Editor’s Note: In the new podcast Masters of Scale, LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock partner Reid Hoffman explores his philosophy on how to scale a business — and at Entrepreneur.com, entrepreneurs are responding with their own ideas and experiences in our hub. This week, we’re discussing Hoffman’s theory: the most scalable ideas often seem laughable at first glance.
It’s easy to be a “me too” company and jump on whatever today’s trends are — the Uber of your space, the Netflix of your industry, or whatever the latest unicorn investors are excited about. But does it make sense to jump on this bandwagon, and if not, how do you get a fresh idea that you’re excited about, investors will fund and people will buy?
According to Reid Hoffman, it is the ideas that seem laughable that find the huge breakout success later on.
“You should expect to hear ‘no’ for an answer,” Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn and partner at VC firm Greylock, says on the podcast Masters of Scale, a series in which he interviews big-name leaders about unconventional ways of scaling a business. “If you’re laughed out of the room, it might actually be a good sign.”
But sometimes, articulating those big, crazy ideas, takes some comparisons to established businesses. It not only helps get your point across, but those businesses provided a proven business model investors understand.
“If it makes sense, fine,” Nicole Lapin, a New York Times bestselling author and co-host of business reality show Hatched, tells our editor-in-chief Jason Feifer about comparing your business to a big brand, but adding by doing so, “some investors might be over it and miss the uniqueness of you,” the entrepreneur.
Feifer agrees. “Anytime I hear ‘the Uber of’ or ‘the Netflix of,’ I lose interest,” he says. “I feel like this is a company, I’ll never hear of again.”
Rather than focus on the comparison aspect, both agree entrepreneurs should think of use cases, why someone would want your product or service.
Check out the video above to hear more tips on making your company stand out with investors and the media.