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Finish Big: How Great Entrepreneurs Exit Their Companies on Top Hardcover – November 28, 2014

4.8 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“I love Burlingham’s quest to understand why some entrepreneurs create a meaningful life after exiting their businesses while others suffer and wander without purpose. Practical and profound, fast-moving and thought-provoking, masterful in its clear prose and compelling stories—Bo Burlingham has once again done a tremendous service in deploying his craft.”
Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and coauthor of Built to Last and Great by Choice

Finish Big is for all those founder/leaders who want to do more than take. . . . It is for the ones who want to leave something behind.”
Simon Sinek, optimist and author of Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last

“Bo Burlingham is a liar. He advertises this as a book about entrepreneurs exiting their companies. Instead it is a book about doing business well and living a life of value. Remarkable research, remarkable prose, remarkable book. Bravo!”
Tom Peters, coauthor of In Search of Excellence

“This book is a gift, a must read for anyone who has even an inkling that it might be helpful. It will reward you with both peace of mind and a significant ROI.”
Seth Godin, entrepreneur and author

About the Author

Bo Burlingham is the author of Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, a finalist for the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year in 2006. An editor at large at Inc., he has reported on the entrepreneurial revolution in America since the early 1980s and has witnessed up close the birth and development of the companies that have reshaped our world.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio (August 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591844975
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591844976
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Srikumar S. Rao VINE VOICE on November 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of Bo Burlingham for more than three decades starting from his articles for Inc, through his Street Smart columns with Norm Brodsky and his last book Small Giants. What I really liked about Small Giants is the light it shed on successful companies whose founders/owners had a clear view of what they wanted their business to be like and the diversity of these views.

Finish Big focuses on a different theme - how do you, as an entrepreneur exit your company?

You WILL exit even if it is because you are carried out feet first. The question is whether you will do it on your terms or by happenstance.

Most of what is available on this subject deals with how to obtain the 'maximum' amount of cash for your company. But there are a host of other issues: Do you want to be involved after the transition? How concerned are you about the culture of the company and what happens to it? What about the employees - do you feel you 'owe' them anything? And customers/clients?

Most important, What do YOU want to do next? Do you know and are you at peace with it?

Burlingham points out that - regardless of whether or not you plan to leave your company in the forseeable future - you should start thinking about that exit NOW. The reason is simple - looking at your company the way a potential purchaser would gives you innumerable ways to improve its operation right away.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
We've been looking for the quintessential book that would be an anchoring textbook in our entrepreneurial-focused curriculum. This is it.

As entrepreneurs ourselves who've cashed out, we know the importance and timeline of the exit. All entrepreneurs we coach do not. Every one of them.

This book, well researched and full of real-life stories, brings that key point to life. There is valid step-by-step instructions our students will find useful.

Great job.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
“A good exit takes time – measured in years, not months”
Hundreds of books have been published for the aspiring entrepreneur who wants to start a business. At the same time, very few books pay attention to where the startup company wants to eventually be, or having an exit strategy that is literal, graceful, and planned out well in advance.
Beginning with the end in mind is the emphasis of author and small business expert Bo Burlingham, in his latest book, “Finish Big”. Several years ago, Burlingham wrote the indispensable business bible, “Small Giants” that chronicled successful companies that chose to make their business great instead of big.

In “Finish Big”, Burlingham points out that the very few business owners hand off their companies successfully. These owners have not positioned their companies well financially, failed to offer any future value or growth to potential buyers, rely heavily on one major customer, or operate with a top-down management style that fails to delegate important tasks to employees.

Burlingham blends his past management experience with dozens of interviews with business owners that have gone through the succession process. He asked each what made leaving their company either a positive or negative experience.

The exiting owners that felt positive had the satisfaction of believing that their employees would be treated fairly by their successors and that their established company culture would be preserved. Owners satisfied handing off the reins also felt they were well compensated for their investment and left with a genuine sense of personal accomplishment. The owners that had negative experiences more often than not were forced to sell and had given little prior thought to getting out or planning any kind of exit.
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Format: Hardcover
As I began to read Bo Burlingham's latest book, I was again reminded that the term "gazelle" refers to the classic entrepreneur of myth and reality, someone who starts a new business venture (or a new way of doing business) and aims for it to explode into a white-hot phenomenon such as Home Depot, Facebook, Jenny Craig, Netflix, Under Armour, and Instagram. The term was coined by the economist David Birch. His identification of gazelle companies followed from his 1979 report titled "The Job Generation Process" (MIT Program on Neighborhood and Regional Change), wherein he identified small companies as the biggest creators of new jobs in the economy.

In 1994, however, Birch revised his thesis, isolating job-creating companies he called "gazelles." Characterized less by size than by rapid expansion, Birch defined the species as enterprises whose sales doubled every four years. By his estimates, these firms, roughly 4% of all U.S. companies, were responsible for 70% of all new jobs. The gazelles beat out the elephants (like Walmart) and the mice (corner barbershops). When you hear politicians say, "Small businesses create most of the new jobs," they're really talking about young and fast-growing firms. They are talking about gazelles. Many (if not most) of them were founded by entrepreneurs. Some of them have since moved on to new adventures in the vineyards of free enterprise. Others remain with the company but not as CEO as still others do.

According to Burlingham, every entrepreneur exits eventually: "It's one of the few absolute certainties in business. Assuming you've built a viable company, you can choose when and how you exit, but you can't choose whether. It's going to happen. You can count on it.
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