Aykut Hocaoğlu

02.09.2021 - 12:10

Wrench of the Start-up: Customer Presentation

02.09.2021 - 12:10

Getting customers is the most important but difficult job for a start-up. Perhaps the most painful part of this difficulty is to find the first customer for the early-stage startups. The recent intensifying open innovation efforts of corporate companies are an important opportunity for start-ups to do business with corporate firms at an early stage. Corporate companies can implement different programs and methods in start-up collaborations. Acceleration and running incubation programs, investing in start-ups by founding corporate venture capitals, or participating in existing funds are the most common methods. Another method that we have seen becoming widespread recently is to try start-up products first with PoC and then to execute the purchasing process. Companies that do this often aim to realize their technological transformations and strengthen their technical infrastructure. In this context, we see that corporate companies and start-ups organize numerous acquaintance meetings and come together with informational presentations. Several important considerations must be made in order for these presentations to be successful and for neither party to feel that the meeting was a waste of time. But, unfortunately, I wanted to collect my observations in this article because there are recurring problems that we encounter frequently.

We can say that this article was written not to make effective presentations in general, but specifically to draw attention to the issues that start-ups should pay attention to in their meetings with corporate companies to sell their products and develop business together.  

1)     First of all, the presenter must be chosen correctly. Before the meeting, it is worth determining who will attend the meeting from the other party and the participants’ expectations from the presentation and then choosing the presenter accordingly. If detailed technical specifications of the product will be discussed in the presentation, the technical officer of the team must make the presentation or be ready for the presentation. However, if it is the first acquaintance meeting, choosing the presenters who have good communication skills, understand the product/market/customer/value proposal/competition issues well, and can convey them well is an important point to progress to the next steps. You may have a very good product, but if you can't relate it to the other person, unfortunately, the risk of failure increases. An experienced and highly motivated team, which is one of the most important points for both investors and clients, is a very important element for the success of a start-up.

2)     Presentation plans should be done very well. One of the biggest problems that we often encounter even in entrepreneurs with a lot of presentation experiences is time management. Be careful not to spend half the presentation time talking about the history of the company, trying to explain past projects, giving information about different products at length, and talking about experiences with previous clients.  

3)     One of the problems that we often encounter in the presentations made by technical people is that they do not have a grasp of the issues such as market, competition, business model. Even more problematic than this is that they don't care about these issues, and some people express it as a virtue. It's a common problem we especially encounter in academic startups (spinoffs). You need to know the dynamics, legal requirements, documentation/certification/approval processes of the industry you are trying to get, without forgetting that this is your potential client. Otherwise, it's almost impossible to get the attention of the participants.

4)     You are expected to have information about the company you are making your presentation, detect or predict their needs and problems beforehand, and explain how and where your product can be used in the relevant company. Explaining the advantages that the company would get if they prefer your product is one of the topics that participants want to hear. Including this topic in presentations increases the likelihood of getting results and positively affects your response time from the other party.

5)     When discussing technical issues, be cautious not to overwhelm participants with theory and literature, as if presenting a thesis or presenting it too superficial and abstract, as a pre-incubator entrepreneur could. 

6)     Your personal interests, hobbies, adventures, enthusiasms, thoughts other than the topic of presentation cause you to waste your time. You are expected to be careful not to go too far out of the subject.

7)     The excitement, passion, and motivation in your presentation will keep the interest of the participants in the product at the highest level. People with poor presentation performance, those who speak with low voice and motivation in the presentation, and those who are constantly say “hmm” are less likely to receive positive feedback.