Through the Butler Venture Accelerator, we meet with a lot of students and alumni with many entrepreneurial ideas. One of the key steps that any entrepreneur needs to make to turn their idea into an opportunity is to gather market intelligence. Market intelligence is what entrepreneurs use to make decisions. During the Summer Venture Program, Babson professor Kevin Mulcahy shared some of his tips on getting the information entrepreneurs need in order to take action on their idea.
Mulcahy shared that intelligence is what leads to decisions and then outcomes. The decisions and outcomes are up to the entrepreneur. So as an entrepreneur, how do you go about intelligence gathering? Mulcahy shared these takeaways with the 2015 cohort:
- Have an understanding of what intelligence you need.
- Structure your intelligence needs so others understand your priorities. This will help you leverage people you know and people you do not know yet. Remember – sometimes the people you don’t know may bring the most value.
- Identify who the decision makers are. Understand that the best person to talk to isn’t going to be easiest to get to. It is going to take some effort.
- Intelligence is unique and sometimes hard to find. Don’t only use what’s easy accessible.
- Talking to someone you don’t know can be uncomfortable – know that you are not alone.
Mulcahy sums it up best when he said, “think of yourself as a reporter. My objective is to get information from the other person and make them tell me more.” Mulcahy shared that tradeshows, publications and LinkedIn groups are good sources to connect with people that can provide intelligence.
Entrepreneurship is about gathering resources. Having intelligence to help make keys decisions is what leads to outcomes, whether positive or negative. Remember that the best information out there is not always going to be easy to find, so be open to different sources of intelligence!
For more information on the Summer Venture Program, visit the SVP website. Check back for more posts on our 2015 SVP lunch and learn sessions!