Why Startups Should Ignore Peter Drucker

16 Mar 2010

John Warrillow

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 Inc.com 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.

Latest posts by John Warrillow (see all)

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 great products, but if you’re too good at serving your customers and all of your company’s best ideas come from you, your business may not be worth very much.

Counter intuitively, you need to spend less time selling and innovating and more time teaching employees to follow Mr. Drucker’s advice. That way, when buyers come along to kick the tires on your business, they can see that your company not only can exist without you but that it can thrive without you.

Acquirers like to buy businesses with a predictable profit stream that appears to extend well into the future. If your employees are responsible for selling, marketing and product innovation, it will be easy to see how the business will succeed without the owner calling the shots.

BONUS: Be sure to listen to John
Warrillow’s accompanying podcasts "Make Your Business Attractive to Acquirers" and "
Give Your Employees Equity
" for
additional business exit strategies!