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Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You

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According to John Warrillow, the number one mistake entrepreneurs make is to build a business that relies too heavily on them. Thus, when the time comes to sell, buyers aren't confident that the company-even if it's profitable-can stand on its own. To illustrate this, Warrillow introduces us to a fictional small business owner named Alex who is struggling to sell his adver According to John Warrillow, the number one mistake entrepreneurs make is to build a business that relies too heavily on them. Thus, when the time comes to sell, buyers aren't confident that the company-even if it's profitable-can stand on its own. To illustrate this, Warrillow introduces us to a fictional small business owner named Alex who is struggling to sell his advertising agency. Alex turns to Ted, an entrepreneur and old family friend, who encourages Alex to pursue three criteria to make his business sellable: * Teachable: focus on products and services that you can teach employees to deliver. * Valuable: avoid price wars by specialising in doing one thing better than anyone else. * Repeatable: generate recurring revenue by engineering products that customers have to repurchase often.


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According to John Warrillow, the number one mistake entrepreneurs make is to build a business that relies too heavily on them. Thus, when the time comes to sell, buyers aren't confident that the company-even if it's profitable-can stand on its own. To illustrate this, Warrillow introduces us to a fictional small business owner named Alex who is struggling to sell his adver According to John Warrillow, the number one mistake entrepreneurs make is to build a business that relies too heavily on them. Thus, when the time comes to sell, buyers aren't confident that the company-even if it's profitable-can stand on its own. To illustrate this, Warrillow introduces us to a fictional small business owner named Alex who is struggling to sell his advertising agency. Alex turns to Ted, an entrepreneur and old family friend, who encourages Alex to pursue three criteria to make his business sellable: * Teachable: focus on products and services that you can teach employees to deliver. * Valuable: avoid price wars by specialising in doing one thing better than anyone else. * Repeatable: generate recurring revenue by engineering products that customers have to repurchase often.

30 review for Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    This easy-to-read book covers roughly the same ground as "The e-Myth" but has a bit more detail that made it more useful to me as I build process and turn my work into something that can live without me. I'm naturally cynical of these just so stories, but I like to have an arsenal of stories from which I can pick a technique to use at any point in time. Here are the tips from the book, which is structured as "guru helps novice to get shit together and build business sustainably": 1. Don’t generali This easy-to-read book covers roughly the same ground as "The e-Myth" but has a bit more detail that made it more useful to me as I build process and turn my work into something that can live without me. I'm naturally cynical of these just so stories, but I like to have an arsenal of stories from which I can pick a technique to use at any point in time. Here are the tips from the book, which is structured as "guru helps novice to get shit together and build business sustainably": 1. Don’t generalize; specialize. If you focus on doing one thing well and hire specialists in that area, the quality of your work will improve and you will stand out among your competitors. 2. Relying too heavily on one client is risky and will turn off potential buyers. Make sure that no one client makes up more than 15 percent of your revenue. 3. Owning a process makes it easier to pitch and puts you in control. Be clear about what you’re selling, and potential customers will be more likely to buy your product. 4. Don’t become synonymous with your company. If buyers aren’t confident that your business can run without you in charge, they won’t make their best offer. 5. Avoid the cash suck. Once you’ve standardized your service, charge up front or use progress billing to create a positive cash flow cycle. 6. Don’t be afraid to say no to projects. Prove that you’re serious about specialization by turning down work that falls outside your area of expertise. The more people you say no to, the more referrals you’ll get to people who need your product or service. 7. Take some time to figure out how many pipeline prospects will likely lead to sales. This number will become essential when you go to sell because it allows the buyer to estimate the size of the market opportunity. 8. Two sales reps are always better than one. Usually naturally competitive types, sales reps will try to outdo each other. And having two on staff will prove to a buyer that you have a scalable sales model, not just one good sales rep. 9. Hire people who are good at selling products, not services. These people will be better able to figure out how your product can meet a client’s needs rather than agreeing to customize your offering to fit what the client wants. 10. Ignore your profit-and-loss statement in the year you make the switch to a standardized offering even if it means you and your employees will have to forgo a bonus that year. As long as your cash flow remains consistent and strong, you’ll be back in the black in no time. 11. You need at least two years of financial statements reflecting your use of the standardized offering model before you sell your company. 12. Build a management team and offer them a long-term incentive plan that rewards their personal performance and loyalty. 13. Find an adviser for whom you will be neither their largest nor their smallest client. Make sure they know your industry. 14. Avoid an adviser who offers to broker a discussion with a single client. You want to ensure there is competition for your business and avoid being used as a pawn for your adviser to curry favor with his or her best client. 15. Think big. Write a three-year business plan that paints a picture of what is possible for your business. Remember, the company that acquires you will have more resources for you to accelerate your growth. 16. If you want to be a sellable, product-oriented business, you need to use the language of one. Change words like “clients” to “customers” and “firm” to “business.” Rid your Web site and customerfacing communications of any references that reveal you used to be a generic service business. 17. Don’t issue stock options to retain key employees after an acquisition. Instead, use a simple stay bonus that offers the members of your management team a cash reward if you sell your company. Pay the reward in two or more installments only to those who stay so that you ensure your key staff stays on through the transition.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Peters

    Here is what I got out of this book: Step 1-4 focus on building value. 5-8 on selling the company. 1. Isolate a product with potential to scale. - Specific offering. Not customizable. - Develop a sales pitch for your product 2. Create a positive cash flow cycle - Subscriptions - Make sure no one customer makes up more than 15% of your revenue. 3. Hire a sales team - Remove yourself from selling the product - Hire 2 sales employees. They are competitive “Your job as an entrepreneur is to hire salespeo Here is what I got out of this book: Step 1-4 focus on building value. 5-8 on selling the company. 1. Isolate a product with potential to scale. - Specific offering. Not customizable. - Develop a sales pitch for your product 2. Create a positive cash flow cycle - Subscriptions - Make sure no one customer makes up more than 15% of your revenue. 3. Hire a sales team - Remove yourself from selling the product - Hire 2 sales employees. They are competitive “Your job as an entrepreneur is to hire salespeople to sell your products and services so you can spend your time selling your company.” 4. Stop selling everything else “Business owners often believe that to be “customer centric,” they have to give customers whatever they want. But giving customers too much choice can be a detriment, especially if you’re trying to build a company you can scale and ultimately sell.” - Customization kills scalability - Lead your customers. Do not follow. Do not be afraid to end the business relationship if they don't like your standard product. 5. Launch a long term incentive plan for managers - Prove your managers can run the company and will stick around. Not equity. 6. Find a broker - Must be able to answer: “Describe your sales cycle.” “How many salespeople do you have?” “Describe your cash flow cycle.” “Who are your customers?” “How do you know if they are satisfied?” “How often do they repurchase?” 7. Tell your management team - Offer bonus when company sells 8. Convert offers to a binding deal - Beware of earn-outs Now for the hard part, putting these ideas into action.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Paras Dahal

    Provides an actionable framework on building business which are not dependent on their founders to grow and operate, thus making them highly sellable.

