Book Review: The Art of Selling Your Business

Some of the happiest days of my 20-plus year executive coaching career have been seeing a business owner client successfully exit their respective business. Sometimes it has been a retirement. Other times, it has been a transition of the business to a family member or key employee. But the best exits have been when a business owner has sold their business to an outside buyer for typically a seven-figure check.

Too often, however, those business sales don’t work out for the best. A study by the business school at Vanderbilt University highlighted some of these failed exits.

  • 75% of business owners regretted selling their businesses
  • 70-80% of businesses for sale don’t sell
  • 50% of all business “exits” are involuntary


Best-selling author John Warrillow’s first book was Built to Sell, and it helped many small business owners prepare their businesses for sale. His new book, The Art of Selling Your Business, speaks to the next step in the exit process and provides small business owners with winning strategies and secret hacks for successfully selling their venture.

The new book is based on hundreds of interviews from Warrillow’s popular podcast with small business owners who sold their companies. Based on this in-depth research, the author lays out a simple formula for attracting multiple acquirers and negotiating the best possible price for the business.

Here are several key takeaways from the book:

  • Rather than trying to sell your business at the top of an external economic cycle, instead, look to create “deal momentum” for your own company.
  • Consider information about your company as currency and then decide how to spend it with potential acquirers.
  • Your goal as a seller is to maximize the number of offers you receive for your business.
  • Understand the different buyers and focus on strategic buyers who will typically pay more for your company.
  • Avoid one of the biggest mistakes you can make – telling your team too early.

This book is exhaustive in terms of the number of real-life best practices it shares with the reader. I suggest every small business owner read it long before you think about selling your business.