Begin with the end in mind. 

That’s the advice many entrepreneurs fail to follow.

But not Edin Basic. 

He founded Firezza, a pizza chain in the UK, with a clear exit strategy.

And it paid off: Edin sold his company to a market leader in 2016 and became a millionaire.

In this interview, we’ll discuss how Edin planned for, and executed his exit strategy. 

Q. What inspired you to start Firezza?

Pizza delivery was dominated by big corporate players which all had same things in common:

  • Average service
  • Not great offering in terms of food quality

We decided to challenge this by offering gourmet Neapolitan pizza by the meter, smart branding, different service and a customer journey. 

By capturing the existing market, it was relatively easy in terms of the sales. The execution, processes, procedures, and scaling up was our biggest challenge. 

Q. How did you raise venture capital? 

We started one site with our own funding. Then venture capital actually approached us to invest, so no big planning, pitch decks, presentations etc.

Q. What was the best business decision you ever made? 

At the very beginning we knew that we wanted to create a brand and multisite concept which we could eventually exit. It was never a lifestyle project. We kind of knew our exit strategy. What we could have done better is define this strategy in more details and map the growth strategy in line with the exit. 

Q. Can you walk us through the exit process and the factors that contributed to its success?

The sales process is the most challenging for any entrepreneur. 

After hiring a corporate finance company which did not do a great job, we decided to do it ourselves and that was a best decision we’ve ever made. 

The process:

  • Agree head off terms
  • Due diligence (DD)
  • Completion

DD lasted 6 months which is unusual.

As a founder, you want this period to be as short as possible.

We completed in February 2016, Friday night, rainy day in London, midnight. You would normally imagine a sunny Thursday afternoon with lots of friends waiting outside to celebrate. None of this. 😉

Q. How did you feel when you finally exited?  

No. Interestingly, I clearly remember the feeling. “Is that it? I expected something different. What is next?”

Q. What do you wish you knew when you first started your business?

Have a mentor, someone who completed the same journey… to hold my hand throughout the journey and stop me making so many costly mistakes which also contributed to timing. If I do the same project now, knowing what I know, I would cut the journey by half and double the return.

More about Edin:

Edin is a serial entrepreneur with 25 years of experience. A founder of Firezza, a multisite pizza concept which he exited to a market leader in 2016. 

Since then he has started multiple food and drink concepts in the UK and abroad. He is actively involved in supporting refugee entrepreneurs across Europe with public speaking and mentoring.

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