The most important but hardest thing for a startup is to acquire customers. Perhaps the most painful process of this challenge is finding the first customer for early-stage startups. Open innovation studies of corporate companies, which have been intensifying recently, are an important opportunity for startups to do business with corporate companies at an early stage. Corporate companies can apply different programs and methods in startup collaborations. The most common methods are running acceleration and incubation programs, investing in startups by establishing corporate venture capitals (CVC) or participating in existing funds. Another method that we have seen more frequently nowadays is to try startup products with PoC first and then run the purchasing process for being a client of them. The companies that do this usually aim to realize their technological transformations and strengthen technical infrastructure. In this context, we see that corporate companies and startups organize numerous introductory meetings and come together with informative presentations (startups present their pitch decks). There are important points to be considered for these presentations to be successful. I wanted to collect my observations in this article because there are problem areas that we often encounter.
This article is not generally suggestion for effective presentations. It was written for startups should pay attention in the introductory meetings in order to sell products to corporate companies and to develop business together.
- Presentation plans should be made very well. One of the most problematic areas (even experienced entrepreneurs) we encounter is time management. Be careful not to spend half the presentation time telling about the history of the company, trying to explain past projects, giving information about different products, and talking about experiences with old customers.
- The presenter should be chosen correctly. Before the meeting, it is useful to learn;
- Who will attend the meeting from the company
- Company’s expectations from the presentation
- And determine the person who will make the presentation according to these points.
- If the detailed technical specifications of the product will be discussed in the presentation, the technical officer of the team should make the presentation or be ready in the meeting. But, if it is the first meeting, the presenter should have high communication skills, understand product / market / customer / value proposition / competition issues well and can convey them well.
- You can have a very good product, but if you cannot convey it to others, unfortunately, the probability of failure increases. An experienced and highly motivated team, which is one of the most important issues for both investors and customers, is the most important factor for startup success.
- One of the problems we frequently encounter in the presentations made by technically based people (mostly academic entrepreneurs) is that they do not have a command of the market, competition, business model etc. Even more problematic issue is that they do not care about these. In order to get audience attention, you need to know the dynamics of the industry you are addressing i.e. the legal requirements, certification / approval processes, without forgetting that the audience is your potential customer.
- When talking about technical issues, the details shouldn’t be explained as if making a thesis presentation.
- You are expected to have information about the company you are presenting, identify their needs and problems in advance, and explain how and where your product can be used in the company.
- Your personal interest, hobbies, adventures, enthusiasm, thoughts other than the subject of presentation cause you to waste your time, you are expected to be careful not to go too far outside the subject.
- The excitement, passion and motivation in your presentation will keep the interest of the audience at the highest level. People with low presentation performance, those who speak with low voice and motivation in the presentation are less likely to receive positive feedback.
The issues I have listed above are of course not indispensable, neither the 10 golden rules of success, nor the path to the contract in 5 steps. These are my observations on the most prominent problems from the presentations that I have experienced so far.
With this article, my aim is not to bring customers to startups, but to increase the probability of gaining customers with their presentations or to minimize the possibility of losing customers.
I hope that will be useful 😊