I started Warrillow & Co. in 1997 to help big companies understand the small-business market. The company was acquired in 2008. Over those 11 years, I built some relationships with people who work in the world of entrepreneurship—people like Bob Lapointe, the president of Inc. (Inc. magazine, Inc. 500, etc.), Curtis Kroeker, the boss at BizBuySell.com and Wendy Vinson, the president of The E-Myth, the coaching company behind the book of the same name.
A few weeks ago, I went groveling to people like Bob, Curtis and Wendy so I could pull together a package of goodies for you in return for ordering my new book this week. You know the drill: in a world of distracted readers and fragmented media, the week of a book launch—like that of a new movie—can make it or break it. So I leaned hard on my friends, pulled in all my markers and put together what I hope you’ll agree is a nice package of bribes for ordering Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You this week.
If you order one copy of Built to Sell between today and this Saturday, you’ll get five gifts worth a total of about $65 (offer #1):
1. A one-year, complimentary subscription to Inc. magazine
Every time Inc. arrives at my house, I steal away to a quiet corner and crack the spine. I start with Jane Berentson’s letter and then skip right to Norm Brodsky’s column, “Street Smarts.” Norm’s advice is so good that I consider him a mentor even though we’ve never met in person. Then I read Jason Fried’s latest rant. I study the “American Dream” article about the latest business for sale. Then I dig into the cover package. After an hour with Inc., I invariably feel better about my decision to shun corporate life for the wild ride of business building. It’s one part therapy, one part inspiration and one part how-to manual. If you order my book this week, I’ve arranged to get you a complimentary, 12-month subscription to Inc. magazine.
At Warrillow & Co. we held an annual summit each year, and I used to hate listening to paid speakers stand up on stage and give their rehearsed spiel in exactly 45 minutes. I would sit restlessly waiting for the Q&A period. I got to moderate the discussion and always tried to get the speaker to go “off message.” I loved it when someone asked a question so good that the speaker needed to think. It was the gaffes, candid admissions and spontaneity that I craved—which is why I think you’ll like this call. I’m going to answer your questions about building a sellable business. I’ll be direct with you—I’m sure I’ll say things I’ll later regret—and the only thing you won’t get is a rehearsed speech.
When I started my first company, I read The E-Myth, and to this day, it is the book that most profoundly shaped my thinking on what it means to be a successful business owner. The E-Myth is so good that it has become the entrepreneur equivalent of What to Expect When You’re Expecting—practically required reading for business owners. So I asked the coaching company behind the book to develop a special package of content for you that applies the idea of “working on your business, not in it” to building a sellable company. This e-book is not available publicly—it’s just for the people who order my book this week.
4. A free BizBuySell.com valuation report
I used to ask myself two recurring questions when growing my last business: “What is it worth today?” and “If I do x, y and z in the coming years, how much more would it be worth?” If you’ve ever wondered what your company is worth—or what it could be worth down the road—a BizBuySell.com valuation report is your answer. The report takes your key financial data and compares them against recently completed transactions in your industry to develop a benchmark for the multiple being paid for a business like yours. As the Internets largest marketplace of businesses for sale, BizBuySell.com has a deep data set of past deals to draw benchmarks from. If you order a copy of my book this week, you will receive a code to develop a customized BizBuySell.com valuation report for your business. Just plug in your basic financial stats and see what your business might be worth. (The report alone retails between $19.95 and $59.95, depending on the number of comps included).
5. A $25 Kiva.org loan in your honor
I stumbled onto Kiva.org when we, at Warrillow & Co., were looking for a charity to support. I instantly loved its business model. Through a website, it allows people to lend money to aspiring entrepreneurs in the developing world and follow their progress. If I’m ever feeling a little low or something is not going quite right, I make a loan and get an instant pick-me-up—a feeling that I’m helping someone in need and a reminder of how lucky I am to be able to lend. If you order my book this week, I’ll make a $25 loan to a Kiva entrepreneur in your name. You can then follow the entrepreneur’s progress for yourself and see how you’ve helped someone pick him- or herself up by the bootstraps.
So that’s the deal. If you take two minutes now and order the book from Amazon (or Borders, Barnes & Noble, Chapters/Indigo, 800-CEO READ, etc.) for around $16 and forward your order confirmation to rachel@BuiltToSell.com, we’ll get you your package of five complimentary gifts today (please note, the Inc subscription is only available to U.S. residents. If you live outside the U.S., you’ll still get the other four gifts).
Get my advice on your business (offer #2)
Occasionally business owners ask me to consult for them about how to create a sellable business. It probably doesn’t come as a huge surprise to you that I hate the consulting business model. I just think it is flawed on so many levels, which is why I don’t consult.
But for this book launch, I’m bending my rule a bit.
