Finish Big: Summary Review

This is a summary review of Finish Big containing key details about the book.

What is Finish Big About?

"Finish Big" by Bo Burlingham is a book about entrepreneurship and the process of selling a business. Drawing on extensive research and interviews with entrepreneurs who have successfully sold their businesses, Burlingham provides insights and guidance on how to prepare for and navigate the process of selling a company. The book covers topics such as building a strong company culture, developing a clear exit strategy, valuing a business, finding the right buyer, and negotiating a successful deal. Burlingham also addresses the emotional and psychological challenges that entrepreneurs may face when selling their businesses, and offers advice on how to manage these challenges and move on to the next chapter in life. Throughout the book, Burlingham emphasizes the importance of building a business that is sustainable and has lasting value, and provides examples of entrepreneurs who have successfully exited their businesses while leaving behind a positive legacy. "Finish Big" is a valuable resource for entrepreneurs who are considering selling their businesses, offering practical advice and insights on how to achieve a successful exit and create a lasting impact.

Free Resource: A step-by-step blueprint to realize your dreams

Finish Big showcases the insights, exit plans, and cautionary tales of entrepreneurs such as Ray Pagano: founder of a leading manufacturer of housings for security cameras. The author interviewed dozens of entrepreneurs across a range of industries and identified eight key factors that determine whether owners are happy after leaving their businesses. He turned down a bid for his company and instead changed his management style, resulting in a subsequent sale for four times the original offer.

Summary Points & Takeaways from Finish Big

Some key summary points and takeaways from the book include:

* Start planning early: Exit planning is a process that should begin early, ideally several years before you plan to exit your business. This allows you to maximize the value of your business and ensure a smooth transition.

* Focus on creating value: To maximize the value of your business, you need to focus on creating value for your customers, employees, and other stakeholders. By doing so, you can build a strong and sustainable business that will be attractive to potential buyers.

* Build a strong team: A strong team is essential for a successful business exit. By building a team of talented and dedicated employees, you can ensure that your business will continue to thrive after you leave.

* Understand your options: There are many different exit options for business owners, including selling the business to a third party, transferring ownership to a family member, or pursuing an initial public offering (IPO). It's important to understand the pros and cons of each option and choose the one that is best for you and your business.

* Seek advice from experts: Exit planning can be a complex and challenging process, and it's important to seek advice from experts, including lawyers, accountants, and business consultants. They can provide valuable guidance and help you navigate the process.

* Embrace the emotional side of exit planning: Exiting a business can be an emotional and challenging process, and it's important to be prepared for the emotional challenges that come with it. By acknowledging and addressing these challenges, you can ensure a smoother and more successful transition.

* Overall, "Finish Big" is a book that emphasizes the importance of early planning, creating value, building a strong team, understanding your options, seeking advice from experts, and embracing the emotional side of exit planning. By following these principles, business owners can achieve a successful and satisfying exit from their business, and ensure a smooth transition for all stakeholders.

Who is the author of Finish Big?

Bo Burlingham is currently a contributor to Forbes where he produces the magazine's annual Small Giants section. Previously, he worked for 33 years at Inc. magazine, as senior editor, executive editor, and editor at large.

What are good quotes from Finish Big?

“Just as important, thinking about an exit plan will force you to ask important, difficult questions about yourself.”

“I had to begin by clarifying in my own mind what a good exit consisted of. For most people, I’d found, there were four elements: 1) Owners felt that they’d been treated fairly during the exit process and appropriately”

Free Resource: Over 1000 smart goal ideas to inspire your life

“I’ve used pseudonyms, in some instances because of my source’s legal commitments, in others to avoid gratuitous harm to the people mentioned. When I have disguised an individual, I have so indicated. Other than changing names and, in two instances, some telltale details about the company, I have reported what actually happened.”

“Pagano put out a suggestion box to capture them and took care to respond to each one. He also began writing monthly letters to employees’ families, which he sent to their homes, and invited family members to come in to view new products. “We truly wanted to involve everyone in the business,” he said.”

