At we’ve seen it all: Founders approaching us directly; founders wanting to sell through a broker, etc. Obviously, going with a business broker can be the easiest way to do this. It saves you time and allows you to keep your focus on scaling the business instead of doing the heavy lifting of approaching potential acquirers, doing your buyer’s due diligence, and figuring out if it’s the right fit. A little handholding might be good in this situation, provide a sense of control, and make the whole process way less stressful.

On the other hand, brokers have their own interests, too. They don’t always align with the founder’s 100%. Often, it doesn’t make any sense for them to work with smaller companies because their valuations are just “too insignificant”. They also change up to 15% of the deal, making it pretty painful for the business owners.

So let’s deep dive into all the pros and cons of selling through business brokers, marketplaces, or approaching potential acquirers personally.

Marketplaces are often perceived as the easiest way to deal with selling a company. Some may argue that they are only good for smaller deals, but judging by the listings, founders with $10M ARR and higher also don’t shy away from selling businesses there.

Bigger deals also usually receive a bit more attention and, therefore, support from platforms. So, if you’re looking at a high revenue / high valuation situation, congratulations! Marketplaces could still be the way to go.


Tiny Acquisitions

Empire Flippers

As Andrew Gazdecki points out, businesses are sold, not bought. Obviously, it can go both ways, but if it’s you who decided to sell the business and potential acquirers don’t necessarily line up at your door, there are a few ways to stand out even in the big marketplaces.

Here are a few tips that’ll make your process easier if you think marketplace listing is the way to go:

  • Learn about the market

Yes, it doesn’t make sense to heavily rely on the data about “similar” businesses’ valuations and terms of sale, but being in the loop and learning the trends of the market is still important. This will help you better understand what kinds of deals are there, what the median valuation multiples are, and align your offer and your expectations accordingly.

  • Get serious about your copy

Your headline will be the first thing potential buyers see in the listing, so prepare something that is catchy, straightforward, and true. This might seem like common sense, but there’s a ton of misleading and overpromising headlines that are there to get the attention of buyers but don’t hold up when it comes to a closer look at the profile.

Here’s what they ask for on

  1. A description of your startup
  2. The date you founded the startup
  3. The startup team size
  4. Your business and pricing model
  5. Your tech stack
  6. Your competitors
  7. Your growth opportunities
  8. Your key assets
  9. Keywords that describe your startup


Make it easy to follow and assess because origination folks want to get a saturated view of your business and not spend hours researching (at least not right away).

  • Share metrics and supporting documents but be mindful of what is becoming publicly available

Usually, there is a good list of what is required from founders to share, so just carefully go document by document and you’re safe. If there’s still a concern regarding the information you share and who it’s going to be available for, simply reach out to the support team. Usually, they are very open to handholding founders through the process to reduce friction and make it easier and less stressful.

“When we decided that I wanted to get at least somewhat serious about entertaining offers and seeing what was out there, I came across

They were just launching their management program. So it was like a private relationship where they were able to introduce us initially to specific 20+ relationships that they already had.

One of those was the We had initial conversations with to see what the best fit would look like. I also tried to avoid giving the process a tremendous amount of time on my end by fielding requests from other public buyers and trying to figure out both due diligence and their level of seriousness.

And already had serious potential buyers that were in the right industry and matched where we were looking to go. was super helpful during the due diligence process and the whole acquisition process, just acting as a helpful advisor to myself.

The way that they worked was very much aligned with how’s acquisition process was structured. The process was seamless and a lot easier than I expected. Certainly, there were ups and downs, but it was very transparent, and we were already doing goal planning halfway through the due diligence process. It was great to be able to see the path where we’re going and how much our vision is aligned.”

Peter Leonard, MyWorks

Going with business brokers

A broker is just like your realtor. They’re quick on their feet, they know pretty much all the acquiring companies, and have a huge network. If you’re a fit for whatever they’ve been working with, it’s a pretty good bet they’ll find you a buyer quicker than you would yourself.

A broker is a person who looks for a new home for your business, makes the right calls, helps you prepare a good case, and eventually (hopefully) sells your business for a sweet sweet multiple.

There are a couple of really great advantages to calling a broker when you decide to sell your business.

First, as already mentioned, they have a huge network of potential buyers. Serial acquirers, strategic buyers, PEs—you name it, they know it. So tapping into the existing pool of potential acquirers that are also a good fit for you could save a lot of time.

Without a broker, going over profiles and doing your own due diligence may take weeks, if not months.

The second advantage would be the fact that you’re paying your broker. Yes, this is not a mistake. Since you’re paying somebody and they’d be getting a hefty commission if the deal goes well, the motivation is through the roof. You won’t have to chase your broker to make the deal work. They have eyes on the prize and are interested in selling your business fast.

Now, that could also be a disadvantage. First, the commission is pretty big. On average, brokers get from 5% to 15% of the deal. Ouch! Especially if you’re bootstrapped, that hurts.

A desire to sell fast might add to motivation but probably will have a toll on really going after what you want, personalizing the deal to your needs and life circumstances, etc.

