This past Thursday I attended the Dallas Startup Happy Hour 2.0 to do some networking for my startup, Selloscope. I thought, “I have a Dallas-based startup, these guys are Dallas-based startups, it’ll be great to get out and meet some people.” I was expecting it to be a little difficult to break into the conversations. (Actually it wasn’t so hard.) What I hadn’t counted on was this:
The first question everyone asks is, “Why are you here?”
So I give them the honest answer… I have a startup, I’m in Dallas, doing some networking, etc. etc. Turns out, that is the WRONG answer.
“Why are you here?” is a curt question, meant to help save everyone’s time and to direct you to whom you need to be talking to. Two people had already told me “You’re in the wrong place,” and I was worried about striking out a third time. Fortunately, someone helped me learn the lesson. He said, “Ah, you’re in the right place, you just don’t know why you’re here. Let me tell you why you’re here.”
He went on to explain that since I have a working product on the market, I’m ahead of 90% of the game. I’m at the Startup happy hour to get some help figuring out whether I want to keep growing the business organically (as I’m doing now) or if I want to seek investor funding to help me accelerate Selloscope’s growth curve.
So there you have it: Before you go to a startup event, set a concrete objective. Know what you’re there to achieve — and it’s not just swapping business cards. Seems obvious once you hear it.
Now I’m really excited about next month’s happy hour so I can keep learning. Thanks to Architel and the Dallas Startup Happy Hour 2.0 leadership team for sponsoring and organizing this great event. Special thanks to Linda, Paul, and the wise man who’s “not giving out cards” (I can’t blame you!) for the great lessons. I sincerely appreciate it.
2 thoughts on “Startup Lesson Learned: Know Why You’re Here”
Jeb, glad you made it out to Startup Happy Hour and found it useful.
In addition to having an objective, I think it’s also important to keep an open mind. At events like this, you never really know who you could run into.
It might be a future business parter, investor, employee, acquirer, etc, etc…
Hope to meet you at an event soon!
True, great advice. You never know who you’ll run into.
Thanks Bradley! I’ll keep an eye out for you.