“You’re going to have to extract yourself from the business,” he said. “You’re going to have to bring up your management team, give them more responsibility, coach them more, and let them run the operation.” Pagano didn’t argue. He knew Anderson was right. Sale price aside, the number of potential acquirers, and thus Pagano’s own exit options, would be severely limited as long as he was essential to the company’s operation. He had to remake the business so that it could run without him if he wanted to improve his chances of getting a deal he’d be happy with.”

“they focus on survival. Some never leave the survival stage. The more fortunate ones move on to the growth stage. Either way, they run the risk of getting caught in what Covey calls “the activity trap,” the tendency “in the busy-ness of life to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall.”

“Busyness is certainly one of the reasons that owners don’t think about whether or not their journey is taking them to a place they really want to wind up. They’re constantly preoccupied—it goes with the territory—and figuring out the ultimate destination doesn’t seem particularly urgent alongside, say, meeting the next payroll or landing the next big customer”

“The mistake they make grows partly out of their tendency to regard the exit as simply an event, and a relatively distant one at that. But the exit is actually a critical phase of a business owner’s journey and an integral part of the entrepreneurial experience. “It’s like passing the 26.2-mile mark of a marathon, or crossing home plate after a home run,”

“And yet the end result is not always a happy one, even for those who wind up with a pile of money on the table. Despite having absolute financial security, often for the first time in their lives, many owners find themselves dealing with unanticipated regrets, fighting against depression, and desperately in need of a new identity and sense of purpose. For them, life after the exit is a bleak period, and it can last for years.”

“It’s also about successfully navigating the four stages of the exit process: Stage one is exploratory. It involves investigating the many possibilities, doing the necessary introspective work, and deciding what you do and don’t care about in an exit.”

― Bo Burlingham, Finish Big

Book details

  • Print length: 304 pages
  • Genre: Business, Entrepreneurship, Leadership

What are the chapters in Finish Big?

Chapter 1: Every Journey Ends
Chapter 2: Who Am I If Not My Business?
Chapter 3: Deal or No Deal
Chapter 4: It's About Time... and Timing
Chapter 5: Apres Moi
Chapter 6: Who You Gonna Call?
Chapter 7: The People Part
Chapter 8: Caveat Venditor
Chapter 9: Over the Rainbow

What do critics say?

Here's what one of the prominent reviewers had to say about the book: “Finish Big is for all those founder/leaders who want to do more than take. . . . It is for the ones who want to leave something behind.” — Simon Sinek, optimist and author of Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last

* The editor of this summary review made every effort to maintain information accuracy, including any published quotes, chapters, or takeaways. If you want to enhance your personal growth, I recommend checking out my list of favorite personal growth books. These books have played a significant role in my life, and each one includes a summary and takeaways to help you apply the concepts.

Free Resource: A step-by-step process for healthier social media use
Reading is Smart. Applying is Smarter:  Apply

Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

Actualize Your Potential
Get my simplified process for realizing dreams (The exact process that enabled me to achieve 100 life goals in 10 years)
Access my Start With WHY workbook for free, designed to guide you toward your purpose and the person you are meant to become
Align With Your Why
Accelerate Your Growth
Get actionable insights, book recommendations, and wisdom you can apply — No hype, No fluff, 100% free.

Read The Art of Fully Living

There's no going back-once you embark on the journey you're meant to live, it's impossible to settle for anything less than your dreams.

Click here to learn more

Elevate Your Achievement

Learn a better and smarter approach to setting and achieving goals. It's not just about what you want to achieve, but who you must become in the process.

Click here to learn more
Take The Free Test
Discover your areas for growth in just 5 minutes. Take the FREE self-evaluation test and pinpoint where to focus your efforts

Uplevel Your Game

Elevate To Mastery

Access a 21-day roadmap that turns big goals into realities, complete with daily study guides, actionable steps, and proven practices from the world's best minds
Elevate Society
Thanks for reading. It makes a difference. A portion of all proceeds from our online university supports thousands of entrepreneurs in the developing world via
View Impact