…instead of pitching your business

You had it. That “Aha” Moment. The moment where the lightbulb went off and you’re excited about your next potential business opportunity.

What to do next? Immediately start building it? Start researching the costs and feasibility? Quit your job and start pitching people for money?

In my opinion, whenever you have a new business idea, the first thing that you should do is talk to people.

Get feedback. Get opinions. Discover skepticisms. Uncover how and where you might go wrong.

Try to prove why this business WON’T work for you and see if you can prove yourself otherwise.

Furthermore, ask people who you don’t know. People you have never met before. Get outside of your immediate friend circle.

Why? Friends and family are the least reliable objective source of feedback for your business.

Why again? Because friends and family will generally support whatever you do. They want to see you succeed and be happy.

Thus, they don’t give candid, blunt feedback. They might not understand the work, and still say it’s great anyway.

If you need honest feedback, go to strangers. Get people who have no idea who you are to rip apart your work in the most objective way possible.

It’s the best way to get feedback.

A quick hack to make this happen?

When you reach out to people for advice, tell them you’re doing “research”.

People are less offended by research. I find that when I tell someone I have a “business idea” they immediately want to shut it down and disprove it.

When I say I’m doing research however, people point me in the direction of information, resources, and people to talk to.

No one cares about my research. They are disarmed. If they don’t have an opinion on the topic, they don’t give it.

But if I went to that same person and told them it was a business idea? Completely different reaction.

For example, when I started my company BrainGain, at first I emailed potential clients calling myself a startup.

Barely anyone replied.

Then I started emailing people simply stating that “I am doing research on hiring difficulties of companies in India”

My reply rates shot to over 50%.

This technique then worked in Malaysia, Singapore, SE Asia, and then every other country I’ve tried it in.

Ask people questions about their problems in the context of research, rather than business.

Research disarms people. Business makes them think you’re trying to sell them something.

You see, people love to talk about their problems. If you email someone telling them you’re doing research about their problem, they will LOVE you.

Moreover, if your product actually does solve their problem, you can pitch them afterwards!

For example, when companies in India told me that they were struggling to hire talent locally, I asked if they would be interested in hiring international talent (my solution)….they took the bait.

Be crafty in your pitch and how you find people. Be resourceful in how you validate your ideas.

Tell people you’re doing research rather than exploring a business opportunity, it’s a more effective way to validate your ideas and get higher quality information.

Also published on Medium.

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