We’re not for sale…..
We’re not for sale…..
For the past few years, a selective number of investment companies/other MSPs have approached Factory because those businesses want to grow by acquisition, either because they want revenue, talent, capability or a combination of all those elements.
Typically, the conversations start with a consulting need for their company. Factory help solve that problem and then the lightbulb moment occurs, and the other company believe they can replicate what we do/grow us quicker by throwing more salespeople at the problem. In a polite manner, the conversation turns to “what’s your exit strategy”, how does Factory “exit”.
The truth around this and that “exit”, and the reason I’m writing this blog post, is to point people asking this question towards this post.
I’ve worked in several companies during my career which have been “exit focused”. The obvious criteria on each occasion have been to grow the wallet and then start something new with that wallet as a starting fund, while having a few holidays and luxuries in between while the compete agreements cool off. What is completely consistent however is each person I know in this position has immediately founded another company and got back to doing what they love.
When I founded Factory, I vowed to never aim for an exit that involved selling the company to an investor or another MSP. Each time I’ve seen a sale, I’ve spotted an immediate change in culture with key personnel leaving and then watching a team come in who don’t quite understand the customers, culture or purpose of the business. This often leads to awkward conversations, things become very process driven and flexibility goes out the window, customers start to lose value and purpose, sales numbers become obsessively important – often because it’s needed to pay off the debt used to buy the company. Product and service delivery is then cheapened by cutting costs, normally not in a sensible way, but in a dangerous manner by not understanding the reasoning behind certain costs (see key personnel leaving). Ultimately this reduces the quality of the services and the products offered to the customers who put significant trust in the founders of the business in the first place.
In Factory, we’ve worked in a very different way, firstly, we’ve kept our debt level to zero meaning we’re not at the behest of a private equity firm or private backer (outside of myself). Secondly, we’ve built the business from the ground up to be a fully sustained business with no aim to sell to another MSP. As such, we’ve invested heavily in our own offerings, processes, people and local area. We’ve contributed heavily to growing local talent and will continue to do so, we selectively bring in talent from wherever it can add value to customers and are obsessively focused on delivering outcomes and final value to customers.
Our entire ethos and building blocks are not compatible with a sale, as such, it’s not even something we’ll entertain as a business, no matter how lucrative the offer maybe.
We’re hugely fortunate in that great people at more than 100 businesses have trusted us to run their mission critical workloads and secure their platforms. We’re also hugely fortunate that our team members want to work with a growing business that offers a slightly alternative approach to the MSP world. We’re not about to misplace that trust by selling out just because a “lucrative” offer is placed Infront of us.
If you’re an existing customer or prospective customer, rest assured, we’re not interested in being acquired by any other company and will continue to work in a way that’s focused on delivering value to your business for the long term.