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Building a business for sellability

When I was in Toronto recently I was fortunate to hear John Warrillow speak. I hadn't heard of him before and so I was a little sceptical at first. However once I learned that he now lives in Aix-en-Provence while training for the Ironman Triathlon after successfully selling four companies, I was fully engaged.

His book “Built To Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You” is recognised by Inc Magazine as one of their best business books and after reviewing his website

Built to Sell, I was even more intrigued by the concept of actually building a business that is true to your vision but can actually thrive without you.

After all when we started our businesses, it was with the concept that it would give us more freedom and independence, not one that demands more hours and less pay than a regular job. However that can easily become the sad reality and even more frightening according to John Warrillow, one that is worthless, if the owner steps out of the picture.

Most entrepreneurs don't even think about selling their business until it's time to leave. Indeed it is your baby that has been created by you, most of the time from nothing but a dream into a tangible reality.

The good news is that it isn't too late for the majority of business owners to tweak current practices. This will not only substantially increase the valuation for a future sale but increase profitability of the company today.

I started by taking his “Sellability Index Quiz” on the site. It asks obvious questions such as:

“Over the past 12 months, what percentage of your revenue was a direct result of your personal sales efforts”

“In your last complete fiscal year, what percentage of your overall revenue did your largest client represent?”

But also more hard-hitting questions such as:

“What do you project your top-line revenue growth to be over the next 12 months?”

“Which of these statements best describes your business plan?”

At the end of the multiple choice quiz you receive an e-mail with the sellability quotient of your company. My guess is that even the most business savvy among us will find areas that we can improve upon.

The quiz, the blog and even a chapter from the book are free and will fire up any entrepreneur with new thoughts and ideas on improving the business today and its sellability factor in the future.

The good news is that even in these troubled times, companies are selling in Bermuda and new entrepreneurs are starting businesses. In tough times, it takes more creativity, more determination and definitely more guts. As John Warrillow himself says:

“If I had to rely on anyone to get me off the side of a mountain, I'd want a creative, tenacious and tough-minded entrepreneur beside me. When I vote, I prefer candidates who have started a business. I believe entrepreneurs will be the ones to solve our biggest problems and bring the developing world the quality of life that Westerners enjoy”

If the great visionary and CEO, Steve Jobs can resign and the US most valuable company, Apple continue, then there is hope for all. With free access to fantastic online resources from someone who has been there such as John Warrillow, there is no reason why we can't also accomplish our dreams and be rewarded for our labours.

Something to read: “Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You” by John Warrillow.

Something to watch: Steve Jobs powerful speech:

How To Live Before You Die

This article was written by Lois Wilson . It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Royal Gazette.

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Published August 30, 2011 at 10:00 am (Updated August 30, 2011 at 10:46 am)

Building a business for sellability

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