I just got back from my 10th year of CES the biggest consumer electronics show in the USA. Here are the things entrepreneurs messed up heartily!
1. Lesson one
Be prepared for success. At least a dozen startups in Eureka park (the startup area of CES) had run out of fliers and business cards by day 3. Seriously? There are investors walking around as well as buyers and distribution and you have no card for them? (P.s. See our website is not an answer). Kinko s is an answer.
2. Lesson two
Not everyone is important. In fact most of the joes walking around cannot help you. So, what do you do? You have to ask people about them before you tell them all about you. If you learn they are a reporter, great! Share the vision. If you learn they run a recipe website (like me) maybe you don't need to share your founding story, just tell me what you do and be polite.
3. Lesson three
For goodness sakes make it easy for people tonl figure out what you do! I should not have to read your entire wall and your brochure before I it out. Make it a one line statement, big and bold and in front of me. This will help a lot with 1 and 2 above by the way... The important people will find you. Others who figure you out may not need that flier you ran out of. And for goodness sakes don't make it a goal to hand out fliers!
4. Lesson four
Have a goal! Many of the 200'or so startups I spoke to had no goal for the show, none. "We're just here showing our stuff off" is not a goal. Get Press, sales, investment, leads, those are goals.
5. Lesson five
Let people know your goal and do stuff that will help you get that goal. An hourly giveaway is not going to attract investors. A party? Hah! How about setup meetings in advance? How about have a "investor area" of your booth to chat with any that come
6. Lesson six
Do not drink on the job. It's sloppy and shows a lack of selfcontrol. If you drink, do so after the meetings and don't overdo it... CES is a long show, and being late to open just looks really really bad!
7. Lesson seven
Don't hire or bring show workers who know nothing about your products or services. Especially don't leave them alone. "Im sorry, nobody is here who can answer that" is not a good answer. You just lost a huge sale, forever.
So, was CES a good show for me? Yes! I leave CES 2016 feeling great about technology! The future gets cooler every year, and it is no surprise nor secret that it's startups leading the charge!