Book Buzz: Built to Sell

Cindi Filer's review of Built to Sell, by John Warrillow

"Your business is worth nothing."  Most business owners don't want to hear that from a business broker.  We assume that we have been trudging through this business ownership for years and that there is a pot of gold at the end.  But, what are we doing with that in mind?

This book is told in story form - kind of like the One Minute Manager.  It goes through the fictional story of an adverstising company business owner who decides to sell his business  - only to discover that as a result of how he has built his company, it is worth nothing.  Then, a business coach (fairy godmother type) works with him once each week for 18 months to make his business sellable with great profit.  The author's advice hinges on several points:

  • Don't be a generalist - be a specialist at something in your business you are best at
  • Make sure that no one client makes up more than 15 percent of your revenue
  • Make the business less dependent on you, the owner
  • Charge up front or use progress billing to improve cash flow
  • Track your conversion rate
  • Two sales reps are better than one because they compete
  • Stop taking projects that fall outside your standard service offering

I thought the points in this book were good and the way the author wrote the story made it easy to sit with a pad of paper, take each point and figure out how that concept could be applied to my own business.  As I read, I found myself making "to do" lists on my pad of paper, and when done with the book, I had things that I thought I could do with my business structure.  

I'll call this a worthwhile read because it made me take some time to focus on a long-term goal - making sure I am walking down a correct path. 

I read pretty fast, but for me this was a one-sitting, 2 hour book.

Read with a pad of paper and pen and take 10 minutes after every chapter to write how it applies to your business.