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Getting a Sponsor

Written by Richard San Juan for Gaebler Ventures

While initial funding for startups and small businesses are financed by loans and investment by venture capitalist firms, getting a sponsor is also important for help paying for attendance at trade shows, corporate events, and conferences. This is important, because it adds to the visibility of the product or service that the entrepreneur is trying to sell.

As a startup or small business, gaining exposure for your product or service is vital to the success of your company.
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Corporate events and trade shows are examples where demonstrations and explanations of the benefits of your product or service can be shown to professionals and business leaders.

However, during the early stages of your business, founders are usually low on cash and require funding to host such events. This is where the importance of sponsors comes in.

How can one obtain a valuable sponsor? For one thing, strong sponsors can be found usually in the people your company deals business with.

When your company has decided to participate or host an event where sponsorship may be needed, it is important you make contact by going through the person who manages your vendor account, because they are already familiar with your company.

It is necessary to develop a good relationship with the prospective sponsor company's representative before asking for funding. When the time is appropriate, detail your plan regarding the sponsorship and ensure what are the benefits for the sponsor company.

Showing that the event will mutually benefit both companies increases the likelihood of a sponsorship.

To maximize the benefits of the sponsorship relationship, there are three important aspects to focus on.

1. Clarify How Sponsorships Work

The first part is to ensure that there is agreement by both the sponsor and the startup being sponsored in how the sponsorship is structured. This will undoubtedly lead your startup or small business to research everything about your sponsor company and determine what its goals are. By understanding your sponsor company, it will be a lot easier in understanding the roles, objectives, and expectations of the relationship. After both parties are in agreement, a written contract should be drawn to cement the relationship.

2. Build Out the Sponsorship Program for the Event

The next area to concentrate on is how to implement the sponsorship. One method of doing this is to offer visibility in various advertisements, printed material and press releases to be used at your events by incorporating your sponsor's logo onto the promotional material.

A clever entrepreneur would seek to spend a good amount of time with your sponsor by encouraging the sponsor to be engaged with the planning committee of the event. This will allow them to be more involved and receive updates on the progress of the corporate event or trade show.

By working together with your sponsor, it gives you a better ability to search for ways to leverage each other's name and association with the other. This would create more of an impact on the audience for both companies.

3. Assess Sponsorship Results

After conducting the corporate event or trade show, the final stage of the sponsorship relationship is to measure the satisfaction of the sponsor, as well as your own performance in achieving certain objectives.

The details matter. For example, it is important to thank your sponsor publicly at the event to get the attention of the audience. If you forgot that essential task, you can be sure that your sponsor will never sponsor your events again.

Moreover, it is also important to measure your own performance by creating a summary report that compares the end result to the desired goals and objectives. For future events, getting feedback from attendees, personnel from the sponsor company, and your own employees is essential in repeating successful sponsored events.

As you can see, when managed and organized well, a fully integrated corporate sponsorship can be mutually beneficial to all parties involved.

Richard San Juan is currently pursuing an MBA degree with an emphasis in Finance from DePaul University in Chicago. He is particularly interested in writing about business news and strategies.

Conversation Board

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Share your experiences regarding getting a sponsor.

mike-dee 1/4/2010

i think this is great information for a start up company. im looking in to starting up an entertainment company. this bit of info helps me understand a little more about sposorship. it is a wonderful tool for business. please send me more litature on this subject. i too would like to become a successful entrepreneur in the business world.

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