[ Interview ] Alex Berman on How to Evaluate B2B Market Segments With Cold Email Outreach

A few weeks back, I spoke to Alex Berman for The Lean B2B Podcast. We talked about entrepreneurship, sales, customer development, validating B2B market segments, cold email outreach, and acquisition entrepreneurship.

You can watch the full interview below, or access it on iTunes or Spotify.

Interview Transcript

Alex Berman – Testing B2B Market Segments With Cold Email

Etienne Garbugli: My guest today is Alex Berman. Alex is the co-founder of Experiment 27, a company building lead pipelines, helping businesses book meetings with billion-dollar brands. Alex is also an investor, a producer, an educator, teaching entrepreneurship, and lead generation, a traveler, a Shopify app owner. He was also an early reader of the Lean B2B book way back. Alex, welcome to the podcast.

Alex Berman: Of course. Thanks for having me.

Etienne Garbugli: Let’s start at the top. Six, seven years ago, you or your co-founder had the idea of starting Experiment 27. What was the original idea and why did you guys think it made sense?

Alex Berman: Sure. The book, Lean B2B, I used to recommend it to everybody at the agency I was at back in New York because I loved the ideas. I went through a very similar process with previous ideas. So, the original idea was not lead generation.

The first thing that I wanted to do was agency owners. The first thing I thought was, okay, let’s try to outsource sales. So I sent some cold emails. The outsourced salesman went through some of that, then I pivoted to content to see if that would work.

Then we went from content and blog posts where people were paying for that to more cold email and lead gen. Then that seemed like it hit. We talked to a couple of clients. They really loved the billion-dollar brands’ aspect versus the leads for everybody. So then we doubled down on those.

Now we just focus on booking meetings with $5 to $150 million in revenue companies and helping these companies get larger deals. So it definitely came about in a very lean manner.

I don’t even know if you could come up with this business if you just try to. At least I couldn’t come up with it if I was just trying to think about it. It is something that really happened organically.

Etienne Garbugli: How did you guys figure out that that specific niche or market was the right one? How broadly were you defining that target initially?

Alex Berman: Initially, it was as broad as I want to start a business. I was the director of marketing at this digital agency, so I wanted to do something with marketing. It kind of honed in from there.

Originally though, the reason why we knew we wanted to double and triple down on this niche was we were on a couple of calls with agency owners when we were selling lead gen for any sort of B2B business. The agency owners would buy without asking too many questions in like 15, 20 minutes versus some of these other ones.

Like we were trying to sell the manufacturers and they’re hard to get a hold of; they were hard to close these massive deals. We were basically finding that some of the markets we were selling to really wanted to buy and wanted the peel hot and then in the other markets we had to really try for.

What I was trying to find was I wanted a business that sold itself. I wanted something where I didn’t have to try so hard on the sales calls because I knew the harder it was for me to sell, the harder it would have been for me to outsource it to salespeople. The easier it is, the easier it is to add a team and grow from there.

Etienne Garbugli: So the main driver, the main thing you were looking at was the ease of getting them to convert, to sell, to buy?

Alex Berman: Yeah, because if you can make money, you basically control the whole process. It all comes down to who can make money and then who can fulfill the contracts there.

I wanted something that sold itself, that I could easily find somebody else to do both on the fulfillment side and the sales side. I could escape the business and be free. That was the entire thing.

Etienne Garbugli: When you guys locked in on that, how broadly were defining it? Was it the agencies or you were agencies with specific profiles or…?

Alex Berman: We were the outsourced CMOs or outsourced marketing partner for digital agencies. Basically, anyone who did software or marketing. That was how we defined it. Almost 100% of them were in the US to start.

Etienne Garbugli: Did you feel like that was too broad or broad enough?

Alex Berman: Looking back, it was perfect for what it was at the time. I think within our first 30, 45 days, we ended up booking about $400,000 in yearly revenue, which was great for initial traction. It was amazing. But what we found out was the market we were targeting only had about 3,300 people in it, 3,300 companies.

With our cold emailing strategy—we were going out there emailing all these guys—we touched everybody in the market within two months. The rest of the time, it was something that sold itself. Then it became something that was harder over time. We had to find new markets at that point. And that’s when we decided to branch out and do some other stuff.

Etienne Garbugli: How did you guys approach that decision? You were running out of leads, how did you start winding in it?

Alex Berman: We made a list of other B2B industries. Just basically pie in the sky brainstorming, like who would buy this? Commercial cleaning companies, manufacturing companies, big law firms, whatever. We made a big list.

