- Money – until the revenues come in there are bills to pay, and without some money coming in it is often hard to gain investments.
- Awareness – you may have a great product or service, but you need a lot of people to be aware of you before you get a good flow of business interest. In the early days you might find you need 100 people to be aware of you to get 1 person interested in talking to you, and you might need to talk to 25 people who are interested to sell a single project.
- Feedback on your idea – you might think your idea is great and that it solves a key business problem. However, you will be unaware of what many other companies are doing, especially in other countries. Claims that you are the first to tackle X or Y or Z can make you look pretty silly if the people you are speaking to are familiar with other solutions.
Using IIeX to tackle these three problems
There are lots of ways of tackling these problems, but in this post I want to highlight one specific option, IIeX conferences and competitions. IIeX is series of events held by GreenBook and Lenny Murphy in North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America, which showcase all that is new, disruptive, and innovative (declaration of interest, I am involved in organising and curating these events).
Below are some of the ways IIeX can help.
The IIeX events in North America and Europe have an innovation competition with a cash prize (in 2016 the prize was $20,000). The competition has two elements; first you need to enter an online section where voters pick the finalists. Second, you make an in-person pitch to the judges at the competition. As well as money you will also get feedback and the opportunity to work with a mentor.
IIeX Europe (Amsterdam) is attended by over 300 people, all of who might be interested in your idea. IIeX Atlanta is attended by over 1000 people, all of who could be future suppliers, partners, or customers. In addition, IIeX gets extensive coverage in social media and the videos of presentations are viewed by many more.
If you enter the Innovation competition, or present on the stage in a conference session, or perhaps take a booth at one of the events you will gain a bucket-load of feedback. People will not be shy about telling you what they like and what they don’t like about your product or service.
Getting the Most from IIeX
If you want to turn IIeX into money you should start your planning early. Are you going to enter the Innovation competition? Or, are you going to try to earn a speaking slot? If your idea is pretty cool and innovative you WILL get a slot, for free. Or, are you going to pay for a booth or speaking slot?
The next two key dates are:
- IIeX Europe (Amsterdam), 20-21 February, 2017
- IIeX North America (Atlanta), 12-14 June, 2017
Companies that have taken part in the Innovation Competition and gone on to great things include ZappiStore and RIWI.