About this Episode

Jill Nelson built Ruby Receptionists, a call answering service, into an $11MM business when she met with an investment banker who told her the technology she had built to answer calls could be worth a mint.

To read a transcript of this episode, click here.

It was the first step in a process which resulted in Nelson selling a majority interest in Ruby Receptionists for $38.8MM. Nelson, who continues to hold a minority interest in the company she founded, was able to deliver a check to her original backer that represented a whopping 25,000% return on investment. In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How Nelson got 20 letters of interest.
  • The conversion rate from letters of interest to letters of intent.
  • How narrowing her service offering broadened her appeal to acquirers.
  • How to use debt to grow your business.
  • Why hitting $10MM in annual revenue matters.
  • The surprising impact culture can have on your company’s value.
  • A counterintuitive way to tell employees you’re thinking of selling.
  • How a good cop / bad cop negotiating posture can improve your deal terms.

Nelson attracted offers that represented a valuation of more than three times her top line revenue because she was focused on a couple of key value drivers acquirers look for, including recurring revenue and an investment in a proprietary advantage. To see how you score on all eight of the drivers acquirers look at, complete your Value Builder questionnaire.

About our guest

Jill Nelson

From humble beginnings 14 years ago, Jill Nelson has grown Ruby Receptionists into a four-time winner of FORTUNE magazine’s top five Best Small Companies to Work for, and a Portland Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Companies in Oregon recipient for the past ten years. Today, Ruby’s 400 employees provide friendly live receptionist service to more than 6,000 small businesses throughout North America. In addition to her own entrepreneurial endeavors, Jill has been recognized for her contributions to Oregon’s business and technology communities, receiving the Technology Association of Oregon’s 2017 Technology Executive of the Year Award as well as EO’s 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year award.