Entrepreneur David Spisak on Finding Success by Identifying Big Problems that Need Strong Solutions

On the latest episode of Founder Focus with Steve Greenfield, David Spisak shares wisdom from his incredible journey as an entrepreneur. Spisak is the President and CEO of ReverseRisk, a company he sold to Reynolds and Reynolds in 2016. Before ReverseRisk, Spisak spent over 25 years in the retail automotive industry. During his time operating Smythe European, a Mercedes Benz dealership, Spisak led the auto group to $23.7 million in net profit, setting a U.S. record. Spisak now works with the owners of many leading groups to help them use data to optimize their performance and evaluate acquisition opportunities.

Spisak opens the conversation by talking about his entrepreneurial background. He says he’s been an entrepreneur for most of his life and firmly believes that entrepreneurs are both born and made. The entrepreneurial spirit is an attitude that not everyone is born with, but the work effort and daily dedication is something that an entrepreneur must develop over time. 

Spisak says the entrepreneurial journey is defined by an ability to identify big problems that need strong solutions. He says there are many strong products on the market that don’t really solve a major problem. The best solutions are the products that consumers can’t live without. Spisak also says that finding the right investors is an important factor for any business looking to grow. Entrepreneurs must be willing to look for investors who bring specific skill sets to the table, such as product or market expertise and strong networks. Entrepreneurs should be driven by creating meaningful numbers and working rigorously to hit those numbers quarter after quarter. 

Spisak says that selling his company was a difficult decision. He uses the analogy of selling a family house where memories are made and kids grow up to describe the weight behind the transaction. In the end, Reynolds and Reynolds was a great fit to help the company grow and achieve its goals. 

Spisak concludes the conversation by answering a fun question about the car he wishes he never sold and the car he wishes he had today. He says he was once in possession of a 1965 Mustang in great condition with hardly any miles on the original engine. However, the car was hardly being driven and insurance was very high on the vehicle. He made the decision to sell and now looks back on the vehicle as the one that got away. Spisak says he’s a big fan of the Porsche brand and says if he could have any car he would want the original Porsche Speedster. 


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