John Warrillow

20 posts
John Warrillow is the founder of five companies, and the bestselling author of "Built To Sell: Creating A Business That Can Thrive Without You," which was recognized by both Fortune and Inc. magazines as one of the best books of 2011. His new book is titled "The Automatic Customer: Creating A Subscription Business In Any Industry." A regular contributor to and The Globe and Mail, Warrillow was called one of the “Top Ten Business-To-Business Marketers” by B2B Marketing. Assessing businesses for over 15 years, he shares his expertise in areas ranging from entrepreneurship, sellability and the benefits of subscription-based marketing to build and sustain success.
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Where to Start When Your Growth Stops

Why would two companies in the same industry, with the same financial performance, command vastly different valuations? The answer often comes down to how much each business is likely to grow in the future. The problem is that many successful businesses reach a point where their growth starts to slow as the company matures. In fact, the price...
Value Builder Score
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Value Builder Score: A Blood Pressure Test for Your Business

When was the last time you had your blood pressure tested? Taking your blood pressure is one of the first things most doctors do before treating you for just about anything. How much pressure your blood is under as it courses through your veins is a reliable indicator of your overall health; and it can...
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Growth vs. Value: Not All Revenue is Created Equally

When you look ahead to next year, will your growth come from selling more to your existing customers or finding new customers for your existing products and services? The answer may have a profound impact on the value of your business. Take a look at the research coming from a recent analysis of owners who...
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Competition: Its Power in Business and When to Fold

On June 1, 2011, both Floyd’s Coffee Shops in Portland, Oregon were busier than usual. The regulars were elbowed out of the way by new customers visiting the store for the first time to redeem their coupon and get $10 worth of coffee for $3. This tempting offer was made because Floyd’s had been picked...
Selling Your Company
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4 Traps To Avoid When Selling Your Company

Business owners have been known to refer to due diligence as "the entrepreneur's proctology exam." It's a crude analogy, but a good representation of what it feels like when a stranger pokes, prods and looks inside every inch of your business. Most professional acquirers will have a checklist of questions they need answered if they’re considering...
Own a Business
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8 Ways to Know if You Have a Job or Own a Business

The ultimate test of your business can be found in a simple question: would someone want to buy your company? Whether you want to sell next year or a decade from now, you must be building an asset someone would buy – otherwise, you have a job, you do not own a business. Here are eight ways...
Recurring Revenue
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The Hierarchy of Recurring Revenue

One of the biggest factors in determining the value of your company is the extent to which an acquirer can see where your sales will come from in the future. If you’re in a business that starts from scratch each month, the value of your company will be lower than if you can demonstrate the...
Business Owners
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The Hidden Goal of the Smartest Business Owners

What are your business goals for the year? If you’re like most business owners, you have a profit goal you want to hit. You may also have a top line revenue number that’s important to you. While those goals are important, there is another objective that may have an even bigger payoff: building a sellable...
Elite Customer
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Do You Have a Billion Dollar Business Hiding Inside Your Company?

Asking customers to pay to join a special group of your best patrons, or an elite customer club, can increase your revenue, encourage customers to buy new products and services from you, and provide a healthy boost to your cash flow. Just ask Jeff Bezos, the founder of and the chief architect behind Amazon...
Business Valuation
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Business Valuation: What is Your Business Worth?

Your business is likely your largest asset, so it's normal to want to know what it is worth. The problem is: business valuation is what one might call a "subjective science." The science part is what people go to school to learn: you can get an MBA or a degree in finance, or you can...
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Subscribers Make Your Company More Valuable

Why are Amazon, Apple and many of the most promising Silicon Valley startups leveraging subscribers in a subscription business model? Subscribers not only provide steady revenue, they make your company more valuable in the eyes of an acquirer. In a traditional business, customers buy your product or service once and may or may not choose...
Sales Pitch
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Subscription Selling Idea # 1: Think 10 × vs. 10%

The Psychology of Selling a Subscription Consumers are aware that a subscription relationship is much more valuable to you than a onetime purchase. So to get them to commit you’ll need to give them a big return on their investment. A consumer with an acute case of subscription fatigue is unlikely to subscribe just to...
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Why Startups Should Ignore Peter Drucker

The late Peter Drucker – arguably the greatest management thinker of all time – cautioned senior managers to avoid getting stuck with back-office details and to focus instead on the two critical functions of any company:  Product innovation Sales and marketing  Most startups don't need a management guru to tell them to focus on delivering...
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The 2 Triggers that Get Your Startup Acquired

When you start a business, it’s tempting to think that you will cash out with a Google-like IPO (Initial Public Offering). Although this happens to a lucky few, the majority of business owners exit their company under different circumstances. The most common trigger that causes a business owner to consider selling their firm is an...
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Dream About Champagne Tomorrow. Drink Beer Now.

One of the hardest things to do when you’re starting a business is to dream big while living within your means. If all you do is fantasize about tomorrow, you’ll run out of cash before you can fulfill your vision. If you dwell too much on your modest circumstances in the beginning, you’ll get depressed,...
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Naming A Business: Is Your Name on the Door?

If you’re like most start ups, you started your business by yourself with no employees to help. You probably started with not much more than an idea you were passionate about and the drive to see it through. So it’s not surprising that so many owners are naming their businesses after themselves. After all, in...
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How to Start a Business with Other People’s Money

Your startup will need a lot of cash if you’re paying for stuff before you sell it. If you begin to grow fast, this negative cash flow cycle can cause a catastrophe. It almost did for technology giant Dell back in the ’90s. Dell used to inventory parts and pay suppliers for the gear it...
franchise ownership
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Prenups for Startups

If you’re going to start a business with a partner, make sure you talk through all of the big issues before you get into bed together.     By way of an example, let me share with you the story of a business owner we’ll call Judy, who is feuding with her partner, whom we’ll call...
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5 Reasons NOT to Share Equity With Your First Employee

Many startup entrepreneurs are tempted to offer employees stock in lieu of paying them a fair salary. Making your employees owners by sharing equity can be appealing, but unless you’re planning an initial public offering (IPO), it’s almost always a mistake.     Here are five reasons for not sharing equity in your startup:    1. It...
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How Saying "No" Can Save Your Startup

Recently I saw a speech from Jim Collins, the legendary author of Built to Last, Good to Great and, more recently, How the Mighty Fall. He was yammering on about the importance of building a company with “disciplined people” thinking “disciplined thoughts.” He got me thinking about the importance of discipline in the first few...