Book Review: Finish Big

“Finish Big”, written by Bo Burlingham

There are very few good books on exit strategies for small business owners. I have reviewed several of them over the years with some of my favorites being “Dance in the End Zone” and “Built to Sell”.

Best-selling author and INC Magazine editor Bo Burlingham has recently written a book, “Finish Big”, which focuses on exit strategies that small business owners will find helpful. His premise for the book is – what do people with good exits do differently than those with bad exits?

Sooner or later, all small business owners leave their businesses. It may be a voluntary departure or a forced exit. It might be a sale of the business or a transition to a family member. Or in my case, I will just stop working. No matter how you exit, the key according to the author is to start planning for that exit now. Most owners don’t do that and pay for that mistake later.

In writing the book, Burlingham interviewed dozens of small business owners in a variety of industries to learn about their exit strategies. He identified eight key factors that will determine whether these owners will be happy after they exit their businesses. In sharing these stories, the author offers a number of great insights on what can be both the most stressful and most rewarding time in the life of the entrepreneur.

Several key takeaways from the book:

  • There are four elements of a good exit: fairness, accomplishment, treatment of their people, and purpose
  • There are eight characteristics of a successful exit
  • The process of preparing for the exit not only makes for a good exit but also makes for a better business
  • You read a book from beginning to end. You run a business the opposite way. You start with the end, and then do everything you must to reach it.
  • The exit is not an event, it is a critical process in the small business owner’s growth journey
  • There are four stages in the exit process: exploratory, strategic, execution, & transition

I enjoyed reading “Finish Big” and recommend it to any small business owner.