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Famous or Rich: 9 Ways Value Builders Prioritize Wealth over Recognition

by John Warrillow

financial business consulting

There is a small but growing cohort of business owners who have become fantastically rich through building a small business in relative anonymity. Along the way, the direction they have received from financial business consulting has prioritized wealth creation instead of falling into the trap of striving to be popular among their industry peers.

Warrillow asks the question “Would You Rather be Famous or Rich?” in his e-book of the same name and as part of his value building company, The Value Builder System.


financial business consulting

The book poses a fundamental choice to make: Do you want to build wealth or fame?

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Wealth, and maximizing your company’s value is a key objective of NorthStar Strategic Partners 4 Points of Focus™, and embracing the Famous or Rich principles is helpful augmentation to your 4 Points of Focus journey.

In Famous or Rich, you will learn:

  • The surprisingly simple strategy behind one founder’s $87 million exit
  • When cross-selling your existing customers is a mistake
  • How one founder received an acquisition offer of $35 million just two years after starting his company and why timing the sale of your business may be a fool’s errand
  • The strategic move that took one company from being worth three times EBITDA to more than 13 times in just two years
  • The 10/40 rule and how it can jack up your take from the sale of your business
  • Three simple ways one founder hung on to almost all of his equity leading up to a $165 million exit

The book poses a fundamental choice to make: Do you want to build wealth or fame?

More commonly, small business owners become famous for being a leader in their industry or local community. A successful business provides opportunities to become famous, but there is another type of owner who would prefer to build wealth. The book’s author call this type of owner a “Value Builder,” and their main goal is to build a valuable company, even if it means not seeking personal popularity. These Value Builders build solid companies that make a profit by addressing a need in the market. While most are not public figures, these Value Builders are building durable companies and substantial personal wealth in the process. Building a successful business can be a path to both fame and fortune, but more often, one comes at the expense of the other.


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