I was honored to be part of a panel discussion last month at the ASPIRE conference where I discussed various facets of my company’s 2016 private equity deal with Riverside Co. n2y is precious to me not only because it has grown and succeeded as a family business, but also because the work we do is so important.
With our age-appropriate learning solutions, n2y is committed to impacting and advancing the lives of individuals with special needs.
We’re passionate about what we do because it changes lives and makes the world a better place. When n2y was seeking a growth partner, we had rigorous standards, just as anyone with a family business would. You’re essentially inviting a new family member to join you.
Here are a few keys to help you achieve success as you embark on this process:
Choose a partner that shares your goals
■ Set clear milestones and find a firm with the expertise and resources to help reach them.
■ Select a firm that delivers the level of support you want. n2y wanted a private equity firm that would not get in the way of our day-to-day operations and could provide help in hiring, operating and other key areas.
■ Don’t lose sight of fit and culture. You’ll be working with these people for years, so make sure you like them and that your values match. We wanted a partner with a keen interest in our company and the right people in place to help us achieve our vision.
■ Select someone who’s done a lot of work with companies like yours before. Riverside has invested in more than 60 education and training companies, and has even more software and IT experience. We didn’t have a lot of time to explain what we do. Instead, we benefited from Riverside’s insight throughout the process and to this day.
■ Your success hinges on each other, so make sure your new partner can truly add value over the long haul.
Communication is key
During a sales process, it’s important to keep lines of communication open between bankers, potential buyers and others. This is vital for due diligence and it helps build relationships as you forge a partnership. Strong, open communication is the foundation for success.
Make calm, clear decisions
Selling a family business requires a lot of work and can be overwhelming at times. Going through the diligence process and continuing to operate the company can be time-consuming. Make sure you take time to rest and make the right call for you and your business during the process.
Finding a partner for n2y was arduous, but we took the time to understand our options and find the right fit for our company and its future. We couldn’t be happier to see our family business continue to grow and do its important work. ●
Christin Wostmann is CEO at n2y