Trade shows address common reasons startups fail

Everyone knows the adage “hardware is hard.” It’s true that hardware has its own unique complexities, but any startup founder will attest to the difficulty of building up any kind of business.

There are many obstacles to building any kind of business and many reasons startups fail. CB Insights has even listed out the top 20 reasons startups fail according to 101 postmortems it reviewed.

 

(Source: CB Insights)

Startup Launchpad was started to help startups address some of these common reasons for failure early on. The last item on the list is failure to pivot, but ideally startups can address concerns long before they get to that point.

How does a trade show and conference help build a business? Networking at a show like SULP can be critically important to early success. If you’re not a startup lucky enough to have a huge infusion of cash early on, these large events can help connect startups with potential buyers, investors, industry experts and other startup founders.

Each show has its different strengths, but SULP excels in bringing buyers, investors and startups together. Our show has 35,000 buyers and distributors in attendance, giving startups a chance to learn and find leads. The resources found at SULP are designed primarily to address four of the top five reasons startups fail:

  1. No market need
  2. Ran out of cash
  3. Get outcompeted
  4. Pricing/cost issues

The top reason identified for why startups fail is no market need for the product. Many startups must adjust to find a properly scalable use case. Most companies do not nail it on the first try, but the technology they develop could be applicable in ways they haven’t yet conceived.

This is why access to such a large network is so important. Talking with buyers and investors about what they’re seeing in the market can inspire new ideas. Even talking with other startups can help founders think of new technology uses or business strategies.

Exhibiting at a trade show also gives startups a chance to try out new products. In the case of SULP, the show is twice a year. A startup can quickly iterate based on feedback from one conference and see the changes in response from buyers and investors six months later.

A well-positioned startup may also be able to use feedback from a trade show for a first mover advantage or to learn competitors’ weaknesses. A great idea is nothing without great implementation. Attending a show like SULP with so many stakeholders and media outlets gives a startup useful feedback and exposure that can give it an edge in the market.

Meeting so many buyers also opens up the opportunity for purchase orders. That doesn’t just mean revenue from promised purchases, though. It can also help with loans or boost investor confidence in a company.

This new cash inflow can help scale manufacturing. Many suppliers also exhibit at the show, making it easy to get leads from companies that might help reduce manufacturing costs, as well.

The important takeaway for startups is to find events that can open up new doors. Trade shows and conferences are an important part of this process. Few shows combine all the elements found at SULP, but there are many avenues to success.

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