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

John Warrillow
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 3 2011
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.

Frequently Bought Together

Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You + The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It
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“John Warrillow's story gets business leaders to focus on a critical question: If others wouldn't pay a fortune for your business, do you have a business worth growing? This is essential reading for owners looking to build a valuable business.”  —Verne Harnish, founder, Gazelles, and author, The Rockefeller Habits

“Your business just might be worthless if you don't read this book.”  —John Jantsch, author, Duct Tape Marketing

“Small businesses need this book. So many business owners have the dream of building a business that's bigger than themselves, and getting away from the tyranny of constantly putting out fires. John's book is an entertaining, to-the-point way of showing them how to do it.”  —Anita Campbell, editor in chief, Small Business Trends

“Having built and sold four successful companies, John knows the secrets to creating a sellable business.”  —The E-Myth Worldwide

“Covering every important aspect of the process, from attracting multiple bidders to getting the most for your business, this book easily explains what you must know and do if you want to create a business you can sell. “  —Steve Strauss, USA Today

“One of the strengths of the book is the continuity. It was great following Alex through his trials and tribulations. Very real life. I fully intend on sharing with my customers and TEC.  I'm sure it will be a tremendous success!”  —Bruce Hunter, chair, TEC (Vistage) Canada

“Any current or aspiring service business owner should read Built to Sell and take heed of John Warrillow's valuable lessons and Alex Stapleton's enriching and engaging experience.”  —Mike Handelsman, general manager, Bizbuysell.com

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John Warrillow is an entrepreneur, speaker, the founding producer of a nationally syndicated radio feature Today’s Entrepreneur and the author of Drilling for Gold. Bo Burlingham is the editor at large of Inc. magazine and the author of The Knack, Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, and A Stake in the Outcome. He lives in Berkeley, California.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Built To Sell is simply required reading for anyone that has their own business or thinking of starting one. After reading only a few pages of the book I realized I had found my new religion for my business. The author does an amazing job of presenting a clear picture of the reality for most entrepreneurs ' a slightly chaotic business that can not run without them. Being an entrepreneur since age 10 , this book gave me a clear picture of how and (more importantly) why it is necessary to structure the business to run in a systematic way that does not depend on my input and efforts. If I had read this earlier in life I am sure the outcome of several other businesses would be have much better.

Running a business like "Alex " the main character in the book, is like realizing you are an alcoholic that needs help' after reading the book you know you will probably still be drunk for a while but with a lot of hard work and following the plan things will get better fast.

The only mistake of this book is that it does not cost more. The lessons are so valuable that I can't believe the selling price!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Built to Sell Nov. 4 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Awesome and simple narrative to make you think about your business and what is required to make your business sellable. Building a strong product line and systems is critical to making your business attractive to potential buyers. Transitioning your sale makes the business not only more viable but in many cases more profitable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book Aug. 29 2010
By 123
This is an excellent book. Easy to read. It's perhaps a little simplistic, but nevertheless is to the point.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Format July 17 2011
As is very rare in my 18 hour work day, I found myself clearing my evening-schedule and completing this book in one sitting. Built To Sell is inspiring, insightful, and entertaining. Even though it was a "preaching to the choir" affair with me, I found the book a practical story to relate as indicative of all the facets of changing to, or building, the Design Thinking organization. I would recommend this book to anyone that is wishing to develop an organization that is designed to efficiently operate instead of, or in-place of, one that is centered around some key human-assets' participation; it is possibly one of five that I feel that strongly about.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  211 reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's about creating value, not selling your business April 29 2011
By LKL in Santa Fe - Published on Amazon.com
The only thing wrong with this book is the title. "Built To Sell" is catchy but the book is really about how to create value in a business that's separate from you, the owner. Sure, if you want to sell your business, you need to do that, but you need to do it for the good of the business whatever your plans. "Built To Sell" is about creating business value, whether you're going to sell or not. It's also a great read. It's told as a story. That's not unusual today in a business book, but most are clunky efforts that make you wince. Not this one. I read it on a flight and kept reading at the airport when I disembarked, just to finish it. I have a little business now and during the 80s and 90s I ran a business that sold to little businesses around the country (we had a million customers). I know this market -- every small business owner should read this book.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light at the End of the Tunnel May 23 2010
By Rosebud Book Reviews - Published on Amazon.com
Built to Sell
by John Warrillow
flipjetmedia, 2010
160 pages, $25.95

This is a book every entrepreneur must read, whether or not they are going to sell their business. Years ago I read a book stating that there are people good at starting an enterprise, those who can make it profitable, others who excel at sustaining it and finally, a unique few individuals who can figure out how to profitably get out from under it. A business needs all four. This book dramatizes how one person can accomplish each of these steps. As someone who ran a small ad agency for ten years like the one used as an example, I didn't see the slightest misstep in this examination of the ups and downs of owning a business. We all need a light at the end of the tunnel.

According to the author the secret to business success seems to be to move from a service provider to providing a unique product (or product-like service). Two problems: 1) There are businesses that don't follow this model that are successful, 2) Things change and the context in which these products are offered is variable.

Oh, how I wish I could have had this book back then! These are the elements a business owner needs to come to terms with (and some of the reasons why he or she has a hard time doing that). $[...] is expensive for a little book, but it is the best business investment you will ever make.

Buy It: X Library: Skip It:

John Lehman, [...]
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Built To Sell April 28 2011
By Ted Matthews - Published on Amazon.com
This is an amazing tool. Finally someone has cracked the code on what it takes to have a saleable business. I have created and sold 2 businesses - the hard way, without maximizing my return - I am now reengineering my current business with Warrillow's guidance, so I don't make the same mistakes again. This book is a quick, (who's got time?) fun, easy read, full of simple to GET principles. You can start to effect positive change the minute you put it down. My tip: Buy a few copies, for each of your senior people - you won't want to wait for this one to be passed around!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you own a service business, read this book. Sept. 24 2011
By Stephen V. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
"Built To Sell" is less a manual on how to sell your service business and more an examination of how you are operating on a daily basis. 'A check up from the neck up,' as Zig Ziglar would say. I came to this book not hoping to sell my business any time soon, but rather to find insight on ways to structure my company so that it is less dependent on me for day-to-day operations. This book hit the target. After reading the print version in one evening, I downloaded the audio version through my Audible account. My wife and I listened to it as we drove several hours to a conference. She normally does not enjoy audio books because they do not keep her attention like reading the printed word. With "Built To Sell," we stayed fully engaged, often pausing the recording to discuss certain points. This material became the filter through which we took in new information at the conference we attended. This ultimately led to some major business decisions that are changing the operations and direction of our firm.

BOTTOM LINE: If you own a service business, you owe it to yourself, your family and your employees to read this book. Yes, even it you have no intentions of selling. It will help you improve your company.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great for business owners April 3 2011
By Book Him Danno - Published on Amazon.com
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.
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