If you have a specific question and want my advice—maybe it’s about valuation or creating a recurring revenue stream—I’ll spend an hour with you on the phone one-on-one to answer your question, provided you order 10 books this week. If you send me some details about your business before the call, I’ll also spend some time prepping for our discussion. Given my allergy to consulting, I’m limiting this offer to the first 10 takers.
Ten books is about nine more than anyone would ever need, so my suggestion is to give the ones you don’t need to friends who own a business. Or if you’re in an Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) chapter or Vistage forum, hand them out to your chapter or forum mates. If you can’t think of anyone to give them to, let me know, and I’ll donate them to an enterprise center where new entrepreneurs go to get business advice.
Just email your proof of a 10 copy purchase (e.g. Amazon order confirmation) to Rachel@BuiltToSell.com before this Saturday April 30, 2011 and we’ll be in touch to book your phone meeting.
I’m going to host a small, intimate session at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago on Sept. 28 and 29, 2011, for a group of 16 business owners interested in making their businesses more sellable. The Sellability Workshop will be an intensive, two-day session designed for business owners running companies with between $500,000 and $5 million in annual revenue. I will lead a spirited discussion and Q&A around the following themes:
- Recurring/subscription revenue models
- Pricing psychology
- Branding and packaging
- People and leadership
- Positioning yourself for a strategic acquisition
The limit of 16 people is a luxury. We’ll have lots of time to get to know each others businesses and provide our lessons learned and war stories. I’ll lead the conversation, but it will be a workshop format with lots of discussion, Q&A and time to reflect.
The Sellability Workshop is $2,495, but if you buy 50 copies (at a cost of around $800) of Built to Sell between now and Saturday, you can come as my guest. Again, just forward your order confirmation to rachel@BuiltToSell.com. Please give the other 49 copies of my book to friends or forum mates who run companies, or we can donate them on your behalf to an enterprise center library, where they will be well loved. This offer is obviously limited to the first 16 people who send in their confirmation of a 50-book order between now and Saturday. (Hint: often times 1-800 CEO READ or B&N are better at handling large bulk orders).
From time to time, I get asked to speak to Vistage chapters or EO forums. Usually it is not a fit because I charge to speak, and most groups are looking for me to speak in exchange for exposure to their audience. That model doesn’t work for me because I don’t have a follow-on product to sell: I’m not a consultant or an M&A professional who speaks to gather leads. The upside is, if you have me speak, your members get 100 percent content with no hidden agenda. The downside is, I don’t do freebies. To that end, I’d be happy to speak to your group, provided you order 400 books by this Saturday (this offer is limited to the first two takers).
Just email your proof of a 400 copy purchase to Rachel@BuiltToSell.com before this Saturday April 30, 2011 and we’ll be in touch to book your speaking engagement. (Hint: often times 1-800 CEO READ or B&N are better at handling large bulk orders).
Q. What’s the difference between the first edition of Built to Sell and the second edition being launched this week?
A. In the second edition of Built to Sell, the story of Alex Stapleton remains intact and is accompanied by an all-new 10,000-word Implementation Guide, which outlines my experience, war stories and lessons learned from starting and exiting four businesses. The Implementation Guide is a practical, nuts-and-bolts manual for turning a business into one that can thrive without you.
Q. What if I order after Saturday, April 30?
A. Sorry, April 30, 2011, is a firm date. Send Rachel your order confirmation before 6 p.m. Eastern Time on April 30 to take advantage of any of the offers above.
Q. What if I live outside of the United States?
A. All offers are valid except for the complimentary subscription to Inc., which is just for U.S. residents. If you live outside the United States and you send Rachel your order confirmation by April 30, 2011, you’ll still get the other four gifts.
Q. What if I have already ordered the new book?
A. First of all, thank you. Provided it is the second edition (Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You), dig up your order confirmation and send it to rachel@BuiltToSell.com, and we’ll send you your five-pack of gifts.
Q. What if I ordered the first edition, Built to Sell: Turning a Business into One You Can Sell?
A. Thank you. Unfortunately, these offers are just for people who order the second edition, called Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You.
Q. Are these offers good for e-book purchases (e.g., for Kindle, Nook, iPad)?
A. No. Unfortunately, these offers are good only for hardcover book purchases.
Q. What if I don’t need that many books?
A. Let us know, and we’ll arrange for the books you don’t need to be donated to a small-business development center (SBDC) or enterprise center library.
Q. What are the logistics on the Sellability Workshop on Sept. 28 and 29, 2011?
A. We start at 9:00 a.m. on Sept. 28 and finish by 4:00ish each day. We’ll grab dinner together somewhere nice the evening of Sept. 28. You’re responsible for your own travel and hotel costs (there are lots of choices in Chicago, from super-swank to very modest). There is no long-distance or webinar access to the session. This is an intimate and small-scale group. Plus, Chicago is a great city in the fall—it’s worth the trip, promise.