Exiting your business is an inevitable activity but being prepared for it will make the process easier. Through case study review and analysis, “Finish Big: How Great Entrepreneurs Exit Their Companies on Top” by Bo Burlingham takes a deep dive into how entrepreneurs sell their businesses. Using both positive and negative examples, the book shows the true impact on owners and employees when small and medium-sized businesses are sold. There is great discussion of the emotional and financial impact that occurs with the sale.

Burlingham explores what happens when a business is sold by using real-life examples and in-depth interviews with dozens of entrepreneurs. He then goes a step further by tracking the previous owner to see what happens months and even years after the sale. The research yielded eight key factors that determine whether owners are happy after leaving their businesses.

According to Burlingham, owning a business is about more than selling goods and services. It’s about making choices that shape your entire life, both professional and personal. Selling a business will undoubtedly shape a business owner’s future. “Finish Big” helps these owners make their decisions to sell with confidence.

Whether you are evaluating selling your business or have never thought about it, this is a good book that will open your eyes to the options, opportunities and possible pitfalls. Burlingham goes into depth on selling, because a business is often the largest asset that an entrepreneur owns. The decision to sell it and the execution of the sale cannot be made quickly. It has to be evaluated thoroughly, and there needs to be a strong and experienced advisor helping the business owner through the decision-making process.

Although my family has no interest in selling our contract cleaning business at this time, I am very glad I read this book, because it gave me reassurance in the things we are doing right and made me think about the things that we need to improve. One important point that Burlingham brings up over and over again is that whether you are selling your business this year or many years from now, preparing your business to be sold is about developing value within your business. That is an important lesson for any owner.



Steve Shuchat, President
Clean All Services
Sidney, Ohio



Selling a company is not easy. It’s an emotional roller coaster with the potential for great rewards, but it is also rife with pitfalls. Inc. magazine Editor At Large Bo Burlingham discovers how best to exit a company in his book,
“Finish Big,” published by Portfolio.

After interviewing entrepreneurs such as Bill Niman, founder of Niman Ranch, Gary Hirshberg, founder of Stonyfield Farm and dozens more, Burlingham identified solid points for exit plans and red flags to avoid.

Even if readers aren’t looking to sell their companies, it’s never to early to start thinking about the process.