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Publisher's Summary

A business parable about how to create a start-up that won't trap you when you want to sell it. According to John Warrillow, the number one mistake entrepreneurs make is to build a business that relies too heavily on them. Thus, when the time comes to sell, buyers aren't confident that the company-even if it's profitable-can stand on its own. To illustrate this, Warrillow introduces us to a fictional small business owner named Alex who is struggling to sell his advertising agency. Alex turns to Ted, an entrepreneur and old family friend, who encourages Alex to pursue three criteria to make his business sellable:

  • Teachable: focus on products and services that you can teach employees to deliver.
  • Valuable: avoid price wars by specializing in doing one thing better than anyone else.
  • Repeatable: generate recurring revenue by engineering products that customers have to repurchase often.

©2011 John Warrilow (P)2011 Gildan Media Corp

What listeners say about Built to Sell

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    4 out of 5 stars

A information loaded fairytale

A lot of wise advice with some sales speak. An interesting story throughout with a concise summary in the last chapter. I listen to this book many more times.

1 person found this helpful

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Great content

Great short book with easy to understand and actionable steps. recommended for any startup. Content is Great, but the narrators voice is terrible and irritating, but if you can push through and get used to it, it is great and worth it.

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Fine art of storytelling to educate and inspire

The author has created a story describing definitive, smart, useful business principles in such a relatable way by taking us on the journey of the struggling business owner. I consider this a must-listen title for any business owner who wants to sell their business one day; or have the option to.
Particularly useful are Ted Tips along the way to summarise key points, and converting a service-based business to a product-based businesses.

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  • Dee
  • 17-10-2020

New Perspective

This is my first book on how to shift your mindset from “owning” and build a company forever to scale up and sell. Great book, clear steps from the case study and I love the narrator too.

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simple and insightful

extremely easy to grasp tips and points. insightful. counter intuitive in some levels. a good glimpse as to what makes a business sellable. it's a satisfying read

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Great Read

A must read for any entrepreneur. Great read when you are starting out which can save you a lot of headaches.

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excellent stories

i'm looking to see how to build business. this book is excellent for people looking to build a business and hoping to be less involved. look the process how Alex from the book use to be full hands on to less hands on and more self manage by his staff selling one thing . def a listen to

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    5 out of 5 stars

A little slow to get in to, but then LOVED IT!

Great tips on how to grow and sell a business, including staff management. Was sad when it was over, will be re-listening when the time comes for me to action the next step on getting my business ready for sale.

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Good but...

30% of this book offers some excellent advice especially for startups in this day and age; the other 70% is really just drivel.

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Worth listening to BUT don't sell just logos :)

Being the owner of a group of companies (for 40 years) that include services making logos and customers art. Due to technology, I would have gone bankrupt doing what John has suggested in the book by just doing logos. We create them for free. It's part of the service. I agree with standardisation but.....
Getting past this, the book is well designed and worth listening to. Creating a Unique selling proposition is what young John was actually advising and that is exemplified at the end of the book. John knows what he is talking about and I fully empathise with his cash flow experiences. Government and banks are the worst payers. People, Banks have credit cards and they can use them...

BtS Chapter 16 is the one that you should listen to and listen to on a weekly basis.
I am now working on a 10-year plan to sell, my group. Prob in parts
I am glad I listened to this book.


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  • M. Muin
  • 23-05-2012

Good content, Very bad narration

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I'd recommend buying the real book--not listening to this audio book.

Would you be willing to try another book from John Warrillow? Why or why not?

Yes.

Would you be willing to try another one of Erik Synnestvedt’s performances?

I'd avoid him as much as possible if I can.

Any additional comments?

It was hard to digest the content when you are distracted by the whiny voice that stops/starts without context of the whole sentence or paragraph.

54 people found this helpful

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  • RayChu
  • 17-02-2013

Narrator is awful!

Ex of voice: Helloh thereuh. How are youuuah? Wellah. Iam fiynuhhh. Thank youahh.

The entire book is like this!!!

The way the narrator speaks is the way they make fun of public speakers. A voice that is comically used in a way that we feel the person is full of themselves, having bloated sentences that extend the last letters of the word. At first I thought it was a joke, then I knew it was legit and it is VERY hard to listen to. Very obnoxious. Hard to listen to! Preview it and see if you can handle it. I wish I had...

The book is fine, the narrator blows it.

88 people found this helpful

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  • Mike
  • 01-08-2012

Surprisingly informational with good tips

What did you love best about Built to Sell?

I wasn't sure I would like a fictional company story and tips weaved into this format. It went into good detail and the expert friend, Ted, had good and fairly complex tips. The fictional company was fairly realistic and I liked the part when the seller was fumbling over why he was selling to potential buyers.

The narrator is a little pole smokey. I have heard him on one other audio book and his delivery is smarmy. The end of most of his sentences sound like questions. You might want to listen to the 5 min sample to make sure you can handle this narrator.

The content is good for all level of business owners.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Brian Clarke
  • 09-12-2014

Get past the Narrator and it's Excellent!

Any additional comments?

I read a few comments about the narrator but chose to listen anyway. The same guy reads Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich". This is an excellent book for an entrepreneur looking to sell their business. The story is well written and the points at the end are very valuable. The next release should have a different narrator.

10 people found this helpful

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  • FilmFilmFilm
  • 21-04-2014

Narration needs to be redone.

What disappointed you about Built to Sell?

I was very excited to get into the content of this book, however, the reader is so impossible to listen to, I can't get past 5 minutes at a time. The way he speaks is such a joke, I'm absolutely impressed the producers of the audiobook actually thought this was a good idea. Ouch. I've never had to write a review like this!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Built to Sell?

I couldn't get past the first few chapters, so I'm moving to the eBook as I still would like to read the book.

