Startup Events as a Way to Do PR, Increase Sales and Attract Investment
Both investment attraction and effective PR are the primary goals pursued by the startuprers when participating in different events. They consider it essential to participate in conferences, seminars and various expert meetings. Sales? – What are you talking about? – We are a startup company! We need a growth hack, networking, newsjacking, coworking, scaling and more pitches!
Seminars and Workshops
Let’s begin with the most useless and obvious way to slip into your pants pocket. These are workshops and various topical seminars with some “famous” guru in this field. Such educational meetings are usually held in citadels of laziness, hypocrisy, well-maintained semblance of work, procrastination, mixture, endless and unreasonable showing off or in coworking spaces. Why people go there except that of being present at these seminars? It is much better to work from your home and it doesn’t require any financial expense. Nobody distracts you and even if someone does, you can just close the door. People go there only to find the reason not to work, boast their new MacBook and take selfies in the style of “#working_at_work”. How can they take selfies while working or doing sports? You either work or you don’t. You either do sports or you don’t otherwise you came here to take a selfie to make everyone think how cool you are. How can you look good in the gym? Do sweat armpits, greasy hear and red puffed face look very sexy? Unless you did there nothing… Well, we deviated from the subject too much.
Ok, let’s go further. The best bit is when the topic of such workshops relates to success, motivation and other trends for lazybones who need a kick in the pants. I’ll reveal a secret to you and save your money. But don’t tell anyone. To succeed you need to work hard and there is no need to look for motivation, you either have it or you don’t. That’s all. I won’t even take money from you. Beginning entrepreneurs have nothing to do there, because it won’t work out if they look for motivation. As for professionals, they can only go there to have a good laugh about these weird speeches.
I’ve seen such gurus many times. They told us about the importance of our dreams and goals, but their hands were as dirty as the soil. Besides that, they wore badges with the name of some useless and cheap websites on it.
The audience is more respectable here. They know what they need and when they need it, but they don’t know how to achieve it. So, they go to conferences for expert advice, having previously forked out some money initially intended for their startup business development. Startup conference is a reservoir of knowledge…for regular visitors of self-development training workshops. If you have some idea of this field and came here looking for some secret information from “myth busters”, I hasten to disappoint you that the “experts” attend conferences with the same purpose as you do as speakers – to promote yourself. Remember your first thought when you were asked about your upselling techniques or maybe it was your initiative to give a speech: “That’s the great opportunity for self-promotion!” Now let’s use logic and elementary arithmetic. How many people saw your performance at the conference? Maybe 50, but if organizers are professionals who know what they are doing, you will have 200 viewers at most. However, startupers are rarely invited to speak at such conferences. They usually invite those people who are experienced at screwing things up. And you are just starting out. So, your reach is 100 people and your expenses include fuel and a train ticket costs (on condition that you pay no participation fee) as well as much time spent on travel, speech preparation and the event itself. How many views would your post get on some efficient blog? It’ll get on average 3 000 views (according to the blog of 2Polyglot.com international freelance platform for language specialists) and reach about 2 million unique visitors. Your expenses will include your time and Internet connection fee. Besides that, the result of your work is possible to check. How would you evaluate real efficiency from the conference? How many experts have you met during a coffee break?
And another thing. True professionals have no time for such conferences. They spend their free time either growing their business or being with their families for whom they work a lot and Facebook commentators give their speeches at conferences. With notably rare exceptions, giants who generated a stable passive income, go to such conferences just for fun. But you can’t reach them from your bottom. Their real advice will cost you too much.
And finally, some startupers even attend special conferences on networking, study psychology and neurolinguistic programming to learn how to kiss ass flatter. There is a special word invented for that – networking. It’s just some kind of trend: to invent smart names for primitive concepts, for instance, cleaning manager instead of cleaner. Of course, conference on flattery approach doesn’t sound reputable.
By participating in different startup battles, competitions and tournaments, you can kill three birds with one stone, particularly PR, investment attraction and your own hopes to promote your startup and attract investments at such events.
So, if we show up at conferences for startupers and experts in this field, we can have it all. That’s bullshit! We go to see and be seen. Of course, attracting attention is more important than paying it, but never mind. Only few people think that all other experts come there with the same goal.
There are 3 types of participants that can be distinguished at startup competitions:
- Jury experts
- Startup teams
Now let’s get all this straightened out which one of categories mentioned above is your targeted one.
Organizers. They enrich themselves at your expense. Their interest in your company business and your unique product means nothing. I trust you did’t console yourself with hope to be retained in their memory and get an invitation next time. It’s a stupid idea.
Jury experts. It is understood or, at least, you hope that jury members are real investors who came here to choose a worthy startup and invest one million dollars in it. Don’t deceive yourself with false hopes. Real investors help startups in which they have already invested their money. I’ll reveal a secret to you (for free): investors need startups as much as startups need investors. It’s their job and, besides that, investors also compete for priority in investing their money in a promising project. Every investment round means a certain revenue share of the company. First round implies the lowest investment amounts, but at the same time, this share is rather attractive and, thus, the highest interest rate of the future revenue. As they say “Who’s your daddy?”, however, in this case this is the investors advantage.
At the international startup competition Venture Days that was held in Prague in the fall of 2015, there were only 4 investors out of 50 declared. Organizers were babysitting their kids and the organization itself was at such a low level that speakers pitches were tangled like earphones in the pocket. On the other hand, there were lots of startups, but what was the audience they told about themselves? The other startupers, I guess. There were too much flossing and too high prices: €350 for two team members per 2 days.
At Get in the Ring startup competition which was held in December of 2015, the participants competed for the chance to win through to final in Amsterdam. The competition was held in several stages at the regional level and the final competition took place in Kiev. How do you think who received investments? Nobody did. And don’t say that startups were not good enough and so on. In this case jury wouldn’t choose anyone to defend country’s honor in the international arena. So that's not what it's about.
And the most staggering is that some participants declared expressly “We don’t need investments. We came here for PR”. For PR? Which one of these three categories will potentially buy their product? Only sellers meet together at such places: organizers sell their services, startups try to sell themselves and experts trade on their reputation. So, where are the buyers? – There are no buyers there.
Startup teams. Do they want to find partners? Or maybe potential mutually beneficial cooperation? Come on, nobody cares. People try their best to win this competition and they will destroy you with pleasure. You can raise up enemies there, not partners. All participants are so focused on themselves that all they can think about is how to make their pitch better and make everyone’s jaw drop to the floor. Nobody will remember what you do. Everyone is interested in themselves and no one else.
And finally, I want to give you one more free, but rather useful recommendation. If you want to attract investment, you should go directly to investors. It will give you the opportunity to lasso a person who you want to see as your investor. Because investment attraction is not only money, but also a long-term cooperation with a person who will not only give you money on favorable terms, but also help you with his contacts, give advice when you need it, because he is a real expert who went through the mill. And he is interested in you doing your work properly because your business is his money. The best thing you can do is not look for investors, but make a self-sustaining product because as soon as you generate good revenue, they themselves will find you, trust me. A lot of investors are apprehensive to invest in startups not generating income yet and often delay an “A” round. Don’t even dream about attracting investments without the help of MVP at idea stage. Only hard work without wasting time on showing off will help you do PR, increase your sales and finally attract investments you can’t do without.