Week 5 - Techstars NYC

techstars-nyc-week-5

We’re Halfway Already?

This week was what I consider the hangover week – everyone was a little bit tired, and a little bit off.  Big Rocks were tough, and some got there, but certainly not the majority.

The realization that we’re essentially halfway through the program was surprising…and shocking.  Hard to believe how quickly time moves when you’re working non-stop (well, almost). 

This week we worked on a few things, but I’ll keep it relatively short:

Outline Your Buying Process

You should make sure you have a clear outline of the steps it takes to buy your product.  You should even consider publishing these once you’re confident that sales are going to follow this process.

Also, it’s okay to establish this before you know what the buying process is going to look like – in fact, you should do it before you know, and write it down somewhere.  The point is to theorize what the steps are, and then continually revise until you’re confident in the process.

It’s actually also very useful when doing sales – people generally like to be told how to buy, and to have concrete steps for moving forward.  It also gives you a starting point for a conversation if that’s not how they buy.  You’ll be more likely to be able to extract concrete steps from them if you have some concrete steps to start from.

Maintaining consistency in your sales efforts is extremely important, and something everyone realized this week when things were slow.  The disruptions of the early weeks started to show.

Speaker Learnings

A few quick learnings from the speakers this week:

  • Sometimes starting with a belief statement will help clarify your vision; “At X Company, we believe _____ about the world” [as it relates to your business]
    • Example: At Tesla, we believe that in the future, all cars will be autonomous, and our world will be powered by renewable energy.
    • Once you have this, it’s easier to talk about your vision.  Whether investors/customers believe you is another story, but you’re setting the stage.  For more on this as it relates to sales, check out this article: The Greatest Sales Deck I’ve Ever Seen.
  • When you’re looking for early customers, look for young companies just a few stages ahead of you – they will have money, but much quicker to make a buying decision than large, old, established companies.
  • Introductions from great founders are more valuable than introductions from great investors, or mentors.  It says a lot when someone who doesn’t have any interest in your business vouches for you.
  • Use Kickstarter to fund marketing, not R&D.

Read about Week 6 here, or last week (Week 4) here.