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Built to Sell

By John Warrillow

*A Book Review*

by Michael C. Gray

© 2023 by Michael C. Gray

Owners of service provider businesses face a challenge when they want to transition out of their current business.

Their business might not be marketable. Even if they can find a buyer, they might find the amount they can sell the business for is small when considering the years of effort they gave to build their business.

Also, the terms for sales of service businesses usually include payments over several years, based on actual results, which makes getting paid uncertain and problematic.

The main reason for this unfavorable situation is the owner is the business. The owner sells the services; customers look to the owner to perform the services; the services are customized for each customer; and customers often pay for services sometime after the services are delivered.

Like Elihu Goldratt's book, The Goal, Built to Sell is a fictional story to illustrate business principles - in this case, how an owner of a services business can reposition operations to make the business marketable.

In Built to Sell, business owner Alex Stapleton seeks business coaching advice from a friend, Ted Gordon. Ted is a serial entrepreneur with a track record of building and selling businesses.

With Ted Gordon's guidance, Alex goes through a series of steps, which are sometimes emotionally painful, to make his marketing and advertising agency an attractive acquisition candidate that would sell at many times the amount he could have sold it for at the beginning of the business development process.

When the process was done, the business was no longer dependent on a few demanding big customers; the business looked more like a "product" business that delivered more uniform services; the business had a strong sales force not requiring Alex's participation; the business was paid in advance for services; and the business had a strong team for delivering its "productized" services.

The final dilemma is whether to proceed with the sale or to continue enjoying a more profitable, financially strong and efficient business that works independently of the owner.

Whether you a thinking of selling your business or you want to build a better business, you'll find valuable ideas to implement presented in an easy-to-read story in Built to Sell.

Buy it at Amazon: Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You.

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