Then instead of going through and tactically figuring out this list and coming back that way, we went through each one and cold-emailed each one. I think we sent 100 emails to each niche. We kind of saw which niches popped up and we were able to find some pretty good ones from there.

Etienne Garbugli: How many different niches did you look into?

Alex Berman: I think we just found about 15. We didn’t go too crazy. What I like to do is I’ll look up the most popular industries. For instance, the site that I really like right now I think is OpenSecrets.

Basically, on opensecrets.org, there’s this long list of companies that lobby the government. The companies are all organized by industry. So the way that I’m looking at it is these are major industries in the United States; which ones of these industries are B2B? Because we don’t want to do anything in B2C lead gen.

Then, from that, we were able to really hone that list down. Then you have one, two, three, four, going through it with cold emails to see who actually bought.

Etienne Garbugli: In that case, were you tailoring your pitch to these specific industries or you were kind of going, this is the standard template that we use, target these, and see what happens?

Alex Berman: Every cold email is tailored to the industry. We still write cold emails like this. It’s customized first-line with some kind of compliment. Then the second line calls out some case studies. Like, “Hey, we recently finished doing this project for this company and got this result. We’d love to do the same for you. Let me know if that works. Happy to send over a few times for a quick call.”

Etienne Garbugli: Okay. How do you figure out which one of the 15 was the most compelling and based on the data you were getting?

Alex Berman: We ended up picking a couple, but I look at a couple of things. I look at how easy is it or how often do they open emails? What I found is people in the manufacturing niche do not open emails. You can have the greatest subject line in the world and you might cap out 20, 30%. But some niches like startups or even e-commerce stores will open emails 90% of the time.

So it’s like, do you want to sell to somebody who barely opens your email, or do you want to sell to somebody that’s really opening it? Then there’s the reply rates on that. Then when they do reply, how enthusiastic are they? How in need of our help are they?

Then from there, once they’re on the phone, how easy are they to actually close? It’s a multi-step process. It’s very much a scientific approach—very boring, step by step by step approach.

Etienne Garbugli: That’s great. So you’re able to explore multiple niches and I figure out which one is most compelling. Then the end data that tells you this one, you said you picked a couple. The reason why these two, specifically, were picked was because of the…?

Alex Berman: The ability for them to sell themselves. At the very end, I want something where we send a cold email, we get on the call, and we barely have to talk. They know they need us. They have a very burning issue and they have the money to afford us.

If all of that aligns, then we’re good to go. What’s cool about cold email is you can really hone in on that target. It’s not like paid ads where you have to go searching for that. You can really just hone in exactly on what you’re looking for. Then do it over and over again until you cap out the market we did with the agencies.

Etienne Garbugli: How did you know that the pitch you were using was going to perform or give you at least a baseline performance that you could rely on?

Alex Berman: We have that standard template that we always run with. If I’m complimenting you, saying that I’ve won with somebody else that’s as close to you as possible, and then asking for a meeting, it’s like eating McDonald’s. It’s not like going to a fancy restaurant. You’re like, this is sugar and fat and salt. We’re going directly for the value liner right there. They either want it or not at that point.

Etienne Garbugli: So you use a value proposition that you know works and you’re focusing on the core of it and just making sure that they get in front of it, pretty much? Is that the process?

Alex Berman: My main hypothesis and one thing that’s working for us is that all businesses need leads. All businesses need customers and marketing, at least the people we talk to. So it’s just trying to figure out how to frame that to find the ones that need it the most.

Etienne Garbugli: I find it super interesting that you’ve been using your core expertise in lead generation, go-to-market, cold emailing to build related products like email10k.com, but also to grow other types of businesses.

If we look at it more broadly, how would you go about validating a new product? Say you are an entrepreneur and you’ve built a project management software tool in a market that’s super crowded. How would you go about validating the product, the market, finding the right opportunities for your product, maybe through cold emails?

Alex Berman: Project management I think is a very flooded market. We have a similar opportunity coming up this year so it is something that I’ve actually thought through.

Etienne Garbugli: You mean in project management?

Alex Berman: Literally a project management software. There’s one I did focused on Scrum project management. Anyway, I would try to find, what is the niche that you think it’s going to fulfill?

Maybe it’s going to be something as broad as a monday.com. But if it is a very specific project management tool for a specific type of team, I would start with that and email those types of customers with the exact same type of email.

