Scott Sambucci on “An Entrepreneur’s Lessons Learned”

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Consulting Business, Founder Story, Rules of Thumb, skmurphy

I met Scott Sambucci when I spoke at TVC in July of 2007 in Menlo Park as a part of their “Entering the Entrepreneurial World” seminar. He was kind enough to blog about his take away from the talk in “Definition: Entrepreneurship” where he concluded that even though it was a noun it should be defined as a verb:

“Leveraging resources to get things done” & “Prudent risk-taking.”

We had several conversations and came away very impressed with his business savvy. We retained him to help us with a planning session for our business later in 2007 and profited from his suggestions. He recently blogged about a business he was bootstrapping that he shut down in “An Entrepreneur’s Lessons Learned.” It’s candid, insightful, and makes for good reading for bootstrapping entrepreneurs. His key take aways:

  • Start a blog not a website, you can publish immediately and anytime you need to without a webmaster.
  • To leverage Google Adwords or any other search marketing vehicle you have to know how your prospects will describe their needs as search terms.
  • Find something small to sell early.
  • Maintain accounting records from the start.
  • Know when to quit.

On that last point he has some excellent thoughts (emphasis added not in original)

Usually, you’ll hear from successful entrepreneurs that the mistakes were the most beneficial to their long term growth. That’s sort of true. It’s not the mistakes that offer the opportunity for growth, but the acknowledgement and deconstruction of mistakes.

There’s a difference between believing in something, and knowing it…Being blind to the obvious signs that your venture isn’t working is downright foolish.

I believe in myself, and that’s why I decided to close the shop. Good entrepreneurs know that there’s more than one good idea. Let the failures work for you, not against you.

Go ahead and read the whole thing, it’s candid and insightful.

I’ve written about knowing when to quit a few times, here are a couple of blog posts that are related:

The Dip does have “Three Questions to Ask Before Quitting (on pages 66-71) that are worth answering now if you haven’t already.

    1. Am I Panicking? Decide in advance when you are going to quit.
    2. Who Am I Trying to Influence? A person or a market? Markets value persistence far more than an individual.
    3. What Sort of Measurable Progress am I Making?

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Comments (5)

  • Scott Sambucci


    Hi Sean – Thanks for passing along the word about this piece. It was one of those things the just sort of wrote itself one night… Also glad to hear that you profited from our time together.

    I recently read Seth Godin’s book “Tribes” and have been continuing that mantra at Altos Research, focus energy on strengthening the foundation of our company’s following. Really starting to have some fun communicating with our clients outside of just business talk. It’s like having 1000s of friends across the company that you happen to work with…


  • SKMurphy, Inc. » Scott Sambucci: Seven Tips For Selling as a Startup Founder


    […] At $7 and 130 pages, “Startup Selling: How to Sell If You Really, Really Have to and Don’t Know How…” is not only a quick read but a useful reference (also available as an e-book) that belongs in your library if you are a startup founder new to selling. I blogged about Scott Sambucci’s August 2008 blog post on  “An Entrepreneur’s Lessons Learned” in November of 2008 “Scott Sambucci on An Entrepreneur’s Lessons Learned“ […]


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