#80/111: Built To Sell

What is it about?

It took me fifteen years to build this service company, now I want to retire and spend more time with my kids. But how? Even if you aren’t going to sell your company immediately, John Warrillow will show you how to make your company sellable and your job as a CEO more comfortable. I will focus a bit more on service companies because for most products companies these things are obvious.

What can I learn?

Recurring revenue and a repeatable sales process: A main key to increase the value of your company is to create recurring revenue. It could be subscriptions, consumer goods or long-term contracts. This helps you to create a more consistent cash flow and less short-term liabilities. Furthermore, your sales process should be repeatable. Try to create a product which could be sold without (much) customization and hire at least two sales people. Why two? Because they love competition! In the book, the owner of a creative agency, created a simple five step process to sell and create logos.

Hire managers: If you created your product, you are probably going to scale your business a bit. Besides the two sales people, you may want to focus more on your product and hire more people how are awesome at creating your product. After some time you may increase your sales force and the amount of creators. Instead of managing them by yourself, hire/promote people to managers. Your goal is to sell this company or at least make you dispensable. 

Sell big: If you finally decided to sell your company, you should look for brokers which help your sell your company. Later when talking to the future owners you should emphasize on the possibilities your company offers. You created a great management team, a repeatable sales process and product and it could be scaled to the unlimited. Sell big and sell a superb vision of what could be.


Built To Sell is an awesome book! I love the story about the agency owner who wants to sell his company. It reminded me of the E-Myth but here’s the story is a bit deeper and more interesting. The second part of the book explains each principle again in detail. Awesome book and clear recommendation!

#22/111: Eyeballs Out

What is it about?

What is life about on an aircraft carrier? And how can it be applied to business? Donna Sturgess experienced this for her own for two days and wrote about her discoveries she made.

Key points?

Create thrill: Often big organizations lack of risk-taking people. If you want to turn risk-averse people into risk-taking people you should try to create thrill. Introduce new concepts, let people take risks for themselves. This action can revitalize your company.

Immerse yourself: One key point of IDEO’s success is observing the consumer. Mrs Sturgess recommends a similar concept. You should immerse yourself into a new setting (e.g. NASCAR racing, glassblowing). This allows you to get a new vantage point which probably results into new ideas.

Use games: I really like this point. Use games – built a game-like environment. That is, you can use badges for achievements, e.g. first 100 sales, first product shipped or first marketing campaign launched. Furthermore, she proposes to use more interactive strategy games for business (maybe realtime?). It’s an vague idea but somehow really cool and exciting.

Empower young employees: Empowerment isn’t new to business but this approach is. On the USS Stennis (the aircraft carrier) the average sailor is 20 years old and they got a lot of responsibility. In companies, the average age is usually much higher. But if you don’t allow young people to learn and take responsibility, you don’t empower them.


This book is pretty short but got some really great ideas. I can’t really estimate the impact because it was published this year though I think that it can improve the business world. In conclusion, read it for yourself and decide if it is worth or not.