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Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You Paperback – December 24, 2012
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“John does a masterful job of illuminating the qualities that business buyers look for in a company, and he does it in a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging manner.”
—Bo Burlingham, author of Small Giants (from the Foreword)
“There is no tooth fairy for selling a business. It takes planning and a real understanding of what works. I bet you’ll find yourself (like me) recommending this book to your friends who want to sell their businesses one day but don’t understand what that’s going to take.”
—Seth Godin, author of Linchpin
About the Author
John Warrillow is the author of Built To Sell: Turn Your Business Into One You Can Sell. Throughout his career as an entrepreneur, John has started and exited four companies. Most recently he transformed Warrillow & Co. from a boutique consultancy into a recurring revenue model subscription business, which he sold to The Corporate Executive Board (NASDAQ: EXBD) in 2008. He is the author of Drilling for Gold and in 2008 was recognized by BtoB Magazine's "Who's Who" list as one of America's most influential business-to-business marketers.
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In BUILT TO SELL, however, John Warrilow draws on his personal experience in starting and selling four companies to craft an entertaining primer. The "story" of Alex Stapleton and his marketing company compose most of the book. Frustrated, Alex decides to sell the company, and while discussing his lot with mentor Ted, he discovers (as many entrepreneurs do) that he has nothing to sell. To paraphrase Michael Gerber, THE E-MYTH REVISITED, Alex really has a job with a lunatic for a boss.
Through Ted's tips and coaching Alex eventually builds a business he can sell. The lessons Alex learns apply to anyone who owns a business.
Specialize, don't generalize
Create a scalable product or service that is teachable, valuable and repeatable
Don't concentrate more than 15% with one customer
The business can't rely on you, the owner
There are 35 wonderful pages that follow the fable, the Implementation Guide and Ted's Tips, highlighted and standing alone.
Since reading Warrilow's book...in one day...I have recommended or purchased it for a number of my customers and business colleagues.
Not only does it very effectively demonstrate what to do VS what you shouldn't do, it shows that you can always implement these types of changes to make sure you're more prepared to sell and at the same time make your company more successful.
I also really enjoyed the way it was written, it was WAY more engaging and relatable than one of those books that just goes on and on about A-Z steps to take for your business. This actually sunk in, and showed real life application and advice all while in a fictional story! A must read for anyone looking to build a company and sell it.
It is super important to think strategically and start planning early for your exit. If your exit strategy is to liquidate assets and close up shop, then you don’t really need to read this book. However, if you want to sell your business and not just close your doors, then you’ve got to craft a plan and start early!!
Some key take always:
If you intend to put your business up for sale or position it to be acquired someday, you CAN NOT be the sole reason for the success of your business! If the success or failure is strictly dependent upon you and/or your partner working with your customers, then your sales multiple will be strongly discounted and you will earn a lot less at closing than is possible!! You need a strong management and sales team in place and you need a system for getting things done that is NOT reliant on YOU personally. You need to develop a specialty - being a jack of all trades, but master of none is NOT a recipe for success!
You really need to read this book! It's an easy read...very engaging and easy to understand. Written in a very conversational tone and just makes SENSE!