There’s the product development process where you’re doing the customer interviews and everything. I think that has some limited value. I would much rather pretend the company already exists, build a landing page, email it out, and try to sell them like the company already exists. Putting all of the assumptions and everything into that landing page; just like doing a pie in the sky brainstorming session.

That’s what I would do. I would reach out to, say, 100 people with that kind of value proposition and just see who responds. Hopefully, some people get on the phone. If not, things need to be tweaked from there and work on it from there.

Etienne Garbugli: How do you define that initial value proposition? In that case, you’re starting from nothing. Well, you have a product, but that’s the only thing you have.

Alex Berman: It’s going to be some brainstorming. For us, the team we’re working with has a lot of experience when it comes to Scrum project management. They’ve built their Scrum project management tool, which I’ll talk about in a second. I wouldn’t start new products. I only want to do partnerships going forward.

They already had this. They had experience in Scrum. Now it’s like, what companies run Scrum? Let’s reach out to them and see if they’ll buy this. If not, I’m fine with totally changing the product or dipping on the whole concept. I’m down with leaving completely also.

That’s the main thing. What niche is your project management software actually filling? What does it do? Why wouldn’t they just pick monday.com? I think that is what you need to do. You need to be thinking about that all the time because if they would just pick monday.com but you’re getting to them first, if that’s your entire business plan, the odds that that’s going to work are very low because Monday has such a big budget or any of these other major ones.

You can’t count on being the first to get in front of a customer when you’re this late in the market. You have to have something different, whether it’s pricing or features or something else.

One thing that I saw recently, I mess around a lot with the lead gen space. And ZoomInfo sells leads. They’re a publicly-traded company and they replaced a company called Hoovers who was at the top. Now ZoomInfo charges about $12,000 a year for their lead gen and that was so good. But then this other company, UpLead, comes along. They’re charging $79 a month for the exact same lead gen, no year-long contract or anything.

Etienne Garbugli: Same quality?

Alex Berman: Same if not better quality. So now as ZoomInfo has replaced Hoovers, now UpLead, I would assume, is going to take over if they push it a little further. If you can come up with that kind of innovation, I don’t know what that is on project management, but that kind of innovation really grows. Otherwise, a fast follow with a little bit cheaper pricing.

Etienne Garbugli: Okay, I get it here. In that case, you would need to figure out what that differentiated thing is and then use that as a way to approach these organizations.

Alex Berman: Right. Why is your project management system better? And it doesn’t have to be better than Asana. It doesn’t have to be better than Basecamp, but it should be better than those for one very specific user group.

Hopefully, that user group pays more than a couple of hundred bucks a month. That user group should be able to very much value it. The one we’re working on is tied to this enterprise. It’s not just Scrum project management, but it’s enterprise Scrum. Let’s say like American Express’s project development team; made for those kinds of companies.

Etienne Garbugli: It’s great that you have that experience. You mentioned it’s kind of late to the game. Why are you deciding to take that on then?

Alex Berman: I just know the founders and they have strong connections to Fortune 500 clients. That’s why. I think it with Brian acquisition’s going to be easier. Their main issue is the product isn’t aligned with the market.

So if they tried to sell it as is, why wouldn’t they just go out with their own product? Well, if they tried to sell it as is, it wouldn’t fit, it wouldn’t sell. But I know if we tweak it a couple of times, get on a couple of meetings, we can knock this out, and then it would scale like that.

Etienne Garbugli: If we go a step back, you have that software that you built. You don’t necessarily know but you have ideas of what might be differentiated, what might be valued by customers. How would you go about figuring out that first on people that you reach out to, first on the businesses in that case?

Alex Berman: It would be the use case. The reason why I think it’s valid is this agency that built it runs that Scrum process. They built it for themselves and their clients. So I know already it’s validated. They’re just having a really hard time saying why it’s different. How I would find those first 100 clients is I would first focus on getting three or four really good clients or 20 good clients. One thing that I really focused on is I’m not a big fan of going after the $20 a month, $30 a month thing. The softwares I want to sell are more of ClickFunnel’s type of pricing. Like $297 a month, $397 a month. Those are the type of sales that I’m comfortable with.

I’m not looking for a hundred clients. You only really need 15, 20 clients to get it to the point where you can start really pushing it.

Etienne Garbugli: What industry were you after? Would you go after a specific vertical or horizontally different B2B market segments?

Alex Berman: This one that I’m working on, in theory, right now, I haven’t tested in the market, this might totally fail, but it’s based on going after huge companies, let’s say over $300 million in revenue or $500 million in revenue that run Scrum project management. There might be 300 companies total, but if they’re all paying several hundred dollars a month, that’s a good lifestyle business right there.

