Using LinkedIn to Fail Fast
Using LinkedIn to “Fail Fast” When Launching a Biz
On a recent episode of the Social Capitalist, LinkedIn Founder and The Start-Up of You author Reid Hoffman, was asked the following question by a listener of the show:
How can you leverage LinkedIn to seek potential customer feedback on products while you’re still in the ideation phase?
That’s actually fairly straightforward. Just find folks who would be the perspective customers, reach out to them, preferably by reference, but not always. This is part of when it’s useful to be a subscriber. But sometimes you have to say, “Look, I’m thinking about building a product of this following sort, could I talk to you or can I meet with you and I’d be really interested in your feedback of whether this product works for you,” and these sort of things. And some people will say no. They’ll say no more often when it’s a cold call. They’ll say no less often when it’s a reference, hence the preference for references. But then part of the reason why people are interested in this is they’re interested in what you might be building and how it might be useful for them. You should go meet with as many of these folks as you can, because that will help give you the intuition, and you should listen very carefully.
So for example, too often people tend to say things like, “So how much do you like my product?” And then it’s a kind of social gesture, and the person goes, “Oh, I guess it’s fine, it’s good.” And you know, the real relevant question is, “What do you think is really missing? Do you think this is really a game-changing product?” Like, really enable them to give you the negative feedback so that you can refine.
This is a central part of the entrepreneurial process. It’s called “failing fast,” and it’s not to fail, but to succeed in the long-term. And so you want to discover what the points of failure are even before you start building so that you can reformulate your plan in order to succeed.
To read or listen to the entire Social Capitalist interview with Reid, click here for the downloads. Have you used LinkedIn to crowd source a new business or product idea?