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Exhibiting at a conference? Here are tips from 4 startups who’ve been there, done that

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LouisaLouisa Chiew

3:00 PM on Feb 25, 2016

Whether you’re exhibiting at Tech in Asia Singapore 2016 or any tech conference, it can be daunting when you realize that you’ll be exhibiting in front of some thousand attendees. For a first-timer, the experience can be extra stressful. What’s a sure way to impress? How do I get people to visit my booth?

To help you combat blunders virgin exhibitors commonly make, we asked 4 startups who exhibited at Tech in Asia Jakarta last year to share the inside scoop on things to look out for, as well as some tried and tested ideas to help you dazzle your booth visitors.

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare

To borrow Murphy’s adage, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Hence the first and most important tip adtech startup Social Buzz offers is to prepare, prepare, prepare.

Start by putting together a checklist of items to bring to the conference early on. With limited charging points, and thousands of people sharing the venue wifi, portable chargers and pocket internet should definitely go on the list. To be extra safe, come early to set up just in case you miss out anything.

And of course, do your homework. Every conference, and exhibiting ground will have their own terms and conditions – VillaCarte CEO Vladyslav Grankin advises exhibitors to read through all and any materials related to the set-up of your booth, including FAQs, so you don’t encounter any unpleasant surprises on event day.

  1. Spread the word

This isn’t a time to be shy. Where possible, announce your startup booth details – your social media channels are a great place to start. While doing so, don’t forget to use the event hashtag (#tiasg2016), so people searching for social posts on the conference can easily uncover yours!

By increasing awareness of your startup’s presence at the event, you’re likely to drive higher footfall to your booth.

The team at Gorry Gourmet took it a step further, by personally inviting people they knew were attending the conference to visit their startup booth.

  1. Know what you want

CoinPip’s advice for exhibitors is straightforward enough: be clear about what your objectives for exhibiting are. For the money transfer startup, their main goal was to understand the general sentiment about the fintech sector in Indonesia, as they found expos a great way to learn about the market, or showcase a new product for some press – not necessarily only for conversions.

By setting yourself quantitative or qualitative KPIs beforehand in accordance with what you want to get out of the conference, you can later assess how fruitful the exhibiting experience was.

Take note that this doesn’t mean shunning people who don’t fit your criteria though. As William Susilo, cofounder of Gorry Gourmet rightly advises, “don’t expect to just speak to investors (or your targeted audience) – there are many other stakeholders that would make valuable connections.”

  1. Show em’ what you’ve got

One simple way to draw people to your booth is putting your products or prototypes on display. Gorry Gourmet did an excellent job of it at Tech in Asia Jakarta 2015. The startup in the business of delivering healthy food, had their website up on laptops for people to browse on-site, and gave out tasty food samples. Their simple stint attracted passers-by like moths to a flame, and scored them initial discussions with at least eight potential investors.

Interactive demos help people to visualize your product better and will help to shape better conversations.

  1. Know your stuff like the back of your hand

For many attendees, visiting your booth might be the first time they hear of your startup – and we all know how important first impressions can be.

Vladyslav Grankin of VillaCarte suggests preparing pitches of varying lengths – 30 seconds, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes to cater to the interest level of your audiences. He even uses an effective benchmark to measure your pitch delivery against: “Make sure you can seamlessly deliver them even at 2 in the morning, after a bottle of vodka. This applies not only to the CEO, but the entire team as well.”

Want to cover all bases? Take a leaf out of Vladyslav’s book, and script tricky questions for your team beforehand to ensure they understand your slides and business numbers thoroughly.

If you’re a startup planning to meet and mingle with thousands of international conference attendees, the perfect place to do so would be at Tech in Asia Singapore 2016’s Bootstrap Alley.

Full article with comments can be found here

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