298: John Warrillow: Create Thriving Businesses that Work Without You

John Warrillow is the founder of The Value Builder System, a company that helps business owners improve the value of their company.

John is the author of the bestselling book Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You, which was recognized by both Fortune and Inc Magazine as one of the best business books of 2011

Prior to starting The Value Builder System, John started and exited four companies, including a quantitative market research business that was acquired by The Corporate Executive Board (NYSE: CEB) in 2008.

John has been recognized by B2B Marketing as one of the top 10 business-to-business marketers in the United States.

Favorite Success Quote

“It is critic who counts, it is the man in the arena” ~Theodore Roosevelt

Key Points

1. Just Get in the Arena

Most people spend their lives outside of the arena.

They are the proverbial couch bound quarter backs, screaming at their televisions and telling other people who actually out in life doing something, what they should be doing.

Don’t let this be you.

Stop criticizing and complaining , and just get in the arena.

Start your business, talk to that girl, go to the gym, and the rest will start to fall into place.

2. Don’t Get to High or too Low 

Crap happens.

Welcome to the real world.

But here’s the thing, whenever bad things happen, it’s rarely the worst thing that has happened, and whenever good things happen it’s rarely the best.

Learn to ride the highs and lows.

Don’t get overly upset or overly excited.

Life is constantly changing and if you get caught up in the roller coaster of emotions that are a natural part of life, then you will be swept away and lose any semblance of sanity.

3. Focus on Action, Not Planning 

If you want to succeed in business, quit planning and start doing.

Look, business plans are great, but Murphy’s Law dictates that the best laid plans go straight to hell in a hand basket as soon as they are met by opposition.

The quickest way to succeed at business is to stop guessing and start taking action.

It’s not until you are actually in the trenches that you will be able to see how your ideas are really performing and how the market actually responds to your business plan.

So get your plan together as quickly as possible, and then just freaking do it!

4. Use Selling to Validate Your Business

One of the best ways to validate a new business or product idea is to ask for a sale.

Don’t pitch your idea to friends and family and ask for their opinion. Pitch to people, and if they compliment your idea, ask them to whip out their credit card and make a purchase.

This will cut through the crap and make people put their money where their mouth is.

If you get a couple of sales right of the bat, then you know that you are on the right path.

If not, then go back to the drawing board.

5. Look for Indicators in Your Business

Just like a doctor looks for health indicators within your body that could be indicative of something more serious, you need to constantly be on the lookout for indicators in your business that could show a potential problem.

For example, you could notice that your prospecting is going incredibly well and you have more and more inbound leads every day.

However, you are still not making many sales.

Well, as you look for indicators throughout your sales funnel, you might notice that your first sales call is when you start to lose business.

This is a good indicator of something that you need to change to take your business to the next level.

Influential Books

1. Small Giants by Bo Burlingham

2. Who by Jeff Smarts

3. Confessions of an SOB by Allen Neuharth


Connect with John Warrillow


The Times Have Changed. This is the Way Forward in 2024.

Here’s how I can help in my new FREE training on becoming a stronger Grounded Man:

1. The new path for men that creates a purpose driven life and doesn’t require you to lose your personal power, put women on a pedestal or sacrifice your goals.

2. Why men consistently settle and ignore the most important areas of life like the quality of their intimate relationships, social life and happiness and how to optimize all three without sacrificing professional growth.

3. The biggest mistake 97% of men make that breeds loneliness, breakups and emasculation that is absolutely reversible with this counter intuitive strategy.