How to sell an existing community step by step?

The selling process of an existing community should be fairly simpler and faster than when selling a company. An existing community (as opposed to a company) has no property, loans, employees and it’s not necessary to verify its tax history. Therefore there is nothing that should delay the process. There is no need for due diligence.

Make a Teaser

You’ll need to put together 2 or 3 pages of information about your community. A Teaser should contain a basic description of the community. Information about who and when founded it, who is currently an admin and models of the current members and their count. How big the sphere of influence is and what the main topics of the community are. Number of organically generated discussions. A reason for the community’s sale and its growth potential. It should also state whether you want to become a part of the internal team and continue in the same role under the new buyer or not. But be careful not to include the selling price into the teaser. Leave price negotiation for later.

Shortlist

You should make sure to decide who you want to sell your community to and what you expect of the sale. If you want to sell the community and not care about what happens to it next, you don’t need to think too hard about the shortlist and sell it to the highest bidder. I believe, however, that the majority of you will care about who buys the community. Mainly because you’ve spent years building it and don’t want it to end up in the wrong hands. So write down a list of 15-20 potential buyers you’d like to get. To each one of them write a short note why you’d like to choose that one and why you think that he might want to buy it and why you think the community will prosper under their rule. You can also write a list of those you definitely don’t want it to sell.

First round

Send the Teaser to the potential buyers from your shortlist. Take care with finding the right contact and making the first offer. Tell them that they are on your shortlist because of the reason you wrote down into the notes when creating it. Don’t forget to additionally ask whether they’d be interested in meeting you over the sale and ask them to respond within a specific date. I recommend contacting the whole shortlist in one day and giving them the same deadline. I tend to give them 7 days.

Second round

You should get a response from all those you asked at least two days before the deadline and know whether they’d like to meet you or not. Politely remind yourself to the ones who didn’t answer and say that you’d kindly like to remind yourself and you would only need to know whether they’d be interested or not. On the day of the deadline send all the interested responders a suggestion for new dates. Yet again I recommend setting some serious date before which there’d be all the negotiations done.

The sale

It can happen that you will find the first or the second potential buyer likable enough and they will give you and offer. You shouldn’t prioritize or advantage anyone. You should want to meet all of them just to make a broader perspective and subsequently also some space to weigh and compare your options. In this phase you should have a draft of the sale contract which you’ll present to all those interested and you’ll continue to negotiate the sale’s conditions. Try to get into an advantageous position where you have 2-3 acceptable offers. If in the end there will be only one interested subject, there is a risk that they will find out and will try to lower the price, or possibly even cancel the deal.

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