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Blog Entries With Tag "Christina Ellwood"

Finding and understanding your customer

Posted by at 4:30 PM, 08/25/2009

By Carole Low, Clean Tech Open Volunteer. Thanks Carole!

We know that creating a winning business plan can be tricky business, especially these days. Thanks to Cleantech Open’s marquee event, the aptly named Accelerator, semifinalists throughout the western region drank water from fire hoses in interactive modules that ranged from relevant, engaging discussions on sustainability metrics to fundraising and capitalization. 

I had the good fortune to join the module, “Finding and Understanding the Customer” — or, in unsexy language — market analysis, led by two dynamic session leaders. Tom Kosnik, a Stanford University professor, and Christina Ellwood, Cleantech Open’s 2009 Summer Program Chair and technology marketing advisor, captured the audience’s attention by generously offering expertise and guidance, engaging the semifinalists, providing numerous practical examples, and closing with a hands-on workshop to solidify the day’s learning experience. Here’s what Tom and Christina shared.

Tom Kosnik

Tom Kosnik: “The goal of the Accelerator is to reduce the infant mortality of clean tech startups. Today, the majority dies in the first two years. The challenge is to get from the first few sales to selling to the more pragmatic and conservative customers that will make up the majority of their business going forward.”

Christina Ellwood

Christina Ellwood: “To do so, they need to build repeatable sales in multiple segments and select the one segment in which to build their beachhead. Then, they can focus on that segment to build momentum in their sales. In a nutshell, without market traction they won’t make it through their second year. Steve Blank’s call to “get outside the building” and engage early and often with customers and get their feedback is a great way for founders to address this challenge.”
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