Our Vision Is to Level the Playing Field for Small Business Owners as They Approach Their Exit

Why We're Here

Where would we be without entrepreneurs willing to risk everything for an idea?

We would be without most modern conveniences: no cars if it weren’t for Henry Ford (and no electric ones if it were not for Elon Musk). No Disney. No Netflix. No Amazon. For a society likes ours to work, founders need to be incentivized to take risk in return for reward. This is true of our most celebrated entrepreneurs as well as the smallest of businesses — even the owner who may serve your coffee in the morning or clean the carpets in your office. Small business owners need to know that if they are going to sacrifice everything to start a company, there’s a chance they can win in the game of business.

Unfortunately, we don’t have enough winners these days. Ninety seven percent of all businesses around the world are small yet most will never celebrate their 5th birthday. They will die a quiet death without much fanfare. Of those that do turn five, most will only eke out a simple living for their founder who closes the doors when it’s time to retire with nothing to sell but perhaps some old inventory. Of the tiny minority of owners that do build a sellable business and list it with a broker, their odds of getting an offer are less than one in three. For the lucky few who get an offer, most will end up having to lend money to the buyer in the form of a “Vendor Take Back.” Imagine you struggle for years to pay off the mortgage on your home and when you attempt to sell it, the only way you can close a transaction is to co-sign the mortgage of the buyer — effectively continuing to shoulder the risk without any of the enjoyment of owning the home.

A small handful of founders build a company large enough for a private equity group to become interested. Here still, the odds are stacked against owners as they face down a sophisticated financial engineer who uses spreadsheets as their weapon of choice.

Private equity groups offer to buy the majority of an owner’s shares but force a founder to continue to hold a significant part of their business as a minority shareholder. As a minority owner, they standby and watch the professional operators pick apart their company like a carcass — rewriting and overturning decisions the owner has made in favour of more “professional” policies. Imagine hip surgery without the anesthetic.

A tiny handful of owners will sell to a corporate buyer and here again, they face a mercenary financial engineer in the form of a corporate development executive who uses underhanded techniques like “re-trading” and “strategic pacing” to buy a business for much less than its worth.

People who sacrifice so much are treated so poorly when it’s time for them to go and we don’t think that’s right. Our goal is to honour an owner’s sacrifice. To empower them to fight back and get a fair price for their life’s work.

How We Work

Building a business to sell is deeply personal. The decisions founders make go beyond numbers and impact lives.

That’s why our mission is to find the very best advisors on the planet and empower them with our system for building the value of our company. If you’re an advisor an owner would trust with their life, please get in touch.

What We're Aiming For

Our goal is to be empowering one million business owners by the year 2030.

That’s a million families impacted directly and a multiple of that when you consider the positive effect a successful small business has on its employees and local community.

Our History

2011

Our founder, John Warrillow, releases the book Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You.

2012

John creates The Sellability Score, a questionnaire developed to help Built to Sell readers evaluate their business against the key themes in the book.

Both Inc and Fortune Magazines recognize Built to Sell as one of their top 10 books for business owners.

2013

The Sellability Score is licensed to our first advisor, Deborah Zients, who starts using the questionnaire with her clients.

2014

The Certified Value Builder™ professional designation is launched and we certify our first 33 advisors.

2015

Random House publishes John Warrillow’s latest book, The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry and, Fortune Magazine rates it as one of the top 5 business books of the year.

We change our name from The Sellability Score to The Value Builder System™ to reflect our evolution into an entire system for improving company value complete with twelve unique tools designed to help business owners grow the value of their business.

2017

The Value Builder System™ eclipses 40,000 users.

2019

Valuation algorithm 2.0 launched

2020

Famous Or Rich eBook launched

2021

January The Art Of Selling Your Business To Be Released

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