Excluding personal topics around common interests (which is actually the case in most real-world conversations), business talk often revolves around specific pain points or new opportunities that are lesser known.
In terms of problems, there are dozens of common business pain points that tend to be evergreen – matters around management, recruitment, marketing, sales, strategy, legal, and accounting. Every industry or company size faces different problems around generating more business, cutting costs, hiring top talent, growing the popularity of their brand—or something else. A little prodding can help other people to open up and share their best strategies to help you benchmark or work with your own strategies.
As for new opportunities or initiatives, businesses expanding into new markets or verticals may be interested in receiving some firsthand experience regarding these endeavors. This is where you could come in and offer valuable insights which can ultimately be productive in your endeavor to build business relationships.
Some of the topics I’ve discussed with my business advisory clients or during industry events are the following:
- Managing remote talent (especially valid during COVID and we started as a distributed company 10 years ago)
- Recruiting in specific locations around the world
- Tooling for solving specific problems – CRM systems, BPMs, project management tools
- Recommendations for outsourcing companies – marketing or branding agencies, creative studios, etc.
- Experience opening offices in other locations – legal caveats while founding a firm, rent costs, local customs
- Onboarding best practices or techniques
- Scaling different teams or departments – what roles to hire for, when to promote, traits to look for
It’s unique to the business too—sometimes you may be looking for a new jurisdiction to found a product company (i.e. Belize or BVI), payment gateways that give you hidden discounts at a certain threshold, affiliate partners to contract or influencers that actually get the job done in the industry—you name it.
What about you? What are your favorite conversational starters? Feel free to share away!