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Mike Kawula

How to get Small Business Owners to Interview?

Asked February 5, 2013 by in Business Fundamentals

I'm starting a blog that individuals looking to start a small business can visit to listen or read interviews from small business owners in the niche they're looking to start a business in. They'll be able to learn more about the exact business they're interested in and hear over 25 answers to questions they might have before making a decision to open that type of business. Individuals will be able to validate and schedule a discovery day on the site with independent business owners.

My question is how could I more easily reach Small Business Owners other than cold-calling? My site is new so I can't use HARO. I've tried twitter and facebook, but not enough traction yet. Currently I spend to much time trying to get interviews and I need masses in the same niches to make it valuable. Any ideas?

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Benjamin Warsinske

Benjamin Warsinske   February 10, 2013

Mike, great idea! I always find those blogs and podcasts useful. What types of small businesses are you targeting? I am in the process of launching a company currently and would love to connect and interview with you. My industry is management consulting/strategic planning.

Let me know! Good luck!

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Mike Kawula
Mike Kawula Thanks Benjamin. Small businesses with Revenue under $5 million are the majority. I've interviewed Nail Salons, Bagel Stores, Internet Retailers, Agencies and more. If the interview can help answer questions someone might have sitting at home, then I'm happy. Would love to connect near the end of the week if you'd like. I'm reachable via Twitter @myjobsit Look forward to speaking and thanks for the comments again. Mike
February 11, 2013

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Robyn Henderson

Robyn Henderson   March 2, 2013

Start networking! Attend a chamber of commerce meeting where you will meet a cross section of business owners. Have your spiel request prepared - follow up with an email (that they are expecting) and be prepared that 50% of these people will so no the first time you ask them. The easier you make it for people to deal with you, the more yes answers you will get

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Mike Kawula
Mike Kawula Robyn - Thanks for taking the time to answer. Chamber has been a great start. Do need to set up email though. Thanks again. Mike
March 2, 2013

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Joseph Bernard

Joseph Bernard   February 6, 2013

A good old fashion "snail mail" letter invitation is never a bad idea. Unfortunately, postage cost may make it a bit expensive, but I know that I still read letters that appear to be personalized.

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Mike Kawula
Mike Kawula Thanks for the feedback Joseph, truly appreciate it.
February 6, 2013

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Steve Clute

Steve Clute   February 18, 2013

LinkedIn search and personal invitations?

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Mike Kawula
Mike Kawula Steve, Personal Invites have been a big part. I do use LinkedIn search for other uses and didn't think of it this way. I'll take a look. Thanks
February 19, 2013

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Madusha Cooray

Madusha Cooray   February 6, 2013

Chamber of commerce events are always a good way to get the word out. Also see whether your camber would let you do a presentation to all the small business owners. Some cities also have small business networks, where you can present your idea to. A third option is, start talking to your city council and see whether they have any small business development centers. I know there are a few where I am living. You can talk to the reps there and leave few brochures. Finally, try meetup.com see whether you can attend a few events there and make some connections.

Good Luck!

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Mike Kawula
Mike Kawula Thanks Madusha. Networking has been working great, just trying to speed it up. I appreciate you encouragement and wish you great success! Mike
February 6, 2013

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Carrie Dunham

Carrie Dunham   February 8, 2013

I suggest starting local and going to live networking events to meet people who you might want to interview. Follow up with specific people that others would be interested in listening to and then ask them if they know of anyone else that might be interested in participating. It's a great concept and I'd think a lot of business people in your area would be willing to share their stories.

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Mike Kawula
Mike Kawula Thanks Carrie, have done several local and I was trying to get diversity for when the site goes live, but you're probably correct that posting what I have will get others to participate. Thanks for the comments. Mike
February 8, 2013

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Ellen J. Harris

Ellen J. Harris   February 9, 2013

Mike, the very best, tried and true, effective method to reach small business owners is to give them something. Example: Search out small business owners that interest you. Invite them to do an interview with you.

The question is what's in it for them to take an hour out of their day to talk to you?
What is the benefit to them?

1) Record the interview - give them the recording.
2) Transcribe the recording - give them the transcript.

Both you and the Business Owner can use the results. Promise and keep your word to use the result in the most professional way. Blog about their business, what you learned from the interview. Recommend them and their business. Tweet about them. Send an audience to them. Set yourself up as a go-to resource.

Two things occur with this method.

1) You build a credible reputation.
2) You build content.
3) You then have more to blog about.

It is all about the give in order to receive.

Give it a try.

Hope this helps.

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Mike Kawula
Mike Kawula Ellen - Thanks for your comments and couldn't agree with you more as this is part of what we've been doing thus far and I'm a HUGE believer in Giving first & Again & Again and we do receive. Just trying to speed the process up a bit. Haven't been giving the transcripts though, so will consider seeing if they'd be able to use it or maybe I'll create a video of how to use them. Thanks again.
February 9, 2013
Ellen J. Harris
Ellen J. Harris Thank you, Mike, for your kind words. In my business, I've done over 30 interviews. Each and every business owner has found transcripts useful. If they did not know how to use a transcript I give them ideas on how to use excerpts for their podcasts, blogs, articles, merge some of the content into tips. Speed it up by inviting more business to speak with you about themselves and their business. No one ever says not to talking about what they truly love. Hope this helps, too.
February 9, 2013
Ellen J. Harris
Ellen J. Harris Reviewed your Twitter and LinkedIn, Mike. Looks like Small Business for you is a new frontier. Curious about your challenges connecting with this emerging market.
February 9, 2013
Mike Kawula
Mike Kawula I've actually found getting larger business owners easier than the small business owner who has their sleeves rolled up working in the business each day. Still chipping away with success, just at a slower pace. Thanks for your comments.
February 11, 2013
Ellen J. Harris
Ellen J. Harris Agreed. You will have much more success with the Large to Macro sized companies than the small to medium sized emerging sized firm who have a unique focus and selective about those with whom they work. Every success to you, Mike.
February 13, 2013
Mike Kawula
Mike Kawula Thanks so much Ellen!
February 13, 2013

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Barbara Goldberg

Barbara Goldberg   February 11, 2013

Have you tried LinkedIn? If you have a profile on LinkedIn and belong to groups, you can post the question to other members in your group. I've found LinkedIn to be very beneficial when I need to gather information for a blog post.

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Mike Kawula
Mike Kawula Appreciate the feedback. I'm on Linkedin a ton and should use it more to promote than answer. Thanks again and great landing page for your site. Mike :)
February 11, 2013
Barbara Goldberg
Barbara Goldberg Thanks Mike. When you're involved in LinkedIn groups you get a chance to build a repore with the other active members of the group.
February 11, 2013

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Erica Booker

Erica Booker   February 12, 2013

try hubpages.com.... start with local business owners whose businesses you frequent... tell them that you'd like to feature their business in your blog

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Mike Kawula
Mike Kawula Great, I'll review Hubpages, more like an Ezine article site though right? Have spoken to all local. Trying to get the same business type interview though in each state. Appreciate your feedback. Mike
February 12, 2013