  4. 4 out of 5

    FAIZAN KHAN

    My Definition of A Business Is: Something That Earns You A Lot of Money While You're Away or Even Asleep! This Book Lays Down How To Exactly Do That. I See Self Employed Folks Calling Themselves Businessmen. In Reality They're Actually Labouring Hours For Their Clients Day & Night. Forget About Selling Your Company, If You're Too Involved With It's Operations Esp Sales. This Book Teaches You How To Transition From A Self Employed To A Proper Businessman, Able To Sell His Company To The Right Buyer. My Definition of A Business Is: Something That Earns You A Lot of Money While You're Away or Even Asleep! This Book Lays Down How To Exactly Do That. I See Self Employed Folks Calling Themselves Businessmen. In Reality They're Actually Labouring Hours For Their Clients Day & Night. Forget About Selling Your Company, If You're Too Involved With It's Operations Esp Sales. This Book Teaches You How To Transition From A Self Employed To A Proper Businessman, Able To Sell His Company To The Right Buyer. A Very Dear Book To Me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Milne

    Amazing book. I was recommended to read this because it help shapes your head around what you are building in your business. Painful ( if you hate hearing I told you so ) to read if you are a business that is in the same industry as the writer, you feel his pain 100%. Really great lessons learned and makes the impossible seem possible. Well worth the time.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lucas

