TL;DR – Built To Sell

About The Author

John Warrillow, a renowned entrepreneur, author, and speaker, is popularly known for his remarkable work on the “Built to Sell” concept. The term refers to building a business with the intention of selling it at a future point. 

In his book, Warrillow offers pragmatic guidance on how to construct an enterprise that is appealing to potential buyers. This includes creating a business model that can scale efficiently, cultivating a proficient team, and establishing a robust brand identity.

Warrillow is also a co-founder of The Value Builder System, a company that assists entrepreneurs in enhancing their business value. Additionally, he has successfully sold four of his own ventures.


John Warrillow delves into the different elements that can influence the triumph of a business and how to create a prosperous enterprise that functions without the proprietor in his book, “Built to Sell”. Drawing upon his vast expertise in the corporate world, Warrillow constructs a fictional tale that tracks the journey of a fictitious entrepreneur, Alex Stapleton. 

With the aid of Ted’s guidance, Alex can convert his company from a liability that has no value to a thriving business that has a worth of $5 million. Additionally, Warrillow offers a step-by-step plan that can assist readers in carving their own path towards success.

TL;DR – Executive Summary of Built To Sell

  • Alex built Stapleton Agency – an advertising agency with 7 employees. His best designer, Sarah, who was working on the project for a major client was quitting. Alex was also contemplating to sell his agency which is not doing well financially. Fortunately, he met Ted, a wealthy entrepreneur who had sold several companies, who advised Alex that selling the agency would be difficult without making major changes.
  • Ted suggested Alex to focus on his agency forte – designing logos; which they create using a 5-step process. Ted also reminded Alex that he should not bring in a client that will account more than 15% of the company’s total revenue – in perspective, the major client (which Sarah was handling) contributed 40% of the agency’s revenue! Alex then created a sell sheet detailing his logo design process – he was surprised that new clients were hooked when they know about the logo design process and asked for proposal subsequently.
  • Ted advised Alex to focus on processes that allow him to have 100% control of his company ie. getting client to pay in advance.
  • Also, Alex got to assemble a quality team (emphasis on the sales team) for business continuity if he wanted to sell the company at a higher price.
  • Ted got Alex to write down the price ($5-million; though it was currently worth only $500K) and put it in an envelope which he can refer to in future.
  • Ted told Alex he should reward the employees loyalty by implementing a long-term plan and a raise. The company’s revenue reached over $2-million after some time. Despite the positive financial condition, Ted suggested Alex to wait for a few more years before selling the company to a big company (to eliminate any competition).
  • Ted advised Alex to think of big company like Starbucks and wanted him to be creative and bold. In his second draft, he projected the company’s revenue to be in the range of $12 million. 
  • Ted suggested to Alex that he should give his team a one-time bonus instead of stock options to avoid complication. Alex promised a $10K bonus when the company had been sold.
  • Alex was thrilled to receive a $6 million acquisition offer but later turned into disappointment (and anger) when the potential buyer lowered the buyout price to $5 million. Ted then got Alex to open the envelope that he had hidden a year ago. He sold the company at $5 million soon after.

John Warrillow adopts a theoretical approach to present Ted’s Tips, sharing diverse business advice and storytelling. While this method may not apply to all kinds of businesses, the majority of the advice is universally applicable. The author also enumerates the most significant tips in Ted’s Tips.

The characters’ interactions in the book may seem robotic, nevertheless, they provide Warrillow with all the necessary elements to explain the plot. Additionally, Warrillow presents a summary of Ted’s Tips and recommends a couple of readings.

This book proves particularly useful for entrepreneurs aiming to sell their businesses in the future, as it outlines how to construct an attractive business that will fetch a high price. Many readers have also commended the book for its emphasis on practical advice and strategies entrepreneurs can utilize when constructing an attractive business for potential buyers.

To gain a deeper understanding and to show your support for the author, purchase the book or acquire the audiobook for free from Amazon.

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