Finish Big: How Great Entrepreneurs Exit Their Companies on Top, by Bo Burlingham (Nicole Schlinger Book Review)

Bo Burlingham’s Finish Big is a must read for entrepreneurs.

This was one of the most anxiety provoking books I’ve read in the last few years. So why would I recommend it?

Well, when you have spent the vast majority of waking hours in your adult life working on building a business from scratch …

The question of how you eventually exit that business is akin to asking how you’d like to die.

You’re only going to do it once.

And you have to get it right on the first try.

A lot of the folks Bo interviews in this book were unhappy with the way they exited their company. Even the ones who sold for a substantial amount of money.

The story of Bill Niman, founder of the Niman Ranch, is absolutely chilling. While the company still bears his name, Bill Niman has no connection to the company and has nothing to show for 35 years of work.

Now on the bright side … Bo is telling you these stories as cautionary tales, so you can learn from what some of these folks did wrong. You can also learn from the ones who did it right.

There are some interesting parallels here to John Warrillow’s Built To Sell (and you can check out my review HERE.)

In most cases, building your business to run (mostly) without you, and setting up systems in which human beings can use good judgment to operate, will make your exit much, much better.

Paradoxically, setting up those systems will make your business a lot more profitable and a lot more fun. So perhaps once you do that, you won’t want to leave.

Whichever way you choose, you’ll be better off after you force your way through reading this somewhat terrorizing, yet ultimately necessary book.



Nicole Schlinger is a business owner, book lover, and dog owner.

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