Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Finish Big: How Great Entrepreneurs Exit Their Companies on Top Hardcover – November 28, 2014
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“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.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
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.
He discusses a 'Sellability Score' that has eight factors:
1) Financial performance
2) Growth potential
3) Overdependence - on a customer or vendor or employee or whatever
5) Recurring revenue - anything, such as contracts with customers, that provides some stability of revenue
6) Unique Value Proposition - What do you offer that competitors cannot easily match?
7) Customer satisfaction - if they love you they will be loyal and your business will be worth more
8) Strength of management team - will management fall apart if you leave?
Ultimately Burlingham is a tale spinner and the lessons emerge organically from the stories. For example, Martin Babinec ran a company callee TriNet - a professional employer organization. This means that TriNet served as the employer of record and saved its clients the burden of maintaining a personnel department. Which meant that TriNet had to grow to reap the benefits of scale in matters like buying health insurance or upgrading its technology.
Babinec accepted funding from a publicly traded company and this came with the caveat that milestones had to be met before each tranche of the funds were delivered. What happened when he missed a commitment makes gripping reading and the lesson he learnt is valuable to all entrepreneurs.
The book is peppered with many such stories and anecdotes and most are of real companies with real names of the persons involved.
I would particularly like to note that there are many valuable resources in the book but you have to keep your eyes open to recognize that these are valuable resources. These include names of consultants, sources of information and so on. Even the nature of business of some of the companies profiled is a great resource - you may well be able to use the services of some of them to your benefit.
Would have been nice if this had been explicitly recognized and each chapter had a section listing these resources and others for further exploration.
But this is a minor quibble. The book is both informative and easy to read so go, get it.
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." One ancient Chinese axiom suggests that the best time to plant a tree was 100 years ago. The next best time is now. Great entrepreneurs have followed that advice. That is why, as Burlingham explains, they are able to "exit their companies on top." Of course, entrepreneurs tend to be considered "great" if their companies achieve great success. Eventually, all of them -- "the good, the bad, and the ugly" -- retire or are removed.
These are among the key insights that Burlingham explores within his lively as well as eloquent narrative:
o Now is the time to start thinking about your exit.
o It begins with knowing who you are (and aren't), what you want (and don't), and (especially) why.
o Build a business that can be sold when and to whom you want to sell it.
o A good exit takes time -- measured in years, not months.
o In choosing a successor, leave enough time to be wrong.
o The best advice comes from people who've been through it themselves.
o No one builds a business alone. So what about everyone else?
o Make sure you know why potential buyers want to acquire your company.
o Your exit isn't over until you're fully engaged in whatever comes next.
Burlingham shares what he learned from dozens of great entrepreneurs and organizes his material within a framework of eight common characteristics. He urges his reader to take them into full account:
1. Have a crystal clear understanding of who you are, what you want, and why.
2. Look at your organization through the eyes of a potential buyer or investor.
3. Commit years -- not months --to completing preparations and creating options.
4. Make certain that you leave the organization "in good hands."
5. Enlist the counsel of those best qualified to provide it (e.g. entrepreneurs who know the dos and don'ts)
6. Take into full account your responsibilities and obligations to all stakeholders.
7. Thoroughly understand those to whom you're selling and why they're buying.
8. Have a clear vision of what you will do if/when the sale is completed.
"These eight factors, I found, went a long way toward explaining the vast differences of the entrepreneurs I interviewed, and I couldn't help but think that current and future business owners would benefit by knowing about them. That said, my purpose in writing this book is not to provide a how-to guide, but rather to illuminate the exit process by telling the stories of entrepreneurs who have gone through it."
Actually, Bo Burlingham combines in this volume stories of dozens of entrepreneurs but also an abundance of relevant knowledge and wisdom he has gained from his vast and deep real-world experience. That is indeed true but I want to make one other point: Those who read this book will be well prepared to accelerate their own personal growth and professional development while helping others within and beyond their organization to do so...and thereby increase substantially the value of that organization. In other words, much of the material in this book -- and the mindset it encourages -- can have impact now, today, as well as during a sale years from now. This book is a brilliant achievement. Bravo!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
1) I believe this book is a must for business owners.Read more