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If This VC Sold His Company Today, He'd Do These Things Differently He did well, but could have done better.

By Sam Hogg

This story appears in the December 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Getty Images/Lee Woodgate

Five years ago, I sold my startup and started working in venture capital. And while that sale made me very happy, it didn't make me all that wealthy -- especially not compared with the deals I see now, where big funding rounds and lucrative exits carry the day. So sometimes I wonder: What would I have done differently in my company if I could go back five years? Now that I'm working in VC, what bits of wisdom do I have now that I wish I had then?

Related: Know When and How to Sell Your Business

Here's the first insight: Define "success" very early. Is it money? Changing the world? What do you want -- and what, realistically, do you think is possible? I had built a company that sold gift cards over the internet; it was a fine idea, but not a world-changing one. It was never going to be the next Facebook. When I finally realized the limits of my company, the truth was hard to swallow. But it didn't need to be! I wish I had taken the time, at the very beginning, to put my actions in context. I had found a smart new way to sell an old product, and it was going to make me a few bucks. There's nothing wrong with that -- unless you're not willing to accept it.

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