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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's about creating value, not selling your business
The only thing wrong with this book is the title. "Built To Sell" is catchy but the book is really about how to create value in a business that's separate from you, the owner. Sure, if you want to sell your business, you need to do that, but you need to do it for the good of the business whatever your plans. "Built To Sell" is about creating business value, whether you're...
Published on April 29, 2011 by LKL in Santa Fe

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great for business owners
This is a great book for the business owners or the person wanting to start a business. The principles are told in the form of a story and it is fast to read yet interesting. Having a business is one thing, but building a business that can work without you is the hard part. How can you run a successful business that will run well without your constant supervision, or run...
Published on April 3, 2011 by Book Him Danno


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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's about creating value, not selling your business, April 29, 2011
The only thing wrong with this book is the title. "Built To Sell" is catchy but the book is really about how to create value in a business that's separate from you, the owner. Sure, if you want to sell your business, you need to do that, but you need to do it for the good of the business whatever your plans. "Built To Sell" is about creating business value, whether you're going to sell or not. It's also a great read. It's told as a story. That's not unusual today in a business book, but most are clunky efforts that make you wince. Not this one. I read it on a flight and kept reading at the airport when I disembarked, just to finish it. I have a little business now and during the 80s and 90s I ran a business that sold to little businesses around the country (we had a million customers). I know this market -- every small business owner should read this book.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light at the End of the Tunnel, May 23, 2010
By 
Built to Sell
by John Warrillow
flipjetmedia, 2010
160 pages, $25.95

THE GOOD
This is a book every entrepreneur must read, whether or not they are going to sell their business. Years ago I read a book stating that there are people good at starting an enterprise, those who can make it profitable, others who excel at sustaining it and finally, a unique few individuals who can figure out how to profitably get out from under it. A business needs all four. This book dramatizes how one person can accomplish each of these steps. As someone who ran a small ad agency for ten years like the one used as an example, I didn't see the slightest misstep in this examination of the ups and downs of owning a business. We all need a light at the end of the tunnel.

THE BAD
According to the author the secret to business success seems to be to move from a service provider to providing a unique product (or product-like service). Two problems: 1) There are businesses that don't follow this model that are successful, 2) Things change and the context in which these products are offered is variable.

& WHAT BUGS ME
Oh, how I wish I could have had this book back then! These are the elements a business owner needs to come to terms with (and some of the reasons why he or she has a hard time doing that). $[...] is expensive for a little book, but it is the best business investment you will ever make.

Buy It: X Library: Skip It:

John Lehman, [...]
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Built To Sell, April 28, 2011
This is an amazing tool. Finally someone has cracked the code on what it takes to have a saleable business. I have created and sold 2 businesses - the hard way, without maximizing my return - I am now reengineering my current business with Warrillow's guidance, so I don't make the same mistakes again. This book is a quick, (who's got time?) fun, easy read, full of simple to GET principles. You can start to effect positive change the minute you put it down. My tip: Buy a few copies, for each of your senior people - you won't want to wait for this one to be passed around!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you own a service business, read this book., September 24, 2011
By 
Stephen V. Smith (Rainsville, AL USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
"Built To Sell" is less a manual on how to sell your service business and more an examination of how you are operating on a daily basis. 'A check up from the neck up,' as Zig Ziglar would say. I came to this book not hoping to sell my business any time soon, but rather to find insight on ways to structure my company so that it is less dependent on me for day-to-day operations. This book hit the target. After reading the print version in one evening, I downloaded the audio version through my Audible account. My wife and I listened to it as we drove several hours to a conference. She normally does not enjoy audio books because they do not keep her attention like reading the printed word. With "Built To Sell," we stayed fully engaged, often pausing the recording to discuss certain points. This material became the filter through which we took in new information at the conference we attended. This ultimately led to some major business decisions that are changing the operations and direction of our firm.

BOTTOM LINE: If you own a service business, you owe it to yourself, your family and your employees to read this book. Yes, even it you have no intentions of selling. It will help you improve your company.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book may change the way you think about small business ownership, July 4, 2011
A long time ago I read a book that suggested that the key to achievement was to want something and strive for it with all your heart and will but to not be attached to the outcome. A similar paradox is at the heart of John Warrillow's book for small business owners, Built To Sell. The premise is that at the same time you are running your business as if it will last forever you should also be maximizing its value in a way that will allow it to be sold at any moment. It's all about keeping your options open. It's a simple premise but considering that only about one in one hundred small businesses are sold, it's one that few people are able to adopt.

To keep the premise interesting Warrillow relies on a fictional construct, a character, Alex Stapleton, who is the head of a successful advertising firm. Alex's old friend Ted Gordon, a successful entrepreneur, mentors him on how to create a business that can be sold and that instruction forms the core of the book.

Although 'Ted's tips' are aimed at small business owners many of them could also serve as career focusing tools for those who are thinking about making the entrepreneurship leap. Much of the advice is about assessing what your business does best and expanding and streamlining that offering. The major takeaway that might be hardest for small business owners to accept is that the business should be able to survive and thrive independent of the person who built it. Ted's lessons are also broken out into easy-to-understand concepts.

