Built to Sell - Summary and Key Ideas

"Built to Sell" is about creating a business that can thrive without the owner, making it a valuable and sellable asset. It provides a framework and action plan for business owners to ensure their businesses are among the desired 1% that can be sold.

The target group of "Built to Sell" are entrepreneurs and business owners who are interested in creating a business that can thrive without them, and potentially be sold in the future.

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Built to Sell

Key ideas


The paradox of entrepreneurship lies in building a business that can flourish without its founder.


The chaotic nature and owner-dependency of many small businesses, coupled with "bad revenue" from unscalable projects, hinder their growth and sale potential.

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Navigating daily challenges and managing underperforming team members pose significant obstacles to business scalability.

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The recipe for scaling: Sticking to the core competency, calculating the market potential, hiring two sales reps and aligning the team's skills.

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Ignore the financial statement in the year of the transition and have two years of successful statements before selling.

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A loyal and committed management team is needed to demonstrate to potential acquirers that the business can run without the owner.

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A specialized advisor for the whole sales process can be crucial for making the best deal.

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The Sales-Srategy: Think big, frame the business as a product-oriented, scalable entity and prefer strategic buyers.

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The right answer to "Why do you want to sell your business?" conveys a vision for the business.

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Involving the management team in the business sale process not only eases the transition but also adds value for the potential acquirer by ensuring business continuity.

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Keeping the momentum and knowing when to apply strategic pressure in the due diligence process helps to finalize the deal.

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Summary & Review

John Warrillow's "Built to Sell" is a guide to creating a business that can thrive without its owner. The book follows the story of Alex Stapleton, a business owner who wants to sell his successful advertising agency. The narrative explores the process of making a business sellable, highlighting the importance of systematizing operations, focusing on a specialized service, and building a management team that can run the business independently.

John Warrillow

John Warrillow is a Canadian entrepreneur and speaker, known for his expertise in business value and scalability. He is the founder of The Value Builder System™, a software for improving the value of a company.

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