Shaping the Story Behind Your Sale: Matt Alderton
Want a great piece of advice? If you’re planning to close up shop or sell—don’t say a word. That’s the advice our next guest Matt Alderton has for those who are prepared to exit—and as a serial entrepreneur, we think Matt’s one mover and shaker you’ll want to listen to.
Great at spotting gaps in the market and finding a solution to solve the problem, Matt is the guy you want to talk to about scaling your business, accelerated growth, valuation, and how to exit the right way. Having gone into business by first trying to solve a problem for himself (that clearly caught on) Matt sold his first business for a 10 times multiple worth over $16M. Now actively working day-to-day in his third start-up—among a smattering of other companies and franchises in the mix—Matt’s experience as a shareholder, start-up founder, fundraiser, and partner gives him the edge needed to provide valuable insight to our listeners.
For those who know that they want to build to sell, but are hesitant about moving through the growth needed to get there, Matt’s episode will be the one for you. He talks us through the mindset shifts needed to move from a stubborn six figures to seven—and then again from seven figures to eight.
Agreeing that selling to a public company is a win-win situation for both the seller and the buyer, we chat about the ins and outs of valuing a business, the acquisition mindset, multiples, and what you can do to shape your story 1-2 years before you exit.
If you’ve ever wondered how some sellers negotiate 10-20 times EBITDA when they go—and why multiples are one of the keys to selling success—this is the episode for you.
What you will learn in this episode
In this episode we’ll cover everything from:
- Matt's journey of his first business sale to a public company—and why buyers want not what you do, but who you are.
- Industry trends and why business deals are negotiated in multiples.
- The different outcomes that often result from selling to a private company versus a public one.
- The importance of a good business story, and how it influences EBITDA. (And why it’s so important for buyers to know that they’re buying your future, not past.)
About Our Guest
Matt Alderton is the Owner and Founder of Bx, Alderton Enterprises, and the Founder of Integrated Workforce Solutions, as well as a number of 6 and 7 figure startups.
Formerly the owner of multiple retail and hospitality businesses, as well as being a #1 best-selling author, Professional Speaker, Coach, and Small Business Expert, Matt was named Business Person of the Year in 2015, NSW Business Leader in 2016, and Finalist Australian Business Entrepreneur. Alderton Enterprises was awarded the Australian Business of the Year in 2016 and 2017 in the Australian Business Champion Awards, and nominated as the Australian Business of the Decade in 2018. BxNetworking was a Finalist in the Telstra Business Awards in 2018 and 2019, and Matt was named NSW Business Leader in the NSW Business Chamber Awards in 2019.
With an extensive career in retail, management and leadership, Matt’s passion is and has always been developing and leading people to achieve their best. As a certified member of the esteemed John Maxwell Leadership team, Matt continues to serve and develop people with a vision of helping people achieve their goals in life.
Through Matt’s business ventures, he has led teams in excess of 200 amazing people. Matt continues to invest in training and development, and the businesses continue to be recognised within their industries for amazing results in the areas of customer service, marketing and promotions, and business excellence.
Matt’s latest venture, Bx, is the fastest growing community of entrepreneurs and business owners across Australia and New Zealand, and has worked with business experts such as John McGrath, Mark Bouris and Naomi Simpson. Bx is on track to have the largest community of entrepreneurs in Australia.
Connect with Matt Alderton
(17:55) If you want to hear one of the best professional development analogies we’ve ever heard, tune in to Matt’s key advice here.
(29:00) Matt recounts how his technology company’s tenth year was when he finally accepted that they needed an equity injection. Interested in getting outside support? Listen in as Matt recalls how he found investors, watered down his own shares, and raised the several million needed to take the business to the next level.
(30:32) Tune in as Matt recounts the journey of his first business sale to a public company—and why buyers want not what you do, but who you are. (His thoughts? Knowing from day-dot of the equity arrangement that he would be tied to the company for another 5 years, Matt focused on scaling and shaping his story to sell.)
(31:24) To give our listeners more insight into the benefits gained from selling to a public company, Simon and Matt discuss this hot topic from the acquirer’s perspective—and why they buy for growth. Need more clarity? We review industry trends and why business deals are negotiated in multiples.
(32:21) Listen to Simon and Matt as they discuss the different outcomes that often result from selling to a private company versus a public one. (In summary? The difference can vary between a standard 3-5 times multiple to upwards of 10 -20 times.)
(33:07) Wondering if there’s a sweet spot your business should be operating at before selling? Matt shares his thoughts on operating at the 7-figure mark and why it’s beneficial for sellers and buyers alike. (Further, Matt theorises on the mindset shift that’s required to take your business from 6 figures to 7, and from 7 to 8, and why so many entrepreneurs hit the million-dollar glass ceiling.)
(35:11) Wondering how all this experience and variety paid off? Listen in as Matt recalls:
- The $16M sale of his first start-up
- When he paid off first home
- Which restaurant franchise he operated that became a Top 10 store in NSW, and
- How he lost millions along the way.
(38:19) Have you ever wondered if your business story could affect your trajectory curve? In this section, Matt and Simon discuss the importance of a good business story, and how it influences EBITDA. (And why it’s so important for buyers to know that they’re buying your future, not past.)
(39:00) New to multiples and EBITDA? This section is critical to listen to for those who are trying to weigh up the value differences between sales, profit, and forward going potential. Not sure when you should start considering your exit? This is where Matt recommends at least 1-2 years out.
(40:46) Interested in learning how Matt negotiated a 10 times multiple on that $16M sale? Zoom in on this section where he reflects on how strategically building his business infrastructure to operate without relying on any one person resulted in scale and quick growth. (How? Learn more here about his thoughts on systemising your back-end processes.)
(46:55) Now with plans to expand his new business in New Zealand and the US, learn how Matt is leveraging the online community to go global—even during COVID-19.
(50:30) The one final (key) piece of advice from this episode? To have at least one expert person around you. From a coach to a mentor or advisor, the importance of a good business broker during a sale, and being surrounded by entrepreneurs is invaluable. Lastly, shape a good story about where your business is going to be attractive to potential acquirers.