Captain's log, stardate d352.y36/AB
After over a year and a half organising the Startup Circle in Barcelona, we decided to pull the plug.
We have been hosting Startup Circle and Startup Grind until we realised they shared the same dynamics and principles: educating, inspiring and connecting entrepreneurs by helping each other. Therefore, we decided to merge the two communities to take Startup Grind BCN to the next level.
Through all these months, we have learnt the following benefits of organising events as a company.
1. It broadens your networks
By organising an event, you will have to contact different sorts of companies than those on your sales funnel.
Your event might require sponsors to help you with the expenses, or companies willing to pay for the catering or beverages in exchange for exposure and presence in the event. This is your entry point to a whole new set of potential clients or partners.
Depending on what kind of event you're planning, you might also need good speakers or celebrities to attract bigger audiences. By inviting them to an event, you have an excuse to shoot an email to that big guy and start a conversation. This might eventually bring some unexpected business.
Make sure you bring value to all the new contacts you make, and all else will follow.
At Startup Grind Barcelona first anniversary, we had our sponsors' logos in front of 180 people. Who doesn't want that?
2. It gives you media exposure
Even though there are lots of events going on, events are like startups: most of them fail. Therefore, we recommend waiting before you pitch the press too early. Instead, try building a solid event before marketing it.
People in the press, bloggers, social media influencers and media-friendly individuals are usually busy people who get lots of invitations to check out the latest cool event in town. Try making their life easier by waiting until your event is really valuable to invite them over.
They will appreciate your patience, and your event will be good enough for them to like it and write about it. Some of them will come back in the next edition!
Connecting with the first point, this will also open doors in the press and media community. Use them wisely, as some of them are one-off shots.
3. You will be recognised as an expert
Every company or individual in business has a target customer. We are used to bombing our target customers by sending them our services brochures, newsletters or project quotes. We are usually too direct in our sales process.
Few people can think differently about this and give real value to the customer before thinking about money. We have seen companies or freelancers offering free e-books or webinars to attract new clients. This is giving before taking, which is a proven way to increase your sales.
You should try to cater your potential customers with an event for them. Listen to their necessities and build the event around them. What do they want? Workshops? Inspirational stories? Quality networking? An informal meeting to drink beer with like-minded people? Something they can sponsor to get exposure?
In the end, you might not be the expert in the room, but you're the one making things happen. You are organising an event regularly, thus creating value in the community. This will help people think of you when looking for an expert in your field.
After all, if you can bring together dozens - or hundreds - of people in the same room regularly, with some experts here and there, that means you know a thing or two.
4. Offline is the new online
Some years ago, not having online presence was business suicide. When Internet became more accessible worldwide, all companies transitioned to the web and the first movers had a head start on the competition.
Nowadays, we think that being offline can really boost your success.
As technology made it easier for everybody to put up a sharp-looking landing page, using services like About.me, Strikingly or Squarespace, credibility is now at stake. If everybody can afford that, how can we be sure that the people behind those websites are legitimate/a big company/a full time consultant/a quality provider? The answer is clear: by meeting them in real life.
It might look contradictory that a remote working company is telling you to do business in person, but that's human nature. Physical presence breeds trust, as stated by Tobias Kormind, manager of 77 Diamonds. Build up trust in real life, then move to the online world once the business happens.
5. People will help you
We could not wrap up this blog entry without underlining how great it is to meet new people, and here's our way to thank them.
With our friends from Dineyo, Nektria, Rockyourmeal and the rest of Startup Circle in one of our after-work events.
If your event is genuine enough, people will sympathise with it. Some of them will tweet about it, share it on their social profiles, while some others will help you with a connection or two. You can even get people volunteer for you if they see the real value in the event.
Your event should be your way of giving back to the community that saw you start up your business. It is not only an act of kindness, but your community will genuinely benefit from it.
This is our experience and, of course, we will like to complement it with your insight. Do you also organise events? Are you an expert on the matter? Feel free to share what you have learnt so far in the comments section below!