Built to Sell
Create a business that can stand on its own
Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You, by John Warrillow, is a handbook disguised as a short story. Written in a direct and flowing style, the author illustrates the crucial steps that a business owner needs to take to unshackle themselves from their business so that it can stand on its own when they are looking to sell it to an interested party. Warrillow uses his personal entrepreneurial experience and knowledge of the business world to provide concrete examples. The reader follows the story of fictional character, Alex Stapleton, and his advertising agency, as he goes through the eight-step process, towards his final goal: a company that is not dependant on its owner, that is specialised in a service or product, and that generates fantastic profit – a company that is sellable.
Many useful tips to:
- Revisit your company’s product and service offerings.
- Develop the resources that can help grow your business to make it increasingly independent from the owner.
- Understand what factors make a company sellable and what changes can be made to this end.
Everyone wants to sell, but only a few know how: why many companies can’t find a buyer
What characteristics make a company enticing to potential buyers? John Warrillow has no doubts about what they are: firstly, it needs to be able to run smoothly and yield a return, even without the business owner that started it. To explain and support his thesis, Warrillow tells the story of a fictional character, Alex Stapleton, who is the owner of an advertising agency. Alex loves his work, however he wants to spend more time with his family, have more freedom, and economic security.
He starts entertaining the idea of selling his business, and to find out exactly what that would entail, he turns to Ted Gordon, a family friend with experience and a knack for business. They begin by looking the Stapleton Agency over, which is currently at a standstill: the majority of the agency’s income comes from a few, big clients, all of which are accustomed to having frequent contact with him (including the smaller clients) to manage their relationship. If things were to continue in this way, Alex would have no hope of cutting ties with his business, and even less of seeing it grow. Ted offers to mentor him and guide him through the necessary changes that need to be made to transform his business into a flourishing agency, ready to be presented to a potential buyer.
The key ideas of "Built to Sell"
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