A successful entrepreneur shares her thoughts on business success and failure.

2007 Year In Review

2007 was definitely one of the best years I’ve had. I’m a huge believer in setting goals, and in August 2006 I made the goal to sell my business by the end of 2007. Not only that, but I spent a lot of time visualizing what I wanted to happen after I sold the business — to the business, its employees, its customers, and, of course, me.

I wanted to sell to a business that would keep my employees, especially Sohrab, who deserves huge credit for sticking it out with Simpli even when times were rough. I also wanted to sell to a business who dealt with similar customers — that wasn’t sidetracked with shared hosting, and that wasn’t focused on only very high-end customers. This is actually quite a tough niche to find a buyer in, because most businesses in Simpli’s area are cash-poor.

I started talking with Silicon Valley Web Hosting in March 2007. Initially, I was just interested in getting more colo space at Market Post Tower for lower rates than MPT was charging for new cages. But within a couple months, I realized SVWH and its owner, Bruce, were an ideal fit for Simpli. Initially I had told Bruce that I wasn’t interested in selling until late 2007 or even 2008, but I changed my mind later and asked him to pull together financing. I wanted more money than he wanted to spend, so we worked out a compromise – I would finance him for 90% of the sale price, and he could make payments over 3 years with only 10% down up front. Normally I wouldn’t recommend taking one of those deals if you’re selling your business, but SVWH was a perfect fit. I had been talking with 2 other businesses that both had more cash, but neither had the exact focus Simpli did, and one of them would have wanted to move our servers to their own datacenter in another part of the Bay Area. SVWH took over our office, retained Sohrab and Daniel, and has no current plans to move Simpli’s servers.

We signed September 7, but Bruce wanted to keep the acquisition quiet until he had a chance to talk to our largest customers individually. This initially took me by surprise, but after talking to him, it made sense. I continued to work full-time for SVWH/Simpli until mid-October, at which point I left and took a much-needed 2-week vacation.

That was my big goal for 2007, and I did it…with a couple months to spare, even! Now I want to take a look at my other goals for 2007, and see how I did:

New stuff. Did great on this goal. I took on a housemate for 8 months and used the income from her to buy everything I wanted without going into debt. I did not end up buying a new car, although 2008 will definitely be the year I do that. I’m not comfortable buying a car until I can pay for it with cash, and currently all the money I have received from Simpli’s acquisition went to pay off both business and personal debt. Once I have at least $50,000 stashed away (that would be May 2008 at the latest), I’ll consider a new car.

I bought an RV, but it died later. Sad. I may invest in an RV again at some point. Not sure if that will be 2008, though.

I was still too busy with Simpli to really get into writing like I wanted. That’s the one I really wanted to do in 2007 that I didn’t get done. Overall, though, I feel I did well. I met all my big goals. I took advantage of the economy and sold as close to the “peak” of the economy as I could. More importantly, I sold when the time was right for me.

I’ll make a new blog entry this afternoon regarding more specific goals for 2008.

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I'm Erica Douglass.
After selling my online business at age 26 for over $1 million, I created this blog to help you grow your own business quickly.

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