    Ted's Tips: 1) Being a generalist forces you to hire generalist employees and your offering will be average at best. If you specialize, you can hire specialists and improve the quality of your work. 2) Make sure that no one client makes up more than 15 percent of your revenue. 3) Pitching a process you own puts you in control. 4) Make the business less dependent on you so you can reduce or avoid an earn out. 5) Once you've standardized your service, charge up front or use progress billing to create a Ted's Tips: 1) Being a generalist forces you to hire generalist employees and your offering will be average at best. If you specialize, you can hire specialists and improve the quality of your work. 2) Make sure that no one client makes up more than 15 percent of your revenue. 3) Pitching a process you own puts you in control. 4) Make the business less dependent on you so you can reduce or avoid an earn out. 5) Once you've standardized your service, charge up front or use progress billing to create a positive cash flow cycle. 6) Prove that you're serious about specialization by turning down work that falls outside of your Standard Service Offering. The more people you say no to, the more referrals you'll get to people who do want your Standard Service Offering. 7) Generic, owner-dependent service businesses usually sell for no more than a small amount of cash up front and a 3-5 year earn out, which places all of the risk on the person selling the business and puts almost all of the potential rewards into the buyer's hands. You need to build a business where the majority of your proceeds get paid up front. 8) Track your conversion rate of pipeline prospects to sales as it will become essential for an acquirer to accurately estimate the size of the market opportunity. 9) Two sales reps are always better than one because they compete with each other and prove to a buyer that you have a scalable sales model (not just one good sales rep). 10) Hire people who are good at selling products, not services. 11) You can't be "kind of" a specialist. Either you specialize or you don't. Stop taking projects that fall outside of your Standard Service Offering. 12) Ignore your profit & loss statement in the year you make the switch to a Standard Service Offering and ensure that your partners and spouse are prepared to forgo a bonus in the year you make the switch. Make your cash flow statement your most important day-to-day management report in the year you make the switch. 13) You need at least two years of financial statements using the Standard Service Offering model before you sell your company. 14) Only use equity as a last resort for motivating and retaining your management team. Consider alternative forms of long-term incentive plans. 15) Find an advisor for whom you will be neither the largest nor the smallest client. Make sure they know your industry. 16) Avoid an advisor who offers to broker a discussion with a single client. You want to ensure there is competition for your business and avoid being used as a pawn for your advisor to curry favor with his or her best client. 17) Write a three-year business plan that paints a picture of what is possible for your business. Think big; remember that the company that acquires you will have more resources for you to accelerate your growth. 18) Stop using the language of a service firm and start using the language of a sellable business. Change words like clients to customers and firm to business. Rid your website and customer-facing communications of any references that reveal you used to be a generic service business. 19) Don't issue stock options to retain key employees after an acquisition. Instead, use a simple stay bonus that offers the members of your management team a cash reward if you sell your company. Pay the reward in two or more installments only to those who stay so that you ensure your key staff stays on through the transition. To transform a service firm into a sellable company, follow this 8-step process. Before you start the process, engage a good accountant with experience in helping entrepreneurs with succession planning. Depending on your tax jurisdiction, there will be tax planning strategies your accountant can put into place now that will minimize your tax bill when you sell your business. Do not wait until you have an offer to see an accountant. Timing is critical; get an accountant to devise a tax minimization strategy before you start the 8 steps. Step 1: Create a Standard Service Offering The first step in building a sellable company is to find a service your clients find valuable that you can teach someone else to perform. Brainstorm all of the services that you provide today and plot them on a simple diagram with "Teachable" on one axis and "Client Value" on the other. Often, you'll find the most teachable services are the ones that clients value the least. That's normal. Alternatively, you'll probably find the services your clients value most are the least teachable. Work through all of the services you offer and eliminate services that a client needs to buy only once. Of the remaining services, pick the one that is plotted closest to the top right corner of the diagram above, which means that clients both value it as a service and you can teach it to someone to execute. This becomes the Standard Service Offering. Sometimes you'll find that, by combining one or more services, you can create the ideal offering. Experiment with bundling a few services together to stake out the top right corner of the diagram. Once you've isolated the service that clients value, need often, and is teachable, document your process for executing this type of project. You'll recall the conversation when Ted helped Alex to define and document the Five-Step Logo Design Process. Define each of the steps so that you can repeat the model in the same way each time. Once you have a Standard Service Offering, write an instruction manual to deliver it. Make sure your instructions are specific enough for someone to follow independently by using examples and fill-in-the-blank templates where possible. Test your instructions by asking someone or a team to deliver that service without your involvement. Getting the instruction manual done right will take time. Expect it to go through many drafts. Be patient. Next, name your Standard Service Offering. Naming your offering gives you ownership of it and helps you differentiate from potential competitors. Once you are the owner of something unique, you move from offering a commoditized service to one where you decide the terms of its use. There's a market for whatever generic service you provide and you don't want customers comparing your price to others. Instead, name your offering and each of the steps you take to deliver it to differentiate the service so that you can set the price and payment terms. Once you've named your Standard Service Offering and each of the steps, write a short description of the features and corresponding benefits of each step. Once you have the steps to your process and the corresponding copy, revamp all of your customer communications (e.g., website, brochure) to describe your process. Step 2: Create a Positive Cash Flow Cycle Next, create a positive cash flow cycle by charging up front for your Standard Service Offering. This will be possible if you branded your offering properly. Depending on your service, you may not be able to charge for the entire amount in advance, but you can try. You'll be surprised at how many clients agree. It's not unheard of to have clients pay $100,000 or more up front for a Standard Service Offering that is delivered over a year. If you charge up front, you will create a positive cash flow cycle, which will give you the cash you need to operate without diluting yourself with other shareholders. Acquiring companies will also give you a higher valuation when you sell your company because they will not have to commit as much of their own capital to your company. Step 3: Hire a Sales Team Once you have created, packaged, and started to charge for a Standard Service Offering, you need to remove yourself from selling it. If you have others delivering the service, but you're still the rainmaker, you will not be able to sell your businesses without a long and risky earn out. Instead, you need to hire salespeople. If you have done a good job packaging a consistent service, the best salespeople will be those used to selling a product. Look for salespeople like Angie Thacker who enjoy selling first and the product second. Avoid salespeople who come from professional services companies, as they will want to re-invent your service for every client. If at all possible, hire at least two salespeople (not just one). Salespeople are competitive and an acquirer will want to see that you have a product that can be sold by salespeople in general and not just one superstar salesperson. Step 4: Stop Accepting Other Projects The next step is to stop taking on projects that fall outside of your Standard Service Offering. It's tempting to accept these projects because they bolster your revenue and cash flow. If you're charging up front for your service and your salespeople are selling it, then you shouldn't have to worry about cash flow. That leaves revenue as the reason to accept these projects that fall outside of your process. The revenue may feel good at first but it comes at an unacceptable cost: your team will lose focus; realizing that you're not serious about your process, clients will see a chink in your armor and start asking for customization of their projects; and you will need to hire other people to deliver. Most importantly, when you go to present your business to an acquirer, they will see the mixture of revenue from both your Standard Service Offering and project work and determine that you're just another service business. I've had the opportunity to speak with hundreds of business owners who have made this transition and most have told me that clients who used to ask for custom services respect the change they made to their business model. Many clients actually buy more once the service is standardized. Clients are smart; they often know you're overreaching your capabilities in accepting assignments that fall outside of your sweet spot. In most cases, they will use you for these services because they know, like, and trust you. That doesn't mean you need to accept them. Stopping yourself from accepting projects outside of your Standard Service Offering is the toughest part of the process of creating a sellable company. You will have employees testing your resolve and clients asking for exceptions, and you will second-guess yourself on more than one occasion. This is normal; you have to be strong on this and resist the temptation. There is a point where the wind will start blowing the other way and your clients, employees, and stakeholders will finally realize that you're serious about focusing on one thing. It takes time. It will happen, and when it does and you feel like the boat has actually shifted, you will have taken a giant step in creating a sellable company. Once you have focused on a Standard Service Offering for which you will charge up front, and you have sales reps who are capable of selling and employees who are capable of delivering without your involvement, you need to create a two-year run of increasing business and financial performance. This is often frustrating for business owners who have made the decision to sell their business. Be patient and remember that these two years dramatically increase the cash you get up front for your business and minimize your reliance on an earn out. Expect the year that you make the switch from accepting projects to focusing on your Standard Service Offering to be a bad financial year on paper. Your cash flow should be fine if you're charging up front but your accountant will need to change the way he or she recognizes revenue by spreading it out over the life of the delivery period of your Standard Service Offering. This has an effect of lowering your revenue in the current period and allowing you to go into future months with revenue on the books. Spend two years driving the model as far and as fast as you can. Avoid the temptation to get personally involved in selling or delivering your Standard Service Offering. Instead, when you get asked for help, diagnose the problem and fix your system so the problem doesn't recur. Many business owners realize a tremendous uptick in their quality of life in these two years. Business improves, cash flow grows, and client headaches decrease. In fact, many business owners like this stage so much, they shelve their plans to sell their company and decide to run it in perpetuity. If this happens to you, congratulations! If you still want to sell your business, continue on to the next step. Step 5: Launch a Long-Term Incentive Plan for Managers You need to prove to a buyer that you have a management team who can run the business after you're gone. What's more, you need to show that the management team is locked into staying with your company after acquisition. Avoid using equity to retain key management as it will unnecessarily complicate the sale process. Instead, create a long-term incentive plan for your key managers. Each year, take an amount equivalent to their annual bonus and put it aside in a long-term incentive account earmarked for each manager you want to retain. Allow the manager to withdraw one third of the pool each year after a three-year period. That way, a good manager must always walk away from a significant amount of money should they decide to leave your company. You can go to www.BuiltToSell.com to find a template for a long-term incentive plan. Step 6: Find a Broker For those business owners who are committed to selling, the next step in the process is to find representation. If your company has less than $2 million in sales, a business broker will best serve you. If you have more than $2 million, in sales, a boutique mergers and acquisitions firm is probably your best bet. Look for a firm with experience in your industry, as they already know many of the potential buyers for your business. To find an M&A firm or business broker, ask other entrepreneurs you know who have sold their firm for a recommendation. Make sure your broker appreciates what you have done to transform your business. If they continue to see you as the same as the commoditized service providers in your industry, move on. They need to appreciate that you have created something special and deserve to be compensated at a higher rate. Once you have an M&A firm or broker engaged, they'll work with you to create The Book. This document describes your business and its performance to date along with a business plan for the future. Your broker will typically charge a percentage of the proceeds of the deal in the form of a success fee. Step 7: Tell Your Management Team Your broker will set up management presentations for you and your team to meet with a prospective buyer. Telling your management team can be a daunting task. Think about it from their perspective and make sure there is something in it for them if the deal goes through. An acquisition can often mean significant career opportunities for your managers and that may be enough. Emphasize that, by being acquired, your managers will be more likely to hit the personal bonus targets, which will benefit them twice if you have created the long-term incentive plan as described in Step 5. You may also want to offer key employees a simple success bonus if a deal goes through. Offer to pay the success bonus in two installments, with one installment coming 60 days after the close and the other at some point in the future. An acquirer will like the fact that you put a deal-related incentive in place for your key employees to stay. Step 8: Convert Offer(s) to a Binding Deal Once you have completed your management presentations, you will hopefully get some offers in the form of a non-binding Letter of Intent. As you review it, keep in mind that your advisor will be trying to sell the benefits of the offer to you because: a) they'll get paid if the deal goes through; and b) they want to remind you of the hard work they have done to justify their fee. This is normal and to be expected, but do not be swayed by it. Study the offer. It will likely contain an amount of money (or some other currency like stock) up front with another chunk tied to one or more performance targets for your business after the sale, which is often referred to as an earn out. Treat the earn out portion as gravy. An earn out is simply a way for an acquirer to minimize their risk in buying your company. This means that you take most of the risk and they get most of the reward. Some earn outs have proven lucrative for the owners who accepted them. Most business owners who have sold a service business, however, have a nightmare story involving an overbearing parent company not delivering on what they promised in an earn out contract. As long as you get what you want for the business up front, and treat the earn out as gravy, you can walk away when things get nasty. If you feel like you have to stay to get full value for the business, then life will get uncomfortable for the duration of the earn out. Keep in mind that the Letter of Intent is usually not a binding offer. Unless it includes a break-up fee (rare for smaller companies), they have every right to walk and you get nothing. Deals often fall through in the due diligence period, so don't be surprised if it happens to you. The due diligence period usually lasts 60-90 days and a veteran entrepreneur I know likes to refer to it as the entrepreneur's "proctology exam." It isn't fun and the best strategy is often to just survive it. Due diligence can make you feel vulnerable and exposed. If the buyer is a professional, they will dispatch a team of MBA-types to your office who will quickly identify the weak spots in your model. That's their job. Try to keep your cool during this period. Try to present things in the best possible light but do not lie or hide the facts. Once the due diligence period is over, there is a good chance that the offer in the Letter of Intent will be discounted. Again, don't be surprised if this happens to you. Expect it and you'll be pleasantly surprised if it doesn't happen. You'll need to go back to the math you did when reviewing the Letter in the first place. If the new discounted offer meets your target cash up front, then you can go ahead and agree. If the discounted offer falls below the threshold, walk away no matter how much the acquirer promises to help you hit your earn out. If you accept the revised offer or the due diligence period ends, you'll have a closing meeting. Typically held at the acquirer's law firm, this is where the formalities are handled. You sign a lot of documents and, once the documents are signed, the law firm will move the cash portion of the sale from their account to yours. The deal is done.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

