Today David Teten came up from New York to share his years of entrepreneurial and investment experience with the Harvard GASA Business Club. In addition to being a Partner with ff Venture Capital he is the Founder and Chairman of the HBS Angels of Greater New York.
The talk was split into two major parts: picking a company and then making one successful (eg sales techniques). David’s primary recommendation – which was re-emphasized throughout his presentation – was to pick a market with few competitors. He noted that even great markets can lead to depressed returns due to overcrowding. He also introduced a couple Market Maps which serve as a good guide to identify holes:
While the second half of his talk was designed to aid in conducting research on your new idea, all of the techniques were very useful tactical recommendations that will serve an entrepreneur throughout the life of a venture:
- Search Google for specific file types (pdf/ppt/doc) to find some great presentations/material on your competitors
- You can get access to a lot of great research through a Charles Schwab Account
- Use trackers (ie compete.com) to keep a finger on the pulse of your competitors.
- Conduct polling – adwords, google docs, survey monkey, and now google consumer surveys!
- Use a combination of affinity, information, other's’ credibility, and ego boosting to get people to return your calls.
Also, as a closing note David’s site (http://www.teten.com/) has an amazing wealth of great content. I particularly loved the section for CEOs/Founders. And, he was kind enough to include a video of this presentation and slides online. Thanks!