I have a minimum viable product web application which I have been tinkering with over the past 6 months.
A friend of mine who is keen on startups and attends meet-ups and other events suggested I go out and pitch my idea to business to see if it is a viable business idea.
My site is hyper local and his suggestion is that I should go to local business and ask them if my product is something they would consider purchasing advertising space on.
I believe in my idea and have had some minimal traffic to the site, but I think it still requires some polish. I always assumed that sponsors would come organically as the site grows.
How worthwhile is my friends advice? Is this something you would suggest I do? Am I wasting time by asking a business owner about something that doesn't have enough traffic to justify a spend?
If you are selling sponsorship or advertising on your site then you are selling one of two things:
If you are selling a demographic profile then what you need is a profile that has the size and demographics that match the business you are pitching. If the businesses in your local association are trying to reach the people that are on your site-- then it might make sense to talk with them. If they aren't-- then they will not be interested in your site no matter how cool it is.
If you are selling an association of value there is an affinity reason that the company would want to engage on your site. They are sponsoring you because they want to promote the issue or subjects that your site addresses.
It sounds as though the feedback from your friends -- while potentially misguided -- may in fact be grounded in something very important: What is your business model?
What are you selling to who? Who is going to pay the bills? What problem are you solving and how much is that worth to who? Who is the product minimally vialble to for what?
Go get more of the people part of that "who" -- if they are at the business networking event or association -- then go there.
I personally wouldent bother. The local business will be far more intrested in the amount of traffic your site generates rather than the content. I cant think of any significant information you can gain by talking to them.
If your site is entirely about specific areas, then the suggestion isn't a bad idea. However, many advertising providers do allow geography to be specified in the adverts, so if you have a good advertiser, you should find they are able to feed higher value, higher price adverts to your site.
The problem with his plan is that it's very labour intensive, whereas a good advertising provider does all the work for you. What kind of traffic figures do you have currently to the site?
feedback from your friends actually would not be much helpful unless they are also in your target user profile. I mean do you think they are going to the user who is going to buy your product ? this is really an important question to verify.
Otherwise my experience is, they are nothing but good wishes.
I would suggest you meet and find real users to your application see their feedback. in the end this app should for them.
the amount of traffic is important but it might be a chicken and egg problem sometimes.
So the should be some real benefits other than your community from your application to business owners that will convince them to move to your application. it might be some amazing feature or free trial period.