How to take advantage of momentum
The buzz and energy of startup conferences shows, as nearly everyone you meet is excited to talk. There wasn’t a person that I spoke with at Slush that didn’t have a great story to tell, or listened to what I had to say about Messente.
But then the weekend comes, we sleep in, and Monday rolls around. Now what? It’s easy to get back to business as usual and do the same thing you did the week before Slush. And that’s a good way to waste momentum. Before Slush, I discussed goals and creating plans before attending startup conferences. If you did that, great, it’s likely that there was some method to the madness. If you didn’t, you probably walked towards the entrance, under the “hey weirdos, step in” sign, wondering what to expect.
Regardless, take advantage of the connections you made during the conference. The opportunities are there; you might get a new customer, some PR, or even an investor. However, it’s up to you to act –we all met a lot of people, so it’s likely people forgot who you are. Here are some suggestions on what to do next.
No, don’t email everyone the same thing. That’s the fastest way to get ignored. Parse through the business cards you collected and categorize them based on contact types. Create a pile for potential customers, media contacts, and investors/VCs. Create more categories if there are different contexts. You don’t have to contact everyone; it’s okay to have a trash pile.
Get the contacts to the appropriate people.
Unless you’re a one-man show, split up the work. If it’s a selling opportunity, pass the contact to sales. If it’s a PR opportunity, let marketing handle it. Pass investors to the CEO.
Send an email and connect.
Pretty self-explanatory –email the contacts and connect online (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) But don’t wait too long. If you’ve waited over a week, you’ve lost momentum, and possibly interest.
Follow through and follow-up.
If the contact is valuable, give them time, but follow-up if you don’t get a response. People get busy and emails get buried (you’re likely not the only one emailing people right after Slush.) The people that follow-up show that they would really like to re-connect and the conversation at the event was important.
Respond to people that email you.
This is a two-way street. You’ll get emails too, so respond to people you’ve met. If it turns out that there’s no mutually beneficial outcome with the connection, be transparent and let people know that you do not see an opportunity.
Business is about people and the people of Slush gave us the opportunity to spawn new relationships. Putting in some effort after the event (and it was one fun event,) may pay off in several ways.