    I’m positive this book is useful, for someone. But for me - it wasn’t. Hence the one star. I did like the story telling, them implementation guide and the points. However, it just went for me.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ralf Kruse

    Interesting perspective on entrepreneurship and running a company. Good compelling story. Resonates with my challenges and current focus, even if I not consider to sell my company ;-)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ruslan Khalilov

    An ideal book to rethink your business model.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Yevgeniy Brikman

    Must-read for most entrepreneurs and founders. The key takeaway is that you should build your business as if you're going to sell it, even if you have no intention to actually sell it. That's because a business that is sellable is usually a stronger and more enjoyable business in general. Instead of a list of advice to follow, this book is written in the form of a story, where you follow around a fictional entrepreneur who is trying to transform his business into something that can be sold. Like Must-read for most entrepreneurs and founders. The key takeaway is that you should build your business as if you're going to sell it, even if you have no intention to actually sell it. That's because a business that is sellable is usually a stronger and more enjoyable business in general. Instead of a list of advice to follow, this book is written in the form of a story, where you follow around a fictional entrepreneur who is trying to transform his business into something that can be sold. Like most business books that try their hand at storytelling, the story leaves much to be desired: the plot isn't exciting, the characters are flat stereotypes, the dialogue sounds like an infomercial, and the writing is a bit awkward and mechanical. But despite all that, it ends up being an effective way to deliver the key insights in this book. Here are some of those insights: 1. Specialize. Don't try to build a company that does a bit of everything. Instead, find a niche where you stand out, and dominate that one space. Aim to build a product company, where you become exceptionally good at repeatedly delivering a single product, rather than an agency, where you customize your product for every customer. Agencies have to do a bit of everything, which means they aren't particularly good at any one thing, and are often trying to do things they aren't qualified to do at all. By specializing, you are able to focus, and become the absolute best at one thing. 2. Don't be afraid to say no. Customers will always ask you to do things outside of your specialty and to customize your product for them. You must be brave enough to say no, even if that means turning business away. Remember that every time you say "no" to something custom and out of your wheel house, you will be able to "say" to something you're good at. Moreover, customers tend to have less respect for agencies and consultants—treating them like expendable labor, bullying them, blaming them for anything that goes wrong—whereas they may give you more respect if you say no and show them you're a focused product company. 3. Build a business that can run without you. Focus on building a machine that anyone who is reasonably qualified/trained can execute, rather than a company that relies on heroics that only you can deliver. A business that can't succeed without the owner is unsellable. 4. Build a predictable sales engine. You don't want every sale to be unique; you shouldn't be customizing the product for each customer; and you shouldn't rely on "hero selling" (e.g., only the founder or a very charismatic sales person can make sales). Instead, the goal is to create a repeatable sales engine. The first step is to create a repeatable sales process that is written down and can be trained to others. This will allow you to hire and train a sales team, rather than the founder doing all the sales. Once you have a sales team, you should hone the process until it's predictable: that is, you know that if you do X sales call per month, you'll get, on average, Y sales per month. If you can do that, you can then predictably scale the sales team and the entire company. 5. Tips for the acquisition process. The book has a number of detailed tips on not only building a sellable company, but also the acquisition process itself: - If you're interested in being acquired, consider getting a firm that specializes in acquisitions to represent you. These firms can actively go out to find you buyers, present your company to them, and help you in negotiations. The firm should be small enough that your deal size is meaningful to them (e.g., if the firm makes billions per year and your company is worth only a few million, they probably won't spend much effort on you). - There are different types of acquirers. For example, strategic buyers want to buy your company as part of a larger business initiative (e.g., your company may become a marketing channel that will boost the acquirer's core business); on the other hand, financial buyers want to buy your company to make money from it directly (e.g., by taking your profits). Strategic buyers are often willing to pay more, and are less concerned with profits, as they are really investing in what your company could help them accomplish in the future (so make sure to show the a vision of what they will be able to accomplish if they put their money into your business!), whereas financial buyers are just looking at what profit they can make right now (so make sure your financials are solid!). You can also break down buyers by those who are operators (they want to run and optimize the business) versus investment funds (who are willing to put in money, but otherwise are hands-off). - Avoid earn-outs. That is, avoid an acquisition where a large portion of the payout for the owner must be earned by achieving certain metrics. This gives all the up-side to the acquiring company and all the risk to the owner. In most cases, these earn-outs fail, and the owner walks away with no company, and little money earned. - Acquirers often put in non-binding offers, pending a due-diligence check. During this check, they also often ask for exclusivity. Due diligence can take a long time, be very invasive, and at the end, the acquirer may lower their offer or withdraw it entirely. Don't go into this process lightly! - Recurring revenue typically leads to higher valuations. In order of increasing valuation: consumables (e.g., toothpaste); sunk-money consumables (e.g., razor blades for a specific handle or ink cartridges for a specific printer); subscriptions (e.g., magazines); sunk-money subscriptions (e.g., Bloomberg subscription for a Bloomberg terminal); auto renewal subscriptions (i.e., renews without customer having to explicitly do anything); contracts (e.g., phone contract). - Offering employees stock can make the acquisition process more complicated. Instead of offering employees equity, the author recommends cash reward payouts (e.g., essentially bonuses, but with a vesting schedule) and stay bonuses (i.e., another bonus that vests if you stay some period of time after an acquisition). I'm not sure I agree with this advice, but the idea of cash bonuses with some sort of vesting was a new idea to me that's definitely worth considering!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Claudia Anderson Scimeca

