Getting ready? Here are your Top 8 To-Dos for a Successful Startup Weekend [London]

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With just 8 days to go, it’s time to get ready for the next Startup Weekend London edition. Get ready for 54 hours of little sleep, great ideas worth pursuing, loads of new people and getting tested by some serious experts in their field. With only a few days left in the countdown we’re sharing the best practices of former SW participants, mentors and judges mixed with some of our entrepreneurial experiences with you!

Before next Friday:

1. Haven’t found your idea yet?

In case you haven’t found that one idea you want to pitch, start creating a list of all the things which bother you in everyday life: it can be at work, in your private life, during your travels or anywhere else.

Think about what kind of products or services you complain about and how they need to be innovated and disrupted. Try to come up with a simple solution that improves your or your family and friends’ life.

2. Now get some basic feedback

Once you’ve got an idea, gather some good, honest and critical feedback. The best way is by asking people who could potentially use your product. Would they be willing to pay for your solution? If so, why? If not, why not? Also ask them to get you a rough estimate of how much they would be willing to pay. If they are willing to pay a lot, then you already know there is potential for wider demand and the problem is big enough.

In case the overall price is pretty low, skip to step 3 and also consider that you may need to focus more on great design and quality to tighten the product-customer fit.

3. Do Your Research – Go Big Data

After receiving feedback from your close acquaintances, go Big Data and use Google Trends to find out if a critical mass is looking for your product or service. Check which keywords are being used to find your product or service and get a rough estimate of searches per month using the Google Adwords Keyword Planner Tool.

4. Gain some traction 

A quick way to create some early traction is by creating a simple landing page. Check out Strikingly or SquareSpace. Get people to sign up and be notified when your product or service is available.

You may also consider buying some ads from Facebook or Google and use your keywords you gathered in your research to see if anyone signs up. It is a great way to engage and motivate your SW team with some existing validation for your idea right from the beginning.

5. Prepare To Pitch Your Idea

Make your idea easy for people to understand. Try to answer the following questions in a few sentences and always start with your ‘why.’ Carve out the pain point through storytelling to bring it as close as possible to your potential teammates and all other participants:

Why are you here? Why is your problem worth solving?

What does your product or service do?

Distill your thoughts down to the very essence of your idea so people will remember it.

 6. Build your ideal Team

Figure out what kinds of skills and experience you need on your team. Do you need a developer, or a business person? Scan your LinkedIn contacts and see if you–or the people you are connected with–know anyone with the right expertise. Find one person you think might be able to help you with your idea, and invite him/her for a coffee. Invite him/her to join your team, but don’t worry if it does not work out – there are plenty of people without a team at SW London, and we’re expecting close to 100 people.

On Friday Night

7. Make Friends with the Makers

In case, you can’t get a great developer to join your team upfront make sure you know one by the end of the first hour. Tech talent is scarce :)

Try not to just talk to people who are close to what you do – the discussions will already be on the same level. Find your counterpart and ask what their “Why” is for the weekend.

Do you share the same energy level? Same motivation? Are you complementary but attending for the same reason?

When you approach people, think first, then act – You might be talking to your future co-founders!

8. Know How to Pitch: It’s All About the Story

Are you passionate about what you are pitching? Do you know why you are doing it? Can you promote the fact you’re starting something big this weekend

In any pitch, you don’t just sell your story, you also sell yourself. You are the blueprint of your idea and should be able to get others inspired. With so many curious and ready-to-go entrepreneurial minds in the room, you’ll need to get your message across clearly and gain the attention you need to get your idea to the next level.

Be able to quickly (but clearly) express who you are, why you are there and what you want to do. Your goal on Friday is to stick out to those who feel the same way and want to join your team.

 

We hope this gives you a starting point to get the most out of Startup Weekend. All our mentors over the weekend will of course give you further validation, feedback and critical input, and we’ll make sure to create a great atmosphere, enough fun and come along with some good food to supercharge you for the rest of the weekend. Let the fun begin!