It takes one person to have an idea but a team to make it into a business… so how do you find that team? That is what Commercialisation Friends are for!
As you talk to people about your idea (after you’ve protected the Intellectual Property) why not keep them informed about how you are progressing? Simply ask them “Would you like me to keep you up to date on progress?” Most people will say “Yes” since having invested some time with you they’d like to know what happens next. So once you have permission to contact people what next?
Prepare a plan of subjects to write about. Once a month should be fine. Write an article about what has happened recently: not only your news (e.g. new customer on board, appearance in BRW or other newspaper, a charity event you’re sponsoring, etc.) but what is happening in your industry (e.g. other products that complement yours, changes in law or regulations, etc.). Think about having some controversial points of view to encourage discussion (and be prepared to answer it too). Make the article around 500 to 600 words long. These public articles will be indexed by Google bringing more visitors to your site, will show your site is active and help to project you as an expert who knows about their subject. WordPress is excellent software for hosting a website and it is very easy to write blog articles in too.
Now you have your monthly blog entry write a short email to go with it (say 100 to 150 words). Post the email out to all those people who gave you permission to contact them with a link to the article. Perhaps include a few back-issues of articles as well. If you use software like Campaign Monitor you can track who clicks on the email and reads the article. There is a “plugin” bit of software that will link Campaign Monitor and WordPress together to make this process fairly straight forward.
As for style – I like to keep both articles and messages conversational so that when they are read it is as if I am reading them. After all, the whole purpose of the exercise is to encourage the reader to think about my project for a few minutes.
As you build repour with your list of correspondents you will get to the point where you can ask for help. Remember each of your friends also has friends… For example, you could ask people to find errors on your website. I did just this and five people found some errors that had been visible and missed by many other people for a very long time all for the price of several cups of coffee (and an excuse to catch up with them).
One company I worked with in the UK followed this advice and ended up getting funding despite the fact that Microsoft released a directly competing software solution!
So if this is so easy, why aren’t people doing it? Too hard? Not sure what to write? Can’t make the technology work? Or is there another reason? Answers on a postcard (or in the box below)!