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Everyone at Transpose HQ is so excited to to be helping entrepreneurs compete in Global Startup Battle this year that we’ve already started putting together some resources to help teams succeed.  Anyone can sign up here to access their custom GSB toolkit and get a feel for the Transpose platform, which is designed to help entrepreneurs organize everything in one smart workspace.

To get attendees prepped for upcoming Startup Weekend events during GSB, we’ve also put together a few tips below to help you maximize your experience.

 

Mistake #1: Friday Night Tunnel Vision

The Startup Weekend model doesn’t favor ideas; instead, it emphasizes teams.

A lot of people come to Startup Weekend with a startup idea that they’ve been developing for a long time. Startup Weekend is the perfect low-risk atmosphere to test out an idea and see if it has staying power or solves a real problem. However, it’s all too easy for attendees to get hyper-focused on their idea — which may not sound that problematic, but can actually hinder entrepreneurs at Startup Weekend.

Those who put all their faith in an untested idea often come up short. At Startup Weekend events, idea-attachment can prevent you from building a great team, and it can blind you from uncovering an even better idea with the help of others. That’s why Friday night at any SW event is built around organic team formation. The agenda on Friday evening doesn’t even allow for everyone to work on their own pitches — and that limitation ends up helping entrepreneurs to get more creative anyway.

Resources (click here to access)

To help you get and your team organized off the bat, we’ve created a simple team contact form and a team task manager designed specifically for GSB teams.

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Mistake #2: Staying “Heads Down” On Product

Attendees should keep in mind that during final presentations, what a panel of judges wants to see more than anything else is solid customer development.

A finished prototype or product? That’s a cherry on top, sure, but it means very little if you haven’t proven that the product is actually desired by paying customers or that it solves for a real-life problem experienced by lots of people.

There is only one way to check this box: talk to people. The most important thing a team can do during a Startup Weekend is talk to customers. Organizers tell attendees this piece of advice constantly, but no matter how many times it’s encouraged, it seems like a number of teams always opt to focus on product instead of customer.

Startup Weekends are fast-paced and there isn’t a lot of time to spare, which leaves attendees feeling like they need to spend most of their energy creating something tangible — but that isn’t a winning strategy. Fight the temptation to roll up your sleeves, put your head down, and work for hours on end.

Getting Customer Development Right

It helps to read a bit about customer development beforehand if possible, and entrepreneurs should carefully craft questions that go beyond, “Do you like this or not?”. Valuable customer questions sound more like, “What’s the hardest part of your day?”, “What are some unmet needs you have?”, or “What tasks take up the most time in your day?”. If you can get a potential customer to reflect on these types of questions, you’ll have a much better sense of what product(s) they’ll be excited to use or even willing to pay for.

Resources (click here to access)

Use our customer development form to help you get started with customer interviews as well as the customer leads tracker so you can organize your most engaged potential users and stay in touch.

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Mistake #3: “Winging” the Final Presentation

Many teams think they’ll be fine without practice, but once there’s a full audience and a panel of influential judges waiting to hear a seamless pitch, things can fall apart quickly.

Even the most impressive prototype or “Minimum Viable Product” at Startup Weekend won’t perform well competitively if it can’t be pitched in a powerful way. Teams should spend a few hours on Sunday to decide who the primary presenter(s) will be, what assets are most needed to put together a great deck (company logo, screenshots, etc.), and then do numerous run-throughs of the presentation.

When it’s down to the final hours on Sunday before presentations kick off, stress levels are high on most teams. Instead of developing your product or your new company website until the last moments before final pitches, do yourself a huge favor and remember that a seamless pitch can illustrate great potential (even if the product isn’t ready yet), and that a great startup with a bad pitch won’t take you far.

Resources (click here to access)

To help you focus on the most important pieces of your presentation and hone in on your baseline product needs, we’ve created a GSB-specific judging criteria checklist as well as a guide to managing those short 54 hours at Startup Weekend.

 

Be sure to check out all of the GSB templates by signing up here. Have an idea for a tool that would help you at Startup Weekend? Email gsb@transpose.com to suggest a resource and we’ll build you a custom template.  

 


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Claire Topalian Claire Topalian
(@clairetopalian) Blog, Professional Writing, Communications and PR Specialist. I craft compelling, mission-driven content for companies and individuals that amplifies brand awareness, fosters community, and drives engagement. My experience includes work with tech startups, major corporations, and international non-profits. @clairetopalian