Berg Moe, Trond Giske and Bjørn Kjos at the opening of Gründernes Hus (The Entrepreneurs House) in Oslo.
Sometimes, I wonder if the Norwegian entrepreneurs are allergic to selling and prefer to innovate and write business plans. Repeatedly I saw they have written grand plans but has done little get in touch with the market through sales.
I think that first has to sell your product/service before you spend too much time and energy on developing and writing business plans. Time is a precious resource = money, and many times it is possible with simple means to speed up time to market and through feedback from real customers do a product and service that the market wants.
Here are some examples;
Case A: I received a visit from some friendly people with an idea I liked. When I heard that they had spent one and half years to write a business plan and had not spoken to a single customer, I was ill.
I asked if it was ok that I called to a potential customer that would be interested. It took me a few minutes to find a candidate and called up and drove a short 3 minute pitch.
They were enthusiastic and wanted to have a meeting, and they became not only a customer but would also finance part of product development and to be a contributor.
Case B: I always used to say that it is good to have a draft contract/letter of intent lying in the cloud if you are looking for customers or investors. I’ve done it several times myself, and it speeds up the process.
Sometimes in meetings it is a “turning point” where the hot prospect says “this is interesting, and we would like to more into this”. That’s when you pull out an LOI (letter of intent) and sells it and close it on the spot.
Ones we had 34 meetings during seven days in Eastern Europe and returned with 22 LOIs. The tour was also a critical factor for us to raise 4.5 million in seed funding.
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The Gründernes Hus (The Entrepreneurs House in Oslo) we will have a focus on sales and acceleration of the process to get to market. We will also use our global network and expertise, providing power to kick-start the growth of the companies.
We are developing a roadmap that we will be complete during the summer, but already have four companies on they way into the system and much more in screening and pipeline.
The official opening of the 3rd-floor Accelerator is at the same time as the official opening of the 1360 m2 house. We have not written a business plan so far, but just taken action and focused on business and has sold close to 100% of what we have on sale so far.
Soon we sell memberships for Kafékontoret (Co-working space on the 1st floor). It’s just to get ready if you want to be a part of a great environment.