Etienne Garbugli: So you’re starting with that hypothesis that this group of people will buy based on the fact that they’re running Scrum projects, specifically, that aspect?

Alex Berman: Based on the fact they’re on Scrum, based on the fact that they pay hundreds of thousands of dollars per developer and they might have 30 developers on a project.

I know they have money. I know they’re on Scrum and these other guys I’m working with say that they can do Scrum more effectively. If that is true, then why wouldn’t you take your 30 developers and get a little bit more out of them?

Etienne Garbugli: So you’re looking for signs that there was money to pay for the software, that the value that’s differentiated will be perceived as valuable and that you can actually reach these people?

Alex Berman: Yeah, exactly.

Etienne Garbugli: Any other factors you typically consider in these decisions?

Alex Berman: I’ve got two other factors. One, I need to be able to have fun doing it. It needs to be able to be fully outsourceable. I don’t want something where I’m on calls all the time selling it. So getting it to the point where it’s either selling itself or somebody else is selling it for us is good.

Then the third thing, for me personally, I’d love to have something tied into my personal brand. For instance, I’m seen as the lead gen cold email guy. So if I’m working on a lead gen tool, it’s going to be better or another agency.

We just started Institute of Sales Training, which has a sales training agency and that’s blowing up because Alex Berman is sales, Alex Berman is cold email. So that works there. Other businesses I’m looking for, I really want a cold email sending tool. Something like Mailshake. I feel like that would be cool and then another lead gen. If I can get a board position in UpLead, I gotta try to go along and get that.

Etienne Garbugli: So you’re expanding on what your competitive advantage is?

Alex Berman: Exactly. Yeah. For you, you’re Lean B2B, so you starting a B2C company would be less helpful than you starting something that’s…

Etienne Garbugli: In that case, if you are doing that, how do you know who to reach out to in organizations? If you’re starting out, there are many people in these organizations that you’re going to be targeting. How do you know who to send the cold emails to?

Alex Berman: Typically, I start top-down. I will literally start at the CEO level. We’ve reached out to CEOs of Morgan Stanley, Nike, and stuff like that. And I’m always surprised when they turn into meetings—not with the CEO, but with somebody multiple levels down. I’ll start there and then if the CEO turns us down, a couple of weeks later, I’ll wait, and then I’ll reach out to whatever the next level down is. Usually, the C-level would be CMO. Then under CMO, on the marketing side would be specific teams and each one of those has a director.

I’ll just wait a week or two between each of these outreaches. I can just start at the top of the pyramid and work my way down until I get very specifically onto the team that I’m trying to sell to.

Etienne Garbugli: How do you know that you actually found the right level or the right role, the right person within the organization?

Alex Berman: Because we’re starting at the top, it’s not something you’re having to look for. It’s something that should fit itself.

Etienne Garbugli: Doesn’t that create, sometimes, a bad relationship with the organizations?

Alex Berman: I don’t know. I love organizations that like people that are trying to deliver value as is evidenced by the cold email. We’re going in with a real honest compliment, we’re going in with a case study and that we can deliver value. That’s going to get to the right person. That person is either going to hire us or not.

Etienne Garbugli: So even in that case, when you’d be starting out for Scrum project management, you would probably find that first case study and use that as a kind of golden horse to get into the organization?

Alex Berman: Yes. It’s always better if you can have one case study and if the case study is as close to the target as possible. One thing we actually talked about in our business course, Email10k is how to borrow other people’s case studies.

For instance, if I was trying to sell a project management tool and I know that I wanted Fortune 500 clients, I would try to get a partnership with another software that was in Sony or in one of these other major companies so that I could have that logo going in.

It’s always hard to get that first client, but it’s actually fairly easy to borrow other people and get their legit permission to use their clients. In the course, I did a 45-second cold call to get this dude’s case studies. It was like three or four sentences and then a couple of emails back and forth.

So people are very game for it. If you go in and you say that you’re going to deliver value for their business, they’ll help you.

Etienne Garbugli: So you’d try to find a partner that helps you position your company as a partner of theirs with that larger organization?

Alex Berman: Yeah. The idea being you want to be able to use their case study’s name when you go and do outreach. For instance, the partner is going to tell you, “Yes, you can use the Sony name. You can use our case study when you do outreach.” Then you go out with the Sony name. Now it’s easier for you to get meetings and