Built To Sell Book Summary

Built to Sell

By: John Warrillow

Well this was a great book. Hurricane Irma allowed me to read it in one go and I was entranced! It goes through in story format on how to position your company to sell. Instead of a summary, I’m just going to list the 17 tips he gives on positioning your business to either sell it or have it run itself. Definitely worth a read on your own though.

  1. Don’t generalize; specialize. Focus on doing one extremely well instead of spreading your talents thin.

  2. No one client should make up 15 percent of your revenue.

  3. Own a process as it makes it easier to pitch and puts you in control.

  4. Don’t become synonymous with your company. If your buyers aren’t confident that your business can you without you in charge, they won’t make their best offer.

  5. Charge up front for you product, don’t wait 60-90 days to get paid.

  6. Don’t be afraid to say no to projects that aren’t in your wheelhouse.

  7. Take time to figure out how many pipeline prospects will likely leads to sales.

  8. Two sales reps are always better than one. Salespeople are competitive and when you have two, they’ll both be more successful.

  9. Hire people who are good at selling products, not services.

  10. Ignore your profit and loss statement in your first year of implementing some of these changes.

  11. You need at least 3 years of standardizing your offer before you sell your company.

  12. Build a management team and offer them long term incentive plans that rewards their personal performance and loyalty.

  13. Find an adviser for whom you will be neither their largest nor their smallest client.

  14. Avoid an advisor who offers to broker a discussion with one single client.

  15. Think big. Write a 3 year business plan that paints a picture of what’s possible for your business.

  16. If you want to be a sellable, product-oriented business, you need to talk like one. Change words like clients to customers and firm to business.

  17. Don’t issue stock options to retain key employees after an acquisition. It just makes things really complicated.


Obviously these are short versions and if you look further into them, I think you’ll get as excited as I was when I read the book. Enjoy!