If you know how to blog, podcast, share photos online, and basically use social media tools, you could start a business today.
Get a pad of paper and a pen.
Go to a business.
This is where the magic happens. Ask them what they are doing to reach out and connect with customers. What are their problems? How are they communicating online? Can they update their own site? What are their goals? What is causing them the most pain right now?
The idea is to ask questions, important business questions, around what social media tools have the potential to do. If you are following Chris Brogan’s series of Social Media Starter Moves for …, then you can pick up additional business uses for these tools.
For more ideas about how to create these questions, read Communicate: Ask Better Questions.
I tested this approach myself. The target was small businesses. The product was an online workforce solution, just as mystifying as social media stuff, I promise. Asking questions turned out to be the single most effective way to help business people understand the benefits and commit to using our solution.
Questions naturally lead the conversation to the value you add by helping reach those goals. If you can help a small business person alleviate pain, they will do business with you.
Can you adapt this same model to other businesses?
This article is part of the Small Biz 100, a series of 100 practical hands-on posts for small business people and solo entrepreneurs, whether in a small town, the big city, or in between. If you have questions you’d like us to address in this series, leave a comment or send us an email at email@example.com. This is a community project!
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.