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Built to Sell

Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You

By John Warrillow
15-minute read
Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You by John Warrillow

Built to Sell details key strategies for growing a small service company and preparing the business for a future sale. These blinks illustrate these insights by telling the story of Alex Stapleton, owner of a marketing agency, and his advice-giving friend Ted Gordon, who is a successful entrepreneur.

  • Anyone who’s interested in entrepreneurship
  • Business owners thinking about selling their company in the future

John Warrilow has launched and sold four companies on his own. He also devised The Sellability Score, a tool which evaluates how attractive companies are to potential buyers. Fortune and Inc. magazines rated Built to Sell one of the best business titles of 2011.

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Built to Sell

Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You

By John Warrillow
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You by John Warrillow
Synopsis

Built to Sell details key strategies for growing a small service company and preparing the business for a future sale. These blinks illustrate these insights by telling the story of Alex Stapleton, owner of a marketing agency, and his advice-giving friend Ted Gordon, who is a successful entrepreneur.

Key idea 1 of 9

Business success lies in specialization in a single service.

Let’s say you’re an entrepreneur who’s just launched a service business, like a design agency. How can you make it successful? Should you concentrate on one service or take any business you can get – even offers requiring services that aren’t your speciality?

Some people would accept every offer. But that’s not the right strategy for long-term success.

Here’s why: A focus on one service allows clients to see the company’s core strengths. As a result, people will come to you with specific problems that you can solve better than anyone else.

When clients can’t go to other firms to receive the same quality of service, you’re positioned to negotiate higher prices.

Furthermore, when the results are good, clients will recommend you. Word of mouth will earn you new business.

Here’s an example: Alex’s business used to fulfill a broad range of requests – designing brochures, copywriting and search engine optimization. Taking a friend’s advice, Alex decided to concentrate on designing logos. He excelled at the work and his clients loved the product. As a result, Alex became a top logo designer.

There’s another benefit to specializing: It allows you to hire the best people for the job.

Why? Firms that provide multiple services have to hire experts for different fields. Smaller firms can’t afford to hire as many experts. Instead, they hire generalists to execute different tasks.

However, since the employees don’t concentrate on a single field, they can’t deliver the best possible product. The quality never matches what’s produced by other firms, which can employ experts.

Luckily, there’s a solution for smaller companies: by specializing, they can hire a few experts in a single area.

Specializing helps your company produce excellent work, which puts you in a better position to negotiate with clients.

And, perhaps more importantly, your company will run smoothly without too much oversight from you, because everyone will be responsible for discrete tasks.

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