This isn't a particularly well-written book and the fictional story is too bland to be compelling but this book does its job effectively and easily, not requiring much of the reader who will likely be a stressed-out small business owner with little time for literary meanderings. The last section of the book is an implementation guide that drives home the lessons from the book's story in a clear manner. This is a book to quickly read on a weekend afternoon or a plane ride but the lessons learned have enough heft to really change the way you think about your business.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great for business owners, April 3, 2011
This review is from: Built to Sell: Turn Your Business Into One You Can Sell (Paperback)
This is a great book for the business owners or the person wanting to start a business. The principles are told in the form of a story and it is fast to read yet interesting. Having a business is one thing, but building a business that can work without you is the hard part. How can you run a successful business that will run well without your constant supervision, or run without you completely when you decide to sell? Read this book and find out how. The story reads well, followed by an implementation guide to help you follow the steps. The end is a summary of tips from the story.

The story follows a small business owner through his decision to sell. It is interesting and fast to read, now if every business was a success like this one. Many hard decisions were made, but they lead to the outcome the owner desired. Now if I could come up with a business plan.

Many businesses are worthless if sold, they are built with the owner as the one that runs everything. Plumbers, electricians, service professionals, it's tough to sell a business that is focused on the owner and worthless without them. How can you change your business to grow and run without you? Read this book and start your business on a whole new path, one that you can take a break from and enjoy the bounty of all your hard work.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book twice, April 17, 2010
By 
John Jantsch "Duct Tape Marketing" (Kansas City, MO United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Every business owner should read this book twice - once before they start their business plan and once after they finish it. Not every business is started with the intent of being sold, but if you grow a business to the point where it pays the bills and you want it to be more than a job, you've got some things to consider as you evolve. Doing the things right now that can make your business built to sell is just smart business and I think this is one of the first books I've read that presents the right way to look at your business and the simple, practical steps you can take to get the most when it's time to move on or retire.

John Jantsch author of The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for small business owners, April 29, 2011
Navigating small business growth requires a steady hand - it is ever so easy to get distracted and drift off course. John's book is a highly readable story packed with lessons and strategies that can be implemented immediately. It has provided me a lens through which I now view every decision and opportunity, and thanks to John my business is more focused than ever. I recommend it to every business owner I meet.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read. Learn. Rethink. Make More Money., May 28, 2011
Most business owners are afraid to visit the 'exit strategy' scenario. Most are so occupied trying to hold it together that the idea of building a business to sell is frightening territory. And yet, a business without an exit strategy will seldom bring the rewards one longs for. I've built several businesses but all without much attention to ever selling them profitably. These businesses were all about me and my skills. That was great for the ego; painful for my retirement.
Following on John Warrilow's excellent -- and easy to read book -- I've reversed-engineered my latest venture and every system, strategy and hire is put through the due diligence of: "Will this move serve my end goal of building this business to sell for a pile of cash?" That question has changed everything I do. Ego be damned! This business is about value and money.
This book is essential reading for anyone who's serious about building a business of value; a business someone else would pay dearly for.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn to stop being a 'working' manager, March 25, 2013
Built to Sell by John Warrillow highlights the many factors preventing business owners from successfully transitioning away from their companies and how to resolve this situation. All too often, business founders embed themselves within the operational fabric of the company they create; setting it up for failure upon they departure. In his business novel, John defines the business characteristics and operating environment owners must establish in order to later remove themselves from the organization without its subsequent collapse. These include:

- offering products and services employees or technologies can deliver in the owner's absence
- specializing in doing one thing better than anyone else
- creating a stream of recurring revenue because customers need to repurchase often

I like Built to Sell because of its actionable insights presented in a easy-to-consume business novel format. Furthermore, I believe John's principles of creating a successful business apply to enterprises of all sizes, whether public or private.

I have long warned against the practice of employing `working managers.' (See StrategyDriven Warning Flag - Working Managers.) I feel management is the work of managers and that to focus on other tasks, particularly those that should be performed by subordinates, dilutes the manager's ability to effectively manage; diminishing overall organizational performance and doing a disservice to both the manager and his/her staff. John's book, Built to Sell, presents in principle the actions necessary for every manager to remove him/herself from the day-to-day work of the business so to allow him/her to manage. Subsequently, the manager can be replaced. In John's book, the owner-manager can sell and transition away from the company without its failing. In a corporate setting, the manager can transition via promotion/transfer and the remaining organization continue to operate successfully.

I believe the principles presented in Built to Sell are broadly applicable and the book to be an invaluable read for managers at every organizational level. For its quality and actionable insights, Built to Sell is a StrategyDriven recommended read.

All the Best,
Nathan Ives
StrategyDriven Principal
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Built to Sell: Turn Your Business Into One You Can Sell
Built to Sell: Turn Your Business Into One You Can Sell by John Warrillow (Paperback - February 1, 2010)
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