    So, this was another book that I "read" as an audio book. And, while I have been very pleased with the narrators in most of the audio books that I have listened to, the narrator for Built to Sell was AWFUL...so awful in fact that I was tempted to give up on the book. I am very glad I did not. Once I got "into" the book, I was able to almost forget how awful the narration was. John Warrillow wrote a business book in a fictional format...he created a main character Alex who was wanting to sell his So, this was another book that I "read" as an audio book. And, while I have been very pleased with the narrators in most of the audio books that I have listened to, the narrator for Built to Sell was AWFUL...so awful in fact that I was tempted to give up on the book. I am very glad I did not. Once I got "into" the book, I was able to almost forget how awful the narration was. John Warrillow wrote a business book in a fictional format...he created a main character Alex who was wanting to sell his business but found that he needed to do a lot of work before his business became sell-able. His mentor Ted provided Alex with tips and guidance as Alex made the journey to improve his business so that it became highly profitable. Writing what could be dry material in a fictional style kept me engaged while actually picking up great tips and lessons. I loved the book so much that when I was done with the audio version, I ordered the paper back version so that I could highlight the parts the spoke most strongly to me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Greg Albrecht

    Must-read for every service-business owner 1. Easy to relate to, enjoyable storytelling 2. Clear step-by-step guide to turn a service into a replicable product 3. Inspiring, clear tips for any entrepreneur trying to turn his lifestyle business into a stand alone biz. As an experienced entrepreneur who built and sold businesses in the past I regret I hadn't read the book a few years earlier.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Seltz

    BTS was recommended by a business coach I'm working with. Very helpful information on assessing your business model, how service business differ from product businesses, and how to get the best of both worlds. A good learning experience, and more accessible for this "flighty creative" than some others I've tried, like The E-Myth.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Umstattd Jr.

    This is a a great book on business whether you intend to sell your company or not. Written as a story it follows the same plot of every business parable but the lessons are totally worth the somewhat cliche story line. Plus getting these lessons as a story always makes for a better read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    Good ideas, good story to hang them together. The detail makes this a really useful book for entrepreneurs and small-business owners.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Beth Sanders

    Great info presented well The business advice is presented in the form of a story, which held my attention easily. Insightful information; well worth the time invested.

  17. 4 out of 5

    John Meyer

    This one got a lot of ideas going. This book started my marathon training audiobook binge.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michael J.

    A 5-star review because I found myself nodding in violent agreement the whole time I was reading. I definitely subscribe to Warrillow's underlying thesis about building a sellable business...and I also believe it's how to build a successful business in general. The author said it best "[T]he point is that the best businesses are sellable, and smart businesspeople believe that you should build a company to be sold even if you have no intention of cashing out or stepping back anytime soon." This bo A 5-star review because I found myself nodding in violent agreement the whole time I was reading. I definitely subscribe to Warrillow's underlying thesis about building a sellable business...and I also believe it's how to build a successful business in general. The author said it best "[T]he point is that the best businesses are sellable, and smart businesspeople believe that you should build a company to be sold even if you have no intention of cashing out or stepping back anytime soon." This book is ostensibly about how to build a business that will be sold…but ultimately the author is explaining how to build a successful business. Too often the tendency of entrepreneurs is to get distracted by shiny objects (read: revenue) even if it falls outside of their immediate expertise. It’s good company hygiene to sit and think about what you’re best at, your competitive advantage, and how to build processes around that. It will lead to less stress on a single key man and will set you up as a juicy acquisition target [if that’s your goal]. I think if I had to state what the book was about with the utmost brevity it would be: determine what you’re best at, design repeatable and scalable processes around that thing, hire a sales team to sell that one thing and stop doing everything else and don’t give in to the temptation of customizing everything for your customers. The nature of small businesses often lead to certain key man issues. Customers only want to deal directly with the owner; and the owner responds to each customer with something uniquely tailored to them. I don’t think Warrillow is suggesting that is inherently bad; it just leads to key people being stretched thin trying to please a bunch of different customers. What’s more, this is perhaps one of the reasons why many companies suffer in the absence of the founder because they either refuse to change OR they haven’t taught anyone how to run the business without them. They have, in effect, made themselves a bottleneck. If you’re a business owner; it’s a great thought experiment (if nothing else) to put policies in place that would allow your business to run without you. Imagine a world in which you empower your employees to run the day to day while you can focus on the big picture. In fact, in one of the real world examples used in the book, one entrepreneur says you need to hire people to sell your product so you [the owner] can focus on selling your business. I believe this book is absolutely true and certainly echoes my experience in working with small companies and startups. This is the blueprint I would encourage any entrepreneur to use right out of the gate so you don’t necessarily have to go through the pain of Alex Stapleton.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dave Summers