They’re making deals for life, so you’re just another pea in the pod.

Selling without a broker

So, how to sell a SaaS business without a broker, not spend 17 months doing due diligence on every buyer out there, not get burned out from the process, and sell for a good price?

The most crucial thing to do to start the process is, of course, to make your goals very clear. Do you want to sell for the highest multiple and disappear into the sunset? Would you rather sell to somebody you know would take care of the company, team, and product and take them to levels you never imagined? Would you consider staying in a different role and working on something that brings you joy in your own company?

The first question we at ask on founders’ calls is ‘Why are you selling?’. Do you have another idea in mind? Do you think taking products from 0 to 1 is the most exciting thing and wouldn’t want to do the “boring” scaling part? Do you have family changes and want to be present? It can be anything. And the first person to know the real reason should be you.

Once you have a clear idea of what you want to do after the sale, you can get to the search. There are specific lists of all kinds of acquirers out there available on the internet. They are conveniently divided into groups of strategic buyers, serial acquirers, PEs, those buying micro-businesses, and others who wouldn’t touch anything making less than $20M ARR.

You can start your research there and narrow down the companies that buy businesses of your size first. Look at the previous deals the buyer had. Did they buy companies similar to yours? What companies do they have in their portfolio? And what is happening with the companies they bought? And don’t be shy about reaching out to the founders of those companies. Ask about how the deal went, if there were any problems or challenges, unexpected turns, and just about anything that would help you make that decision.

Due diligence is required from the founder’s side as much as from the buyer’s. Do your homework, and don’t be afraid to be specific about the kind of company you’d like to sell to.

Look around!

“We never thought about the Cookie Information as a potential buyer or party to the transaction. That wasn’t on our list at all. And it should have been. We had a relationship going back to 2017 with them. My advice coming out of that is to look closely around you because you may have a deal with a party that you never thought could be a party to the transaction. Maintaining good business relationships is really, really important.”

Maciej Zawadzinski, Founder Piwik PRO

Look at your biggest clients, partners, companies, and people you’ve worked with and maintained good relationships with. There might be someone worth considering selling the business to. Your network is your net worth, right? That might just be the right way to test it.

Make sure you prepare the business for sale. If you want to make the deal happen and happen fast, you better get all the stuff ready.

  1. Dig deep into the contractual work with all of your employees and freelancers to make sure everything that was produced belongs to you.
  2. Get your financials and other records organized. Check what metrics companies are asking for and prepare the documents accordingly. PRO tip: have the most important ones available on the first call; it makes all the difference and gives potential acquirers an understanding of the business being in order and you being serious about the sale right away
  3. Cut unnecessary expenses. You don’t have to start firing people left and right and moving off the cloud all of a sudden, so no erratic moves! But taking a fresh look at where you can cut costs and become leaner and more efficient is a good idea.
  4. Get real about the price.

“There are ways and means from a marketing standpoint that you can make a business stand out and be more appealing. Number one, price it well. So pricing is a strategy. Instead of thinking that the right thing to do is to price extraordinarily high and scare buyers away, we encourage people to use the benchmarks and then price near the top of the benchmarks. But then be willing to work back from there. You can also produce materials that show people how the business operates. And I think those things help business owners stand out in the marketplace.” Blake Hutchison, CEO

It doesn’t mean you have to lowball your own business if you want to sell fast. But you might want to steer clear of Techcrunch announcements about $100M businesses being sold on x100 valuations and other huge deals for inspiration. Look around at the benchmarks available, search for deals from companies of similar sizes, and just try to get in the buyer’s shoes. What makes this deal the hottest potato for them? What would scare them away? Getting the biggest buck for your business is a valid wish, but getting real about it would show that you’re reasonable, you know the market, and you’re ready to sell.

The last piece of advice is to be honest. Actively search for the skeletons in your closet. Something you could forget, something that could potentially drive the acquirer away, stall the deal, or become a reason for changing the terms of it. Once you uncover those, bring them to the buyer’s attention. Because there’s a fat chance they’ll find them during the due diligence process anyway, and you don’t want that to happen like that. Due diligence is all about having honest conversations and building the foundation for the future. Make it bright!

Whatever you choose—calling a broker, listing on a marketplace, or looking for a buyer yourself—the key to a successful sale is to get your expectations straight, get real about your valuation, and prepare the business for the transaction. If you don’t have established relationships with potential acquirers, you’ll be going through a lot of calls and negotiations anyway during the process. So having your data and documentation in order and being prepared for an honest conversation about your “dream exit” could save time and get you a little closer to finding the right new home for your business.

At, we try to streamline the acquisition and make sure founders get an offer from us as fast as possible to kickstart the sales process or move on if it’s not a fit.

We commit to founder-friendliness and brand autonomy. We aim to support brands in their natural trajectory while offering valuable advice for optimization. By minimizing disruption for both founders and their teams, we try to ensure the most positive experience for all.

If our values speak to you and resonate with how you do business, get in touch. Discuss your options with our M&A team: Dirk ( or Pavel ( Learn more about how we grow acquired brands on our blog and podcast pages.

Head of Growth,