats we hide for the kids, but rather unpleasant and easily avoidable surprises that can take a business deal from boom to doom.
Often when a business goes to market too fast mistakes are found in the books—there might be legal issues like ip, trademark problems etc. Unfortunately these kinds of discoveries make buyers withdraw and usually retrade the business. Getting a professional broker to comb through the numbers and structure can save millions of dollars.
Rearview vs. Opportunity
Chris says that you always want your buyer to ideally buy for the future revenue of the business but the opposite is usually true. Pivoting the business from a rearview perspective to an opportunistic perspective—that passes a sniff test—creates the opportunity for sellers to maximize their profits in the millions.
Chris says that working with investment bankers makes a huge difference and it becomes immediately clear that everyone involved knows the business inside and out and can back up everything with numbers. Additionally, Chris is proud to say that they’ve begun brokering deals in which the buyer and seller never speak.
Investment banking he says is used to running offense and defense in a way that everyone wins.
eCommerce Book Top Tip
- The E Myth by Michael E. Gerber
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- Try to figure out how to rotate away from Amazon—there are really great ways to do it including API methods, Google SEO data and more…Google it!
Tool Top Tip
- HubSpot—best CRM tool
Growth Top Tip
- Stay in Stock! Good inventory management makes growth possible
- Beyond the eMyth – Michael Gerber [publication day review]
- ECCO’s Hilary Fletcher on how to grow and sell a Bricks and Clicks business
- How to buy an eCommerce business with Empire Flippers’ Justin Cooke
- FE International’s Thomas Smale – Buy or Build? How should you get started in eCommerce?
- Lick My Dip’s Dave Rotheroe is back! Subscription product optimisation and influencer outreach plus more
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