Practicing Pre-mortems

by Scott

Before working on Troops, I was usually pretty good about reflecting on experiences after the fact…doing a “post-mortem” if you will.

Something I was less diligent about was this concept of “pre-mortems.” 

A pre-mortem means taking the time to map out what you expect to happen and the implications of that outcome. It sounds basic, but bringing process to this really makes a difference vs. haphazardly doing it here and there.

Consistently practicing simple pre-mortems at Troops has saved our team weeks worth of time by helping us realize that what we were about to do was not actually an effective use of time. I credit my colleague Aditya Pandyaram for instilling this process into our company and my life.

When you distill it down, trying new things are …
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Constraints As Your Advantage

by Scott

One of the biggest concepts I’ve become more self-aware of this past year is constraints and their effect on your speed and mental cycles.

Deep down a lot of people in early stage startups spend their time and energy thinking about “is this going to work?”

Even if you have a presumption of success for your company, at the tactical level you continuously ask yourself this question when evaluating everything from your business model to the adoption of a specific feature.

The best way I’ve found to holistically manage this circumstance is by implementing concrete, measurable constraints.

The magic constraint at Troops seems to be the number 30.

Do people want this product? Create a powerpoint deck and pitch 30 people.

How much should we charge? Pitch 30 qualified opportunities …
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Becoming High Performance and Building A Sales Machine

by Scott

Below you’ll find the first ever “guest re-post” on Life-LongLearner as well as a new podcast with my buddy Ryan Denehy. The post + podcast combo effectively  makes this a Denehy centerfold.

Ryan is a close friend who most recently co-founded Swarm Mobile which was acquired by Groupon. In the podcast episode, we riff on the mental and emotion journey of getting there. In the post, you’ll see all the things he learned building the local sales machine that fueled their growth.

Enter Sensai Denehy….

Listen On Itunes

“Building A Startup Sales Machine: 64 Things I Wish I Knew”

Newsflash: I had no idea what I was doing when I first started running sales and distribution teams almost 10 years ago. Some would argue that I still don’t. But the …
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A Step by Step Guide to Pre-selling With Carl Mattiola

by Scott

Most people who try to start a business begin building something before getting a dime from a single customer…

“Que triste” as my Brazilian friends would say!

Today I’m pumped to chat with Carl Mattiola, founder of ClinicMetrics, about pre-selling and the exact steps he used to get paying customers before he built any software.

In this interview you’ll learn:

The process he used to go from no idea to settling on building clinic metrics [3:42]
Which prospects to start with when you’re ready to pre-sell [10:03]
The logistics of his first pitch and what happened immediately after [20:39]
The power of “price anchoring” and how to utilize it in pre-sales [26:29]
Common objections he received in his pre-sales process and how to overcome them [31:58]
Tactics to de-risk …
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Building SaaS Businesses, Enterprise Sales, and Bootstrapping with Spencer Fry

by Scott

Today I’m pumped to bring you an interview with my buddy Spencer Fry, Co-Founder of Uncover and all around awesome guy.

Over the past ten years, Spencer has built 2 profitable companies without raising a dime and is now well on his way to his 3rd. #studmuffins anyone?

In this interview we talk about:

The founding and developing of his first successful company Typefrag which is still going strong today with 30+ employees
His transition to Carbonmade and how to bootstrap a SaaS business while doing consulting work
The number one thing that all aspiring programmers should have if they truly want to learn how to code. Maybe why I failed…
Why to never give something away for free, even your a startup with no customers or …
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The Story of LaunchBit and Hustling With Elizabeth Yin

by Scott

Today I’m pumped to bring you an interview with Elizabeth Yin, Co-Founder of LaunchBit, the leading ad-network for email newsletters.

You know those people that peak your interest that you just kind of sort of end up just following from a distance? Elizabeth was totally one of those people for me until we did this interview. First I saw LaunchBit and was like, gee that’s a good idea. Then I started subscribing to LaunchBit’s newsletter of highly curated customer acquisition articles (woah another good idea). The she launched a conference called Hustle Con…at that point I was like okay, I seriously need to meet this person! Anyways, Elizabeth is a total rockstar and has an awesome story so definitely …
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Break Into Biz Dev: Realities of Landing Startup Jobs

by Scott

I get about 5 emails or facebook messages a week from people looking to get advice on landing startup jobs…

I guess playing excel like a concert pianist gets old pretty quick.

Photo credit: RateMyPlacement

To combat this inbound assault, I created a free 8 email series that includes some of my best tips on how non-technical people can break into startups (sign up here!).

Besides being a free resource overstretched startup folk can point their friends too, this email series is an introduction to apply for a 5 week program I created on how to break into startup business development.

2 Dynamics People Trying to Break Into Startups Must Understand

Today I wanted to share 4:38 of video from the 5 week program that …
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Getting Traction In Local and Selling into Enterprise with Ryan Jeffery, VP of Business Development at Belly

by Scott

A little over a year ago I met Ryan Jeffery, Vice President of Business Development at Belly, a startup focused on enriching the loyalty experience for both local businesses and consumers.

When we met I could tell Ryan was a sharp guy…and I’ve been really impressed by the growth that Belly has achieved in the beast that is local. Naturally I thought he’d be fun to do an interview with : )

In this interview we talk about:

How they initially pitched and sold local businesses in MVP mode (WARNING: includes ipad glue stories)
The first thing they did after they got their very first customer
How they scaled once they had initial product/market fit
Insight into their hybrid inside/outside sales distribution strategy (and why this …
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