WHAT TO PLAN BEFORE ATTENDING YOUR FIRST START-UP BUSINESS EVENT
By Sam Janzen
Networking events can be daunting for new entrepreneurs, but they’re crucial to the growth of startups and young enterprises. Here's our seasoned advice for those just breaking out into the big world of little business.
At LUMA-iD, we get involved in all aspects of product development, from concept to production. If you need assistance or advice with your project on any step of the road, just give us a call on 020 869 22873.
Who to meet
Larger companies already have their contact books bursting at the seams, but don’t underestimate the power of tech meetups and events. You need to know people! But who do you need? The first thing to work out is who you need to speak to, in order to push your project further. Do you need funding? Are you in need of a developer? Do you need help developing your product? Work out exactly who you need to meet and why.
Find the correct event
There’s a huge range of networking opportunities around. You might have to travel to your closest city for them, but it’s worth the day out. Here in London, we are spoiled for choice! So picking and choosing which ones to attend is half the battle. Use your knowledge from the previous point to focus on finding the right people for you. One of the many angel investor events would not be a place to find a freelance app developer. Tech.london has a great list of startup events in London, which is what we use the most!
Prepare your promotional material
Don’t worry! You don’t need much. Just a roll-up banner, leaflets and a trusty pack of business cards. Keep your artwork to the point but with a clear branded message. If necessary you can create some posters, but in my experience they’re more trouble than they’re worth. Events like these are made for roll-up banners – get two if necessary!
Top tip! Keep some blank space on your business cards to make notes on!
Learn to summarise
An elevator pitch would be ideal, but don’t stress too much about pitching to every person you meet. Just a quick overview of you and your business is ideal for people to gauge whether you can be useful to each other. Once they’re interested, you can delve deeper into what you can offer and what it is you need. Remember to listen! You’re looking for them as much as they’re looking for you.
Keep yourself available for a further chat
If you’ve got a stand, make sure you take one other person with you! If you get a curious investor come to your stand, nothing is worse than having to put them on hold while you explain your product to someone else. You should focus your attention on those who are most important, so be sure to go grab a coffee with any prospective contacts, and leave your assistant to man the stand.
Business cards are flying everywhere at these events, and the best contacts will forget by the morning after. Make sure you follow up with a short email reiterating what was said and who you are.