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How to sound out a business idea

sound out a business idea

When it comes to developing a business idea, it takes inspiration – and unfortunately it doesn’t fall from the sky. But maybe it’s standing in the supermarket queue in front of you or sitting in the café at the neighboring table? When you talk to other people about your idea, you’ll be rewarded with an inexhaustible supply of inspiration! Our guide outlines how to sound out a business idea.

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So sometimes you have to go out there to get on with the business idea. What if you switch to your favorite café? This is the ideal place for the method we would like to present here. We call it 52 Cups of Coffee, after the book of the same name by Megan Gebhardt, the “inventor” of this strategy.

Megan did an unusual experiment: for a year, she drank a cup of coffee with a stranger every week and wrote about it on her blog. Her success after 52 cups of coffee: a mountain of inspiration for her life and career.

Let’s repeat the experiment! Meet 10 people for a cup of coffee and talk to them about your business idea.

Here’s how to sound out a business idea

  • The first conversation to sound out a business idea is best with a friend. It’s easy and costs little to overcome. Ask them at the end to communicate to another counterpart you don’t know. From him you let yourself be passed on again and so on.
  • See if you can meet an experienced founder for a conversation. Maybe even someone who is concerned with the subject of succession. Perhaps it follows from your conversation that you follow this entrepreneur and take over your company.
  • The only criterion for selecting your interlocutors is that they should be as different as possible. It is not yet a question of talking to your potential clientele or experts, but of the suggestions from the “broad masses”.
  • Write down the main results from the talks.
  • Also briefly note who you spoke to (name, age, occupation, etc.).
  • Think about some questions beforehand, but stay flexible. The conversation should not be a question-and-answer game.

And one more thing: Don’t be afraid of stealing ideas – the probability that your counterpart will pick up your idea and implement it faster than you is very, very low.

If you really listen and ask the right questions, you can gain a lot of precious suggestions with this simple method.

Tips for your conversations over a cup of coffee:

  • Avoid closed questions (yes/no). Choose a question that is as open as possible, especially for getting started. For example, after presenting your idea, you might ask: “What do you think about it?” or “What do you think about it?”. Just listen.
  • It is important that you follow the flow of thought of your interlocutors and get to the bottom of it through targeted, open questions: “How do you mean this? Could you explain this in more detail?”
  • At the end of the conversation, or when it stalls, you can also address specific points that are important to you, such as: “How could I organize sales?”, “What would I have to change to reach even more people?” or “Which of your problems could do with the solution?”

Think of more questions and let the conversation guide you. The most important thing is to listen carefully and be open to the suggestions of your interlocutors. Because that’s what they take you forward!

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