Have you ever thought that selling your company could also mean these things?
- You were not able to grow with the challenges in building an organization
- You sold your vision and everything you've built to the highest bidder
- You may have lied to customers who trusted you as a company in it for the long run
- You were not able to build a sustainable, profitable company with a long-term vision that can operate independently
- Your vision was not strong enough to turn into an independent and successful business
Maybe. But I have never heard someone say it. I'm always impressed that US entrepreneurs have this great attitude: you can fail, because you can always try again. It's really different in Germany, where failing is bad.
But dear entrepreneurs, can't you admit that selling your company could be a failure as well? You'll probably earn a good amount of money, but (I hope) that's not your main motivation as an entrepreneur.
I've started three companies and have never sold one. I'm really proud of this. I started my first company at the age of 15 with Fridtjof, we sold and repaired computers, and created websites. Our first customer, a bike store in our home town (www.mietrad.de) is still our customer, now with Jimdo. At 21, Fridtjof and I founded NorthClick together with Matthias. We built the software (which is today Jimdo) and used it to create websites for small businesses in Germany. The company still exists, we still own it, and we're slowly migrating all our customers to Jimdo. That migration costs us more money than we'll earn from them in the next few years. But we told our customers that they can trust us with their website, so we're keeping that promise.
We talk with everyone we hire about our vision, our company culture, and that a job with us is not meant to be a short-term commitment. Our employees start and stay with us for exactly those reasons. If we were to sell our company today just to earn money, I would have lied to them and to myself. The biggest success for us is to make our vision a reality and to make Jimdo a great place to work for all of us.
I know there are reasons to sell a company, sometimes these reasons are even really good. But dear entrepreneurs: Consider keeping and growing your company and not selling your vision. You'll just have to start from scratch again.
Co-founder at Jimdo
When Christian was 12, he started his first business, buying and selling Kinder Surprise collectible toys at flea markets. Just a few years later he met up with Fridtjof, and the two started creating websites for small businesses in their hometown. Christian currently takes care of Jimdo's operations and helped start the U.S. office in San Francisco.