    Built to Sell | book notes Run your business like it will be sold and run forever. - systems + management teams Possible exits - sell it - hire president and become chairman - stay in it Create a business that can thrive without you. Then, it's an asset you can sell Story: Alex runs an ad agency. - stretched thin doing all the sales. Customers want Alex personally It's hard to imagine leaving the company, but it's important to think of selling your company: - option to sell Builttosell.com Chapter one - compa Built to Sell | book notes Run your business like it will be sold and run forever. - systems + management teams Possible exits - sell it - hire president and become chairman - stay in it Create a business that can thrive without you. Then, it's an asset you can sell Story: Alex runs an ad agency. - stretched thin doing all the sales. Customers want Alex personally It's hard to imagine leaving the company, but it's important to think of selling your company: - option to sell Builttosell.com Chapter one - company in chaos - big bank client = 35% of rev - cash flow issues - was working on Saturday. Managing designer. - reliant on highly talented designer who he stole from other agency. After too much BS revision direction from bank client, she resigned. - Now, needs to hire new talent.... But everyone wants a Strategy man, and Alex was then required to be there... CHAPTER TWO Worthless business? Ted, a serial entrepreneur who has sold businesses. 26 years married, two kids Alex - has decided he wants to sell business. Tired of it all. Tired of being personally required. Ted: Alex, you have a service business highly dependent on people that personally require you, and you have many competitors who do the same thing. You have nothing to sell. Has Tony, a crappy copywriter... Jr designer wants a 5K raise.... In opportune time considering best designer is leaving, SEO client is unhappy, needs new copywriter Ted: How is biz? Alex describes the steps for logo design. Step 1 - the Visionary Step 2 - personification Step 3 - hand drawn rough draft concepts step 4 - black and white proof Step 5 - Final design Ted: the problem is that you're accepting too many projects, then you hire generalists to do specialist work. - if you want to sell, no client makes up 10% of rev - create a business that has standards, is for a need people contains nelly need = recurring rev Takeaway: Don't generalize, specialize Alex then pitched the 5 Step process and landed a 10K project. Pitched the process with confidence. In control as Ted: stop thinking you're a service company, and think like a product company. - when a service company is sold it's usually an earn out - very risky - grow the business to a point where business operates independent of Alex. Then you can sell. - people expect to pay for a product up front, services later - bill up front for product Alex, you have a negative cash flow cycle... Instead, charge in advance Key takeaways: - Don't become synonymous with the company. People won't buy if it doesn't work without you. - charge up front with progress billing Ted: - specialize - say no to projects out if your area of expertise. You'll get referrals to businesses who need what you do. - people will have a hard time referring you if you're a generalist Takeaways for web dev - Use Genesis as framework so staff can consistently do maintenance - Use WPEngine as host - standard set of plugins. No variation between developers Alex told team it was now a five-step process. - Elijah left - offered an RFP for giant account... Tempting to take it for cash Takeaway for sales - two sales people - ideally competitive people - this will prove that company sales don't require a sakes rockstar Ch 7 Hire people who are good at selling products, not selling services - people who sell products figure out how the product will meet someone's needs Build Management Team with long-term incentive plan (instead of equity) - stay bonus for loyalty - performance bonus Starbucks Replace "client" with "customer" - Service businesses have clients - Product businesses have customers, who are more easily replaceable, who buy their products Get rid of all service business lingo. Don't offer equity to management team; offer a stay bonus to key employees who stay through acquisition Ch 13 - a sellable company Print Technology makes letter of intent to buy Stapleton Agency for 6x. Annual profit at $6,000,000 with 60-Day due diligence. Ted: pressure them to make a decision Ch 14 - the finishing line - Print Technology was not comfortable with how Stapleton sized the market. Adjusted offer to $5.2 million - Alex, initially upset, reviewed the envelope with the note for $5million from several years ago and decided to accept the offer. Ch. 15 Implementation Guide - a business reliant on the owner is un sellable 3 components of scalability 1) Teachable to employees 2) Valuable to customers 3) Repeatable - customers need them more than once Exercise: Make a chart for each service Cut the ones that don't meet those criteria Teachable Valuable (can other people do it easily) Repeatable Six forms of recurring rev 6) Consumables - disposable, i.e toothpaste. 5) sunk money consumables - after they've made an investment in a platform - something that requires repurchasing - I.e. A printer that requires specific print cartridges, or Gillette electric raiser that requires specifics 4) Renewable Subscriptions - ie magazine subscription. 3) Sunk Money Renewable Subscription - traders and money managers. **** KEY PART 2) auto renewal subscriptions - auto billing till you tell them to stop 1) Contracts - hard contract for defined term. Cell phones Lessons from experience - guy used to own focus group biz that was super profitable - competition grew - RFPS commoditize products down to lowest price. AVOID RFPS Working Capital Calculation - how much money does it cost to operate a business - a business that requires less working capital to operate is more valuable Sales - if you're involved in selling the Products, you'll have a hard time selling your company (without a long, risky earn out) - acquirers will want to want to buy a product that sales people can sell, rather than a product only a sales rockstar can sell On customers - businesses often think they need to give customers Don't do customized work and subscription work at same time - cancel non subscription clients Avoid personally solving problems; instead fix the systems Broker Find a broker who specializes in your field Protection against employees - own award - own f THE DREAM Grow a scalable, sellable business. Sell it. Write about it, speak about it, travel and fish. TAGLINE small business marketing experts TAKEAWAYS - subscription service, its sales scripts, and operations manuals is a scalable, sellable asset - businesses with multiple locations could be a great market for it, I.e. Restaurants, office evolution, - change subscription agreement to longer term with clause that RJ can change it - what do RJ customers need most often? - stop selling things outside the scope of our products - long term incentive plan. See builttosell.com for template

  20. 5 out of 5

    Keshav Bhatt

    This was a really practical & useful read that helped me continue to develop my skill as a business owner. It's similar enough to others I've read in this genre (E-Myth Revisited, Second Bounce of the Ball for example) to deepen & build on lessons I've come across before. The main difference here was the perspective of why you should build a business with an intention to sell & how you navigate that process when you get there. My key lessons & fave quotes were: - Make sure no one client is prov This was a really practical & useful read that helped me continue to develop my skill as a business owner. It's similar enough to others I've read in this genre (E-Myth Revisited, Second Bounce of the Ball for example) to deepen & build on lessons I've come across before. The main difference here was the perspective of why you should build a business with an intention to sell & how you navigate that process when you get there. My key lessons & fave quotes were: - Make sure no one client is providing you with more than 15% of your revenue. Otherwise you create a risk to your revenue streams if that client were to disappear, leaving you with a significant loss of income. - This one was key: Focus on specialising not generalising. E.g the difference between a business that has a specialised 9 step logo creation process vs a general 'graphic design' business that does various types of projects with no real consistent focus. This made me consider what our specialisms are in my company & how we can better communicate these & continue to specialise in those. - Owning a process makes it easier to sell. This truth is definitely something I have found happening in my experience starting & growing a business. - You sell the business. Sales people you hire sell your services. Specialise in selling one pitch and stay with what your focus is. Ignore other temptations and projects that are outside your focus. - Think big and write a 3 year vision of what's possible. - If someone asked your customers why they do business with you and they say its because they like you personally that's not a good sign. If someone asked your employees what the vision of the company is and they aren't consistent with your answer then that vision only really lives in your head. Try to not make any part of the business personally dependent on you.

