Prepare for Product Demo Failure

BEEN FISHING

Image by gazzat via Flickr

This afternoon I had the opportunity to listen to two entrepreneurs pitch their new product and company at my office. The entrepreneurs are talented software developers and have been building an app for the last four months. After some quick catching up I asked them to do a short product demo as I always want to see the technology as much as I want to learn about the business — I’m a product geek at heart.

As you might have guessed, the inevitable happened: the product demo failed due to our firewall blocking certain ports. Entrepreneurs should always prepare for product demo failure. Here are some tips for preparing for a product demo and if it fails:

  • Have screenshots of key app functionality ready to show in a simple PDF or Google Presentation
  • Bring handouts in the event the projector doesn’t work (yes, dead trees come in handy once in a while)
  • Don’t spend too much time trying to get the demo to work — the goal of a meeting is to develop interest for a next meeting so focus on building rapport
  • Apologize for the demo not working and make a note to follow-up with instructions on how they can test it on their own

Product demo failures are a part of entrepreneurship. Take the failure in stride and still make the most of the meeting.

What else? What are some other tips around product demos and product presentation failures?

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