Built to Sell Book Summary - Built to Sell Book explained in key points

Built to Sell summary

John Warrillow

Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You

4.1 (56 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

Built to Sell by John Warrillow is a business book that teaches how to turn a service-based business into a product-based business. It offers practical advice for creating systems that can run without the owner and increase the value of the company.

Table of Contents

    Built to Sell
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 8

    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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    Key ideas in Built to Sell

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    What is Built to Sell about?

    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.

    Built to Sell Review

    Built to Sell (2011) by John Warrillow provides a valuable blueprint for entrepreneurs looking to transform their businesses into valuable assets. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With a clear framework and practical advice, the book guides business owners on how to create a company that can thrive without their constant presence.
    • By sharing real-life case studies and insights from successful entrepreneurs, Warrillow offers valuable examples and inspiration.
    • The book's engaging storytelling keeps readers hooked, ensuring that the topic of building a sellable business is definitely not boring.

    Best quote from Built to Sell

    Clients will never know youre serious about specialization until you say no to other work.

    —John Warrillow
    example alt text

    Who should read Built to Sell?

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

    About the Author

    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 FAQs 

    What is the main message of Built to Sell?

    The main message of Built to Sell is how to turn your business into a valuable asset.

    How long does it take to read Built to Sell?

    Reading time for Built to Sell varies, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Built to Sell a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Built to Sell is worth reading for entrepreneurs who want to build a business that can thrive without them.

    Who is the author of Built to Sell?

    The author of Built to Sell is John Warrillow.