Start-up culture is filled to the brim with start up events catering to it. Everything from huge conferences to tiny workshop opportunities, its easy to get sideswept into attending start up events that waste your time and don’t serve the purpose you intended. The aim with using events as part of a start up strategy is to make the most progress as fast and as inexpensive as possible, which is where an event app comes in. An event app gives you a means to network efficiently, plan your schedule perfectly and really understand where your clients and industry peers are coming from.
So how do you figure out what your start up needs from an event and how to cater to that?
The tendency for start-up culture to veer into personality cult territory makes it especially vulnerable to decision making based on trends and buzzwords, rather than any tangible outcome. Using an event app once you have decided which event is right for your business means you don’t miss anything, especially valuable networking opportunities.
Here we break down exactly what you can expect to gain from events based on scale and audience. What you expect to gain from a small event is different to what you might look for in a large event, but that’s not to say one outcome is more valuable than the other.
Large, Industry Wide Events: Research and New Ideas
It can be easy to assume that the bigger the event you choose, the better for your start-up. For sheer scale and the sake of not buying multiple tickets, picking a large event to promote your start up can seem like an efficient option.
This approach can be a blunt instrument. Sure, going to a large event means more people to promote your startup to and of course the kudos of saying you were there. What it neglects is that this means you will be competing with a vast array of other startups, not to mention much larger companies with far bigger budgets than yours.
If your aim is to launch or promote a very new start up, space a very large event is likely to tank your marketing budget for little return. No matter what you do, you are likely to get lost in the static and noise generated by more established brands with better installations.
In brief? This isn’t how you use very large events or start-up events as a small start up.
Large events should instead be used to get new ideas for your start-up. Watch what marketing and installation trends are gathering the most attention, the features that are getting the most interest. Large events are a great insight into where your market is at large so its important observe and act strategically on that information.
If the event is using an event app, familiarise yourself with any networking features. An event app will allow you to meet relevant people in your industry who can advance your project and avoid getting lost in the crowd.
Medium Sized Events: Stay Specific
Your aim with a medium sized event will likely be to attract new clients or find new partners. As a result, you want to make sure that the event is tangibly linked to your product or service. This means staying away from events which are all things technology or all things start up.
Events with more vague descriptions are less likely to attract the level of specific knowledge and needs that you need to create a practical benefit for your company.
While of course serendipity is always something to keep in mind, there are ways and means of maximising your chances of a benefit that are less time consuming than attending every event you are invited to attend or speak at.
Keep a close eye on how the programme of the event comes together. An event app may let you track updates to the schedule and speakers list. You should be looking for specialised, high level discussion rather than introductory overviews to get the best experience. Start-up events can offer you great advice specific to building your business, but might not necessarily give you relevant technical and development advice. Keep in mind what information you’re actually looking for.
Small Events: Targeted Networking
Targeted networking sounds a little bit calculating and unsavoury, but lets be real, nobody is out there networking for the good of their health. You are attending events and networking with a purpose in mind. Small events can take the form of coffee mornings or workshops, or even fitness classes or groups for marathons targeted to your industry.
They are a really great way to get one on one time with people in your industry to create mutually beneficial relationships. As distinct from large events which can tend to devolve into endless small talk, smaller events can offer opportunities for real conversation and real sharing of ideas and resources.
You can make use of an event app in smaller settings just as much as in large scale contexts. An event app that uses smart matching, chat and easy integration into CRM services cuts out a great deal of pain points that can ruin even the most promising of networking opportunities (lost business cards, the bane of everyone’s life). By giving you easier ways to keep track of contacts, you can focus on what the other person is actually saying above all else.
The temptation for start-ups to attend every event that comes there way is strong (and well documented). Its still important that not only do events cost money in terms of tickets, transport and accommodation, there is also the opportunity cost of missing time working and also missing events that might really benefit you.
Keep a practical eye on exactly what you stand to gain from attending an event. Develop a strategy before you go about who you want to meet and what you want to learn. Using an event app can give you a greater insight into who is attending an event, what they’re interested in and how to connect with them.
Gone are the days when it was enough to walk into an event and just talk to whoever you found at the free bar after the keynote. If you really mean business about using events as part of your start up strategy, you need to use every tool at your disposal. This means research the event app in advance, find out how best to use it and be sure to charge your phone the night before!