  21. 4 out of 5

    James

    Warrillow has written an excellent, story-driven business book on how to effectively set your business up for a future sale. Perfect for a small service or consultancy business owner looking to 'step back' or even a solo operator wanting inspiration on how they could expand. Personally, I found this book to be a great read, with his insight helping solidify a lot of thoughts I'm tossing up around the future of my business. Warrillow condenses his 'Built To Sell' process into 8 steps: 1. Isolate a p Warrillow has written an excellent, story-driven business book on how to effectively set your business up for a future sale. Perfect for a small service or consultancy business owner looking to 'step back' or even a solo operator wanting inspiration on how they could expand. Personally, I found this book to be a great read, with his insight helping solidify a lot of thoughts I'm tossing up around the future of my business. Warrillow condenses his 'Built To Sell' process into 8 steps: 1. Isolate a product or service with the potential to scale. 2. Create a positive cash flow cycle 3. Hire a sales team 4. Stop selling everything else 5. Launch a long-term incentive plan for managers 6. Find a broker 7. Tell your management team 8. Conver offer(s) to a binding deal These steps are told through a story, rather than a typical business book format, much to my delight. As any copywriter knows, stories are the ideal platform to deliver messages, and if you're a copywriter like myself, you'd do well to read this book and see how Warrillow has used certain techniques to great effect to get his point across persuasively. But, for those purists who need a step by step guide rather than actually reading the book to learn, there is a condensed version at the back of the book with each step and its key findings, so don't worry! Overall a great book, but the only downfall I had was that things sailed much too smoothly for Alex, the protagonist. I would've liked to see what advice Ted, the mentor throughout, had to offer if things had been bumpier, hence the 4-, not 5-, star review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Wes

    An excellent business book that’s both fun to read and full of valuable insights. Whereas other business books are laden with jargon and often unattainable examples, “Built to Sell” is a practical and relatable read on how to grow (and sell) a successful service business. Part of what makes it so accessible is that the story is told in a narrative format, making it easy to follow and apply. The fictional story follows Alex, who runs a marketing design firm that he decides he wants to sell. Alex An excellent business book that’s both fun to read and full of valuable insights. Whereas other business books are laden with jargon and often unattainable examples, “Built to Sell” is a practical and relatable read on how to grow (and sell) a successful service business. Part of what makes it so accessible is that the story is told in a narrative format, making it easy to follow and apply. The fictional story follows Alex, who runs a marketing design firm that he decides he wants to sell. Alex seeks advice from his friend Ted, a serial entrepreneur with a few successful exits under his belt. Through their weekly conversations, Ted asks pointed questions to understand Alex’s business and his motivations to sell. Each chapter is then built around what’s happening in the business (ex: a lucrative client that soaks up all of Alex and his team’s capacity), Ted’s advice on how to solve the problem, and then Alex implementing said advice and making progress on turning around his business and transforming it into something much more valuable. There are numerous lessons that Ted uses to lead Alex to a successful sale. All are valuable, but all are tethered to creating a standard offering and process that’s easy to control, price, and sell. In Alex’s case, it’s a 5-step logo design process that he offers and delivers to clients. It helps Alex to specialize his business which makes it easier to standardize his sales process, which leads to more recurring revenue, and align his company’s resources (e.g., staffing, internal operating model). It’s a effectively a system for turning services into products.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Angela Lam

    This book uses a fable to illustrate what it takes to structure/build a business that can run without you and hence be sold. Basically, there are 8 steps and 20 tips of what to look out for along the way. The 8 steps are (paraphrased) are: 1. Develop a Standard Service Offering 2. Build a Positive Cash Flow Cycle 3. Hire a Sales Team 4. Stop accepting projects outside of your Standard Service Offering 5. Launch a Long-Term Incentive Plan for the Management Team 6. Find a Suitable Broker 7. Inform your This book uses a fable to illustrate what it takes to structure/build a business that can run without you and hence be sold. Basically, there are 8 steps and 20 tips of what to look out for along the way. The 8 steps are (paraphrased) are: 1. Develop a Standard Service Offering 2. Build a Positive Cash Flow Cycle 3. Hire a Sales Team 4. Stop accepting projects outside of your Standard Service Offering 5. Launch a Long-Term Incentive Plan for the Management Team 6. Find a Suitable Broker 7. Inform your Management Team 8. Convert the offer(s) into a binding deal The tips range from what to consider when you build your standard offerings, structure your pricing for positive cashflow to the types of brokers to look for. This is more like an intro to selling a small firm. If you're relatively unfamiliar with the process involved (which is the case for me), then you may find some good insights on what to expect, e.g. what type of offers you may expect, the pitfalls to avoid, the painful due diligence processes etc. But if you're already very familiar with the VC, M&A or business acquisitions, then this book may seem simplistic at best. The story of how Alex transformed his business from a jack-of-all-trades marketing agency to a logo-creation specialist is also simplistic, but it does the job of illustrating the the underlying ideas and processes. A relatively easy read if you run a small business, especially a service firm, and want to free up your own time and/or develop exit options. Book summary at; https://readingraphics.com/book-summa...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    It turns out that the same thing that makes a business efficient and scalable is also what makes it sellable. Do one thing really well through a repeatable process that can be sold and fulfilled by the people you hire and train and you have a business you can sell. The "business parable" format of the book made it easy to listen to the audio version and especially easy to stick with the story. As someone who previously worked in an advertising agency, I first had to get past the fact that they we It turns out that the same thing that makes a business efficient and scalable is also what makes it sellable. Do one thing really well through a repeatable process that can be sold and fulfilled by the people you hire and train and you have a business you can sell. The "business parable" format of the book made it easy to listen to the audio version and especially easy to stick with the story. As someone who previously worked in an advertising agency, I first had to get past the fact that they were specializing in $10,000 logo creation, a service that can now be found for a few dollars or even on a free app. The lesson - which was not part of the book - is, when you choose a specialization, think clearly about the impact that technology could have on the future of that specialty. But my history in the advertising industry also made the underlying message of the book even more powerful. A generalized, service-based business built around the founder/owner is not very sellable. If you want to sell you business, read this as early in the process as possible. But, like I said at the beginning, a business is sellable because it's functioning properly. So, if you want a properly-functioning business, this book is for you, too. This book came at a good time for me, because that's what I'm working on right now.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Yves TheMist

    If you're freelancing and/or building a business and you're tired of running around, whacking the moles as they show up, this book is for you. This may sound like an intro to Sam Carpenter's "Work the System" review, and for a good reason; Built to Sell sharing a lot of common concepts with it, with the difference of being more romanced; more comprehensive, less instructional and guided. The book tells the story of Alex, a marketing agency owner, struggling under the workload, that will eventually If you're freelancing and/or building a business and you're tired of running around, whacking the moles as they show up, this book is for you. This may sound like an intro to Sam Carpenter's "Work the System" review, and for a good reason; Built to Sell sharing a lot of common concepts with it, with the difference of being more romanced; more comprehensive, less instructional and guided. The book tells the story of Alex, a marketing agency owner, struggling under the workload, that will eventually decide to sell his business, with the help of his Mentor, Ted, that will drastically change the business model to automate it and build it's value up. I really appreciated how easy and smooth of a read it was; finished in 2h, the story made it very relatable to my own situation and shed lights on quite a few problems I had in blind spots. Not being into books so much usually, this read did bring me a lot of value under many forms; from the technicalities of the changes in the model, to automation, passing by HR and an introduction to financial law; Definitely a lot of things guarantee I'm going to implement right now. A book I will definitely recommend to all my entrepreneur friends!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Noer

    In this short book, John Warrillow explains a process for how one can organise their business in order to make it as sellable as possible. However, he does so by way of storytelling. The story follows Alex Stapleton, who owns his own small-time marketing agency. It's operational, but Alex is unhappy: it seems that he needs to be involved in every part of the process. He's always out meeting clients, selling his services and communicating with all his employees. At a certain point it becomes too m In this short book, John Warrillow explains a process for how one can organise their business in order to make it as sellable as possible. However, he does so by way of storytelling. The story follows Alex Stapleton, who owns his own small-time marketing agency. It's operational, but Alex is unhappy: it seems that he needs to be involved in every part of the process. He's always out meeting clients, selling his services and communicating with all his employees. At a certain point it becomes too much so he decides to ask advice from Ted, an old-time friend and very successful business owner, who'd sold 4 businesses successfully. By way of small "challenges" Ted gives Alex, the reader gets taken on an adventure of how to take a business from a service company to a product company. The basic idea is that most small businesses can't operate without the involvement of the owner. This is because there's a lack of shared vision, no strong management team and no repeatable process to create and sell products. Instead Alex's business needed to do a couple things: to focus more on 1 thing only, and creating a clear process that would allow products to be manufactured without owner involvement. All the tips Warrillow mentioned are nothing crazy. In my opinion it can be boiled down to one thing: how can you make your business as close to a consistent, self-sustaining money generator, so that another company can just take over and keep it going without any profit loss.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Doug Hill

    Pretty good listen (audio book). Author used the story of a business to apply the principles/tips of the book. Story moved along, setting up the situations to apply the principles/tips, then applied the principle to the benefit of the business and owner. Unlike many authors that use this approach, the story kept moving, did not take bizarre off ramps simply to setup a situation, and the general business/story was compelling and believable so continued listening was pretty easy. The author did a g Pretty good listen (audio book). Author used the story of a business to apply the principles/tips of the book. Story moved along, setting up the situations to apply the principles/tips, then applied the principle to the benefit of the business and owner. Unlike many authors that use this approach, the story kept moving, did not take bizarre off ramps simply to setup a situation, and the general business/story was compelling and believable so continued listening was pretty easy. The author did a good job of making me look at his points from a different perspective. I won't say there as anything radical or new, but the story and presentation in the context of a single business as it applied principles/tips and, subsequently, evolving to the next stage of business operation allows for application to the readers own experiences. Nicely done.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    This book definitely held plenty of value, but the majority of it was within the Implementation Guide, found only in the last 40 pages of the book. If I were reading the book to enjoy a fictional story, I would have rated it one star. Thankfully, I was reading it for helpful and useful business tips and information. Ted's tips and advice to Alex can definitely be applied into real businesses, and these were the snippets that kept me reading. The dialogue and description throughout this book was s This book definitely held plenty of value, but the majority of it was within the Implementation Guide, found only in the last 40 pages of the book. If I were reading the book to enjoy a fictional story, I would have rated it one star. Thankfully, I was reading it for helpful and useful business tips and information. Ted's tips and advice to Alex can definitely be applied into real businesses, and these were the snippets that kept me reading. The dialogue and description throughout this book was sufficiently cringeworthy, making it seem as though the author typically writes in a non-fiction, matter-of-fact style. Because of this, the non-fiction section in the back of the book read in a much more natural fashion. Overall, there was much to glean from this book that is definitely worth noting, despite the poor flow throughout the novel.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ponn Virulrak

    Help me set direction on my career. I have gone through M&A experiences of my own without any planning and it became a disaster for relationship between me and the buyer. Even though I have made a very good deal but it's still feel that I did not really fulfill my part of commitment for them. If I can turn back time I would change many things on thr agreement. I had a retroactive wishlist that I would change. When I have read this book, I think the checklist become even longer and clearer. I hope Help me set direction on my career. I have gone through M&A experiences of my own without any planning and it became a disaster for relationship between me and the buyer. Even though I have made a very good deal but it's still feel that I did not really fulfill my part of commitment for them. If I can turn back time I would change many things on thr agreement. I had a retroactive wishlist that I would change. When I have read this book, I think the checklist become even longer and clearer. I hope that I had found this book way before we have made the deal. However, looking forward towards the future, this book would helped me set the course for my next venture, wish is to have entrapreneurs build their company in a professional way with the benefit of both buyers and sellers. Thanks John Warrilow for this contribution to public.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Harpham

    If you wanted to sell you business this year, would you have any buyers? That's the powerful question that informs this book. Much like Patrick Lencioni's books, this book is told through a parable - the tale of an advertising agency owner who decides to reinvent his business with a mentor so he can sell it. I wasn't sure if the story approach would work for me initially but it did a wonderful job. In the second section of the book, the author shares more about his experience building and sellin If you wanted to sell you business this year, would you have any buyers? That's the powerful question that informs this book. Much like Patrick Lencioni's books, this book is told through a parable - the tale of an advertising agency owner who decides to reinvent his business with a mentor so he can sell it. I wasn't sure if the story approach would work for me initially but it did a wonderful job. In the second section of the book, the author shares more about his experience building and selling companies. This "build to sell" approach is also valuable even if you do not want to sell because it gets you out of "the trenches" of doing the business. For the best results, pair this book with "The Automatic Customer."

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