My husband and I built a niche SaaS over the past 12 years...it was an idea way ahead of its time that is now catching on and attracting attention. For school districts, so our addressable market is about 15,000 and we have only 70 paying customers. We probably charge too little, our recurring revenue is $75k, basically all profit, but we doubled our customer base this year and the sales pipeline is stuffed. We do not advertise, aside from direct mail and targeted email.
The SaaS product has been on the back burner, selling a few per year, while we've been busy making decent money as custom programmers. Two years ago we started getting more inquiries, and we hired a part-time contractor to help with sales.
January 2012 we hired a full-time employee to sell and supports it (does a great job). Hubby is the programmer, we brought in a household income of barely over $100k this year between SaaS product and custom programming, because he's doing less "paying" custom work and more improvements to the SaaS product. We made a bet and cut our income short-term, and it looks to be paying off because in one more year we'll be over $100k in recurring SaaS, basically free money. Once we get schools onboard, they stay forever, we've lost one customer in 12 years! Customers love the product and gladly give testimonials and referrals.
Out of the blue, a huge corporation (you've heard of) wants to acquire us. Pretty sure their initial offer is a low-ball. $500k up front, and we become employees making $100k per year for minimum 3 years. They want the product but also our talent and innovation--their words, not mine.
So it's a "bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" scenario. We're profitable, 100% privately owned, literal mom & pop operation. The half-mill plus $200k family income sounds pretty nice--but on our own we could make $200k a year without breaking a sweat, and could remain self-employed, answering to nobody.
We can be bought, though, and are intrigued by the attention--but we feel the offer is too low, despite our low revenue.
So what would you do? We're planning to counter...but not sure what number to throw out there.
To make matters even more interesting, when seeking valuation advice a few weeks ago, I called a huge VC firm (their typical FEE is a million dollars) and even though we're far too small for their consideration, the guy was so impressed with our SaaS product he showed it to a colleague at a smaller firm...and they promptly called me and are considering making an offer as well.
Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this long post, and I look forward to your responses.