Book report – Built to Sell

Jan 9, 2013 | Business

Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You, is a short, inspiring business fable by John Warrillow.

Even if you’re not considering selling your business, it’s great to think that you have a business that you could sell. But, there are some reasons it might not be possible today. This book has a few simple tips about building a company that’s sellable. Or, one that is just profitable and can run without you.

This book is about how to create a valuable business, whether or not you plan on selling your company.

Things I liked about the book

I liked the fact that this book was short – rather than trying to expand the content to fill a “regular size” business book, there was little fluff.

The best part of this book is that each of the key tips was summarized in the “Implementation Guide”. Some of my favorite tips:

Tip #1: Specialize, don’t generalize.
Tip #2: Make sure that no one client makes up too much of your revenue.
Tip #3: Sell a product, not a service.
Tip #4: Don’t be synonymous with your company.
Tip #6: Turn down work that falls outside of your expertise.
Tip #10: Worry about long-term cash flow, not short-term P&L.
Tip #12: Build a management team & give them long-term incentives.
Tip #15: Think big & try to imagine your company in 3 years.

Things I didn’t like about the book

Even though the short-story approach to this book made it easy to digest, sometimes the story was too easy. I found that myself occasionally saying things “Oh yeah, as if you could just hire one new person and they’ll double your revenue in a year“. The story might be possible, but I wish there depth with explanations.

I also wished there had been a bit less emphasis explaining that a product-based business is better than a service-based one, but it didn’t consume too much of the book.

Would I recommend it?

Yes, I think this is a short, easy, and yet provocative read for any business owner.

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