20 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Antonio
  • 11-06-2011

Dare I say it... Better then E-Myth

I have over 280 Audible titles 95% of theme are business\personal Development related and I review very or rate very few as many are the same after awhile. This was a stand out title and now has become an absolute favorite Top 3 by far. I just finished my 1st listen and I will be going back over and over again. Anyone is business to sell or not should own this book. There are many easy to follow actionable items that will give great freedom in your business. If E-myth is the entry class this is the advanced course.

29 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 14-07-2014

Great content but HORRIBLE nattation.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

If you're deaf you might be able to cope.

What other book might you compare Built to Sell to and why?

I couldn't tell you, I couldn't absorb the content.

How could the performance have been better?

The narrators voice is incredibly difficult to listen to and completely distracts from the content.

He uses voices that are excessively overblown and has a weird twang that he uses at the end of almost every sentence.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Built to Sell?

The end of every sentence.

Any additional comments?

I don't often write scathing reviews, but the narration of this book REALLY REALLY destroyed what is otherwise a good book.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Robbie Donnelly
  • 17-08-2017

the guys voice was annoying

The guys voice had an unnecessary drawl to it.

It seemed like he was reading Shakespeare or something dramatic in his mind - when this was a book on business.

good overall.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Mike Hanley
  • 04-01-2021

Needs to be re-recorded

Good book that may have been great, but the narrator distracted so much from the story.

Under normal circumstances, I would have stopped listening and returned this book 5 minutes in due to the narrator. But, I really wanted to see what the author had to say. So, I decided to muscle my way through it as a form of personal growth. I figure after 4+ hours of listening to this narrator, I can deal with anything else life throws at me.

3 people found this helpful

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  • J. Hinson
  • 20-03-2019

Worst Narrator

I’ve listened to dozens of audiobooks. This guy has a weird inflection on his words. It’s like he adds an uh after everything. Just listen to the sample and you’ll see. But after speeding it up, it’s not quite as bad.

The content of the book, however, is incredibly valuable content, enjoyable story, and helpful for business owners.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Alex M
  • 07-09-2017

Excellent content let down by terrible narration

I very nearly stopped listening to this book within the first 20 minutes. The narrator has an awkward tone to his voice with a very odd twang to the end of every sentence. How the guy is a professional narrator I do not know. However, the content of the book is great and after sticking with it I came away with a few gems that I will apply to my own business.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Robin Waite
  • 16-10-2013

Excellent

Simple story well written and well told. Very inspirational and it has been a catalyst for a lot of change within my business. Thoroughly recommend this to anyone who is looking to scale or sell their business.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anthony
  • 23-01-2019

AWFUL NARRATION! - But overall ok content.

Now I know you should not focus on a narrator too much (not really true I guess in Audible) but my point is not to moan about things too much....but....and it's a huge but....

This narrators inflections or whatever they call it when you go up at the end of words, like Australians, is just utterly distracting and weird, you have to listen to understand....

To the point that I literally focus on his annoying speaking style than the content.

I literally can't train myself quickly enough to not dislike his style, and just listen to the story.

My advice.

Try it for yourself, it's amusing at least but I find annoying at the same time, but clearly weakens the overall experience of this potentially much better Audible book,

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ethan Hammond
  • 29-07-2019

Please fire this narrator.

This book came highly recommended to me, and a quick overview of the book makes me think it is filled with great information. I am sure it is a fantastic book. But I wont find out until later on when I decide to purchase the physical book because the guy reading it, Erik Synnestvedt, is so atrociously disgusting to listen to. He is by far the worst narrator I have ever listened to. Practically every single sentence he speaks ends with this weird dragging out of the last syllable. And his voice is quite nasally so whenever he drags out the last sentence, he sounds like he is moaning. It is incredibly awkward. I didnt even make it through the introduction because I just found his voice to be disgusting. Perhaps other people might enjoy his speaking style, but my honest opinion is that he should never do any sort of public speaking if he will be talking like he does in this audiobook.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Steve
  • 04-03-2014

Expert advice for building a scalable business

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If you're looking to develop a scalable business and an asset you can sell, this is THE book that you need to read.

What did you like best about this story?

It shares practical advice to help develop systems that design business owners out of the day-to-day operations of their business and ensure consistency when dealing with customers. Applying this to my business, has paid for the book a thousand times over.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Georgios Athanassiadis
  • 28-02-2021

Great content disrupted by annoying narrator voice

Almost stopped listening after 60seconds of hearing the narrators voice... but, plowed through and ended up enjoying the book. Interesting to hear a business book read as a story with plenty of applicable advice along the way.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tom
  • 15-10-2014

Exit Strategy

This book really highlights the importance of having an exit strategy. So many of us take no notice of when people say have an exit strategy but this book points of why you need one. Written as a story so it is easy to follow along and listen to

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-05-2021

It changed the way I build my business

Now I feel more clear and confident about my business, love the way it is told

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Josea99
  • 20-04-2021

Good parable, annoying narrator

The story had some really good concepts to consider for business owners who either want to sell their business or simply work their way out of the daily grind of working in their business.

The narrator however seems to be doing a bad impersonation of William Shatner playing James T kirk. That stilted style that ends every sentence the same annoying way. And don't get me started on his attempt at an English accent when a Brit enters the story line and his weird pronunciation of certain words.

If you can get past the awful narration the book is actually well worth a listen. I would be tempted to recommend the buying the written word instead of the audible.

Bottom line, book is good, narrator is pretty poor.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • PMc
  • 23-02-2021

Last chapter is all you need

Very lengthy delivery of a very simple message.

Core message is excellent however. I didn’t like the use of stories which were unnecessarily lengthy and full of superfluous details.

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