Building a Profitable Online Software Reviews Business with Phil Strazzulla – AEP #19

Guest: ​Phil Strazzulla
​Company / Business name: ​​​​Select Software Reviews
Business web site | Twitter | ​​​Linkedin​ | ​Blog


Phil is the founder of SelectSoftware Reviews where businesses can learn about the best software for their organization. Phil started his career working in venture capital before getting his MBA at Harvard Business School.

Tools / Books / Resources mentioned:

 Tools: Zoom, MixMax, Mailchimp, Google Analytics

Show Notes:

00:56 minute mark:

Agile entrepreneur takeaway: Be a trusted advisor for your customers. 

Phil starts off by explaining about his business which is to provide consumable information for businesses to make informed decisions on buying the right business software from the myriad options that are available for them. Phil’s company makes money by partnering with some of the vendors and with paid advertising on the web site.

04:28 minute mark:

Agile entrepreneur takeaway: Always start by identifying an ideal customer. Delight that customer first. 

Phil talks about the ideal customer for his business and that is the HR manager of any business with employees between 100 and 1,000. Phil’s aspiration is that the beachhead of the HR customer will gradually lead to other functions in the org.

08:31 minute mark:

Agile entrepreneur takeaway: Business will evolve. Don’t sweat over trying to get it right the very first time. 

Phil talks about the origins of his business. His desire to start a company originated in college when he interned at a one-man company and realized the impact he could have. Phil talks about how his business evolved 7 or 8 times since inception and how each iteration made the company a better business.

11:40 minute mark:

Agile entrepreneur takeaway: As an entrepreneur, be prepared to go though lean times. Find strength within. 

Phil talks about the exhilaration of signing up marquee customers in the beginning but how that excitement was worn off when they didn’t renew afterwards. He talks about the learnings such as the tracking the customer interest to get an idea of what is working and what is not. He talks about the pain of going through lean times and watching his classmates shutter their own businesses within 9 to 18 months of starting their businesses. He found strength within to keep going by staying lean.

19:43 minute mark:

Agile entrepreneur takeaway: It’s always a better business model to do something that is already being done in the market faster, cheaper, and better. 

Phil talks about 2 key challenges he faced in running his business. (1) Time management (2) Prioritization. Phil reminisces about few things he could have done better. (1) Not trying to change the behavior of the customer (2) Instead focusing on helping something that is already being done better, faster, cheaper etc.

23:07 minute mark:

Agile entrepreneur takeaway: Start with something you know and keep learning and building from there. 

Phil continues talking about the need to start a business in an area that you are familiar with and understanding the customer behavior. Phil learnt the the hard way about HR and how HR managers make buying decisions. Phile also gives inside scoop on few tools he uses: Zoom MixMax (for calendaring), Mailchimp. Phil’s company also relies on freelancers from Upwork and Fiverr.

28:01 minute mark:

Agile entrepreneur takeaway: Keep learning and iterating. 

Phil summarizes his learnings in this segment. (1) Try to find the market for your business (2) Keep iterating to find the right model (3) Start with something you know (4) Be realistic about your business journey.

​Episode Transcript (Click to expand)



About the Author Ramesh Dontha

I am an entrepreneur, writer, and blogger. I build businesses and love to share my experiences of my successes and failures. My mottos is: Live with purpose, Be Passionate about that purpose, Persevere through ups and downs and keep exploring Possibilities.

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