It’s difficult to come up with business ideas; the worst thing an entrepreneur can do is presume an issue exists and then create a company around it.
Many entrepreneurs are offered the advice to leave the building. If used metaphorically, it’s sound advice (if not, it’ll be a disaster; after all, why would your ideal consumer be out on the streets?).
But how can one leave the building digitally? Social media is the answer. You should concentrate on LinkedIn when it comes to developing business-to-business (B2B) business ideas.
Why should you use LinkedIn to contact potential customers?
There are several reasons why you should contact potential customers before establishing a firm. Above all, it ensures that you’re creating something that people will want to use and pay for.
It’s far simpler to develop something around a user’s wants than it is to pivot your product after it’s launched to meet their needs.
So, why should you utilize LinkedIn to further your company idea? For starters, it’s a professional network, therefore job queries are expected.
There’s a strong possibility they’ll connect and get into a conversation with you if your request is relevant to their business, work, or other professional aspects.
It’s also a lot simpler to define and target a specific audience based on their location, job title, and industry. This is especially beneficial if you’re researching a company concept that caters to other firms and needs to concentrate your emphasis around certain specialists or even a pool of organizations.
How to Use LinkedIn to Generate Business Ideas
Reaching out to LinkedIn members directly is the greatest method to investigate company ideas. You’ll see a significant increase in interaction, be able to follow up on particular queries, and perhaps develop connections with prospective consumers.
We’ll go through how to establish a plan for sending direct messages to LinkedIn members in this tutorial. Additionally, when you begin contacting LinkedIn people, it may be worthwhile to engage with them in additional ways.
Look for industry groups to join or start posting on user-generated conversation threads about issues relating to the company ideas you’re considering. Keep in mind that this isn’t your primary means of communication and won’t result in the same level of engagement as direct texting.
Instead, utilize it to expand your LinkedIn presence and create natural opportunities for networking. Instead of contacting out cold, mention an article a user shared, a comment they made on a post, or the fact that you’re both in the same business.
Research the market
It’s essential to choose a certain industry to research before you start reaching out to LinkedIn members. You should also conduct preliminary market research to inform your concept and the potential you’re interested in. In general, you want to know if the sector is expanding and how tightly controlled it is.
It will be tough to locate interested investors or contacts ready to speak about the business if the market is decreasing or stagnating. If a market is heavily controlled, the barriers to entry will be greater.
When you start reaching out to LinkedIn members, this might entail higher beginning expenses and difficulties with confidentiality.
Find a niche that interests you or in which you already have domain knowledge. Then see if you have a close friend or family member who works in the sector. If not, it’s possible that their connections are.
Make use of your contacts
Looking at your present contacts to see if any of them are connected to individuals in the industry you’re interested in is the greatest approach to start refining your ideas.
These are 2nd level connections, which means that you are indirectly related to them through someone you know. To begin your investigation of this group of people, you have a few options:
Look through your connections’ profiles.
Simply go to their profile if you have a connection in mind and want to learn more about their contacts. Then, at the top of the page, click the connections hyperlink to see a list of their connections right away.
You may filter results by unselecting 1st (principal connections) and choosing 2nd connections to eliminate common connections to improve on their business ideas.
Your own personal profile
If you don’t have any specific links in mind, you may begin by looking at all of your 2nd level relationships. Simply go to your profile and choose your connections at the top to get a list of your connections.
Change to the 2nd level of connections and When you go to 2nd level connections, you’ll see a complete list, including who your shared connections are. If you have any 2nd level contacts you’d want to talk with, it’s worth asking for a mutual connection for an introduction.
Narrow down your search
The second stage is to figure out what kind of businesses you’d like to collaborate with. This will allow you to fine-tune your search depending on the research you’ve previously done in stages one and two.
Let’s pretend you’re looking for possibilities in the FinTech industry. In this situation, there are a few distinct sorts of businesses to consider:
- Financial services corporations such as banks, insurers, and payment processors
- Venture capitalists and private equity firms are examples of investors.
- Other FinTech Businesses
- Companies that aren’t in the financial services industry
- SMBs (Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) (SMBs)
Who should be targeted?
Identifying the sorts of businesses to whom you want to reach out will help you better clarify your concept and the possibility for a certain business type. Smaller companies or players typically receive fewer requests to talk with them and are more likely to take a call.
Larger businesses, on the other hand, maybe more difficult to reach out to. It could be a good idea to start with a broad search and then narrow it down depending on your early interactions and replies.
Remember that different sorts of organizations will have different touchpoints. For bigger companies, positions such as CDO, strategy, and innovation, as well as heads of departments and business development, should be considered.
You should target the GMs, CEOs, and operations of smaller companies and SMBs. Use the following list if you need a more generic list of job titles to go through:
CEO, CFO, and CTO, business development, innovation, and digital strategy management.
Make a list of people to contact.
It’s time to start reaching out once you’ve decided on an industry, mutual contacts, and roles/businesses. Here’s how to conduct a more precise LinkedIn search:
Go to LinkedIn and type anything in the top-right “search” field. Then choose “all filters” from the drop-down menu. You can enter the location here, however, it isn’t necessary to do so at first.
After then, if you have any firm names in mind, you can select them. Then select sectors to target (if you have one) and, most importantly, the job, which LinkedIn refers to as “Title.” You type in the role (role name by role name) and a list of persons to contact appears.
Remove the previous search query or replace it with one that is more relevant to the search, and you’re done.
Now that you’ve compiled a list of individuals to contact, it’s time to make contact. You may send as many messages as you like using the InMessage function (which is a premium LinkedIn service that delivers your message to them directly) or press “connect” and type your message in the message prompt.
Keep in mind that they will only reply or connect with you if your message resonates with them. Our message has a 30% response rate, which is excellent for a LinkedIn cold message (or cold messaging in general.) This is the script we use, which you may modify:
“Hello there” (Name),
I’m writing in the hopes of learning anything from you. I don’t have anything to sell; I’m simply curious about the issues you’re having at work. The goal is to see if I can create a solution that solves this type of issue. Thank you for your assistance!
Keep in mind that not every message will be received well. Instead, you want to start with a high volume to enhance your chances of really engaging with users in your field. You’re attempting to make your study as simple as possible, which necessitates looking for patterns in the responses you receive. For example, you may obtain the following responses:
- (BROAD) I never have enough hours in the day—you need to know why in this situation.
- (NARROW) I get a lot of emails—do they all come from work?
- (PROBLEM) I receive too many spam emails—This is the closest thing you can come to a solution.
The more individuals you contact, the more probable it is that patterns will develop. Either respondent job titles or real issues. The method is gradually eliminating job titles or industries that aren’t responsive or have issues you can’t fix.
The goal is to reach a point where you fully comprehend the person’s condition, why it occurs, and how much suffering it causes. It’s a strong contender for a company concept if it’s costing that individual a lot of money, time, or sales.
An example of using LinkedIn to investigate a business concept
When I employed this method, I had a specific target in mind: bank anti-fraud teams. Initially, I used the ‘title’ search to look for a variety of employment responsibilities.
I utilized terms like AML (anti-money laundering), KYC (know your customer), and fraud terms that I found after doing some research on bank anti-fraud teams.
All of the comments and replies led in the same direction as my team and I started reaching out. We needed to talk with individuals who worked in transaction monitoring teams.
When we realized this, we started getting responses like:
- “We receive false warnings on a daily basis.”
- “False positives waste a lot of time,” says one expert,
- “CMT instruments overlook instances or investigations that cost us millions.”
- “Our alarm systems aren’t particularly reliable.”
All of which are diverse methods of expressing the same idea. Anti-fraud teams’ existing tools are unreliable and lack specific customization. This wasn’t exactly what we wanted to hear, but it was a consistent issue among all of the banks we met with.
It’s never a good idea to steer your talks down a path you don’t want to go down. So don’t ask questions like “do you have X particular problem?” or “do you have Y specific problem?” This restricts the person you’re conversing with’s point of view and may cause them to avoid discussing the real issue.
Create a LinkedIn method for exploring company ideas.
This approach may appear intimidating, but it is a really efficient way to create ideas and establish a network at the same time. Before you develop anything, you’re studying and engaging potential consumers at the same time.
This increases your chances of discovering product-market fit while also generating an initial list of potential consumers. The method is virtually free, and it allows you to connect with thousands of people you would otherwise be unable to meet in person.
The nicest part is that your prospective clients are doing your work for you by identifying an issue and describing how inconvenient it is to solve it. It’s as simple as looking for trends, asking follow-up questions, and listening.
It’s remarkable what people will say when you focus on helping them rather than trying to sell them anything using their business ideas.
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