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

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


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

A business parable about how to create a start-up that won't trap you when you want to sell it.

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 specializing in doing one thing better than anyone else.

• Repeatable: generate recurring revenue by engineering products that customers have to repurchase often.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781591843979
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/28/2011
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 8.32(w) x 5.58(h) x 0.74(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

John Warrillow has started and exited four companies and is a sought-after speaker and angel investor. He is a regular contributor, writing about small business, for Inc.com and WSJ.com. Visit builttosell.com

Table of Contents

Foreword vii

Preface xi

Acknowledgements xv

1 A Company in Chaos 1

2 A Worthless Business? 9

3 Putting the Process into Practice 19

4 Pressure from Within 27

5 The Test 36

6 The Candidates 44

7 Growing Pains 52

8 The Number 64

9 Gaining Momentum 70

10 A Blank Check for Growth 82

11 Telling Management 90

12 The Question 97

13 A Sellable Company 104

14 The Finish Line 110

Implementation Guide: How to Create a Business That Can Thrive Without You 115

Summary of Ted's Tips 147

Recommended Reading and Resources 151

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“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

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Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
WesinMD More than 1 year ago
Very useful book. Written in an engaging novel format, the tips to build value for a potential sale are laid out very clearly and the rationale is provided. It has already guided me to decisions to increase my business's value.
NathanIves More than 1 year ago
Built to Sell by John Warrillow highlights the many factors preventing business owners from successfully transitioning away from their companies and how to resolve this situation. All too often, business founders embed themselves within the operational fabric of the company they create; setting it up for failure upon they departure. In his business novel, John defines the business characteristics and operating environment owners must establish in order to later remove themselves from the organization without its subsequent collapse. These include: - offering products and services employees or technologies can deliver in the owner's absence - specializing in doing one thing better than anyone else - creating a stream of recurring revenue because customers need to repurchase often I like Built to Sell because of its actionable insights presented in a easy-to-consume business novel format. Furthermore, I believe John's principles of creating a successful business apply to enterprises of all sizes, whether public or private. I have long warned against the practice of employing `working managers.' (See StrategyDriven Warning Flag - Working Managers.) I feel management is the work of managers and that to focus on other tasks, particularly those that should be performed by subordinates, dilutes the manager's ability to effectively manage; diminishing overall organizational performance and doing a disservice to both the manager and his/her staff. John's book, Built to Sell, presents in principle the actions necessary for every manager to remove him/herself from the day-to-day work of the business so to allow him/her to manage. Subsequently, the manager can be replaced. In John's book, the owner-manager can sell and transition away from the company without its failing. In a corporate setting, the manager can transition via promotion/transfer and the remaining organization continue to operate successfully. I believe the principles presented in Built to Sell are broadly applicable and the book to be an invaluable read for managers at every organizational level. For its quality and actionable insights, Built to Sell is a StrategyDriven recommended read. All the Best, Nathan Ives StrategyDriven Principal
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Rebecca Rehm More than 1 year ago
This book is a good quick read. I'm using it to learn how to better train others and not perform every job in the company.
bookhimdanno More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for the business owners or the person wanting to start a business. The principles are told in the form of a story and it is fast to read yet interesting. Having a business is one thing, but building a business that can work without you is the hard part. How can you run a successful business that will run well without your constant supervision, or run without you completely when you decide to sell? Read this book and find out how. The story reads well, followed by an implementation guide to help you follow the steps. The end is a summary of tips from the story. The story follows a small business owner through his decision to sell. It is interesting and fast to read, now if every business was a success like this one. Many hard decisions were made, but they lead to the outcome the owner desired. Now if I could come up with a business plan. Many businesses are worthless if sold, they are built with the owner as the one that runs everything. Plumbers, electricians, service professionals, it's tough to sell a business that is focused on the owner and worthless without them. How can you change your business to grow and run without you? Read this book and start your business on a whole new path, one that you can take a break from and enjoy the bounty of all your hard work.