How to Build a Sellable, Self-Running Business (by a Successful Entrepreneur)


Do you dream to have a successful, self-sustaining business? Do you run a company but are buried under a pile of work?

Well, successful businessman and author, John Warrillow, is here to help! Not only has he founded 5 companies, but he also has 15 years of experience in company assessment to help you out!

Within that time, he’s managed to interview more than 10,000 business owners every year. So you’re definitely in good hands.

Let’s borrow his extensive expertise and build our own successful business! What does he have to say about growing a great business?

In his book, “Built to Sell“, Warrillow remarks,

“You should always run a company as if it will last forever, and yet you should also strive constantly to maximize its value,…”

Some people just wanna make a quick buck. So they aim for shortcuts. But that’s not how you build a sustainable business!


“…building in the qualities that allow it to be sold at any moment for the highest price buyers are paying for businesses like yours.”

He also says that you need to instill qualities in your company that would influence buyers to buy your company.

Before we get to the qualities, let’s talk about why focus on making your business sellable.

Here’s reasons by Warrillow himself:

  1. Your company may be your best shot at a comfortable
  2. You may want to start another business
  3. You may want more time for yourself or financial
  4. You may want to sleep better at night knowing that you
    could sell your business

Given these reasons, let’s look at what qualities buyers look for while deciding which companies to buy:

1. Be a Specialist!

Be a Specialist

In his book, Warrillow emphasises the importance of being a specialist. What does he mean?

Well, think about it this way: if your company offers general satisfaction and does just about everything in a field, but does nothing extraordinarily, why would clients prefer you over others?

That is the exact reason why you need to offer niche services! For example, instead of being a general digital marketing business, why not specialise in a particular field of digital marketing? SEO perhaps?

When you do this, clients associate you with that particular field and will not only come back to you, but be more likely to recommend you to their business friends.

Repeat visits + more personal testimonials = more business and more money!

2. No One Client Should Make Most of Your Revenue!

No One Client Should Make Most of Your Revenue

If you have a business or are going to start one, you may come across certain clients who make most of your revenue. And that is actually a bad thing!

Think about it, why would anyone want to buy a company that makes most of its money from one client? It’s too much of a risk. Say that one client bringing in 50% of the profit backs out, what then? Your company automatically loses most of its value.

That is why Warrillow recommends that no one client should make up more than 15% of your revenue.

3. Your Company Should Function Without You

Your Company Should Function Without You

You’re probably going, “WTF?” right now. But as hard as this may be to swallow, it’s a necessary part of having a sellable business.

Think about it: if the company only runs because you do most of the work or all departments require your expertise to function, why would someone buy the company from you? They may as well buy you! Haha.

Instead, focus on slowly automating functions of your company so everyone knows how to handle different situations.

This can be done by training your staff and by giving them an instruction manual they can follow for the various situations that come up.

Yes, I know, your business is your baby and you wanna make sure it grows well.

But if you don’t give it a chance to be independent, it’s gonna be stuck to you even when it’s all grown up! (And we don’t want adult babies, now do we?)

4. Are You Serious Enough About This?

Are You Serious Enough About This

The tips shared so far are all great, but unless you’re willing to take growing a sellable business seriously, it’s all gonna be useless.

Don’t waste your time. Put in the necessary investment. Here’s the first step:

Read Warrillow’s great book. Extract his 15 year wisdom. Make the required changes.

Get Built to Sell by Award-Winning, Bestselling Author John Warrillow

Built to Sell

On the fence? Here’s some reviews of the book:

“FANTASTIC! Small businesses need this book. So many business
owners have the dream of building a business that’s bigger than
themselves, and getting away from the tyranny of constantly putting
out fires. John’s book is an entertaining, to-the-point way of
showing them how to do it.”

– Anita Campbell
Editor-In-Chief, Small Business Trends

“Any current or aspiring service business owner should read Built to Sell and
take heed of John Warrillow’s valuable lessons and Alex Stapleton’s
enriching and engaging experience.”

– Mike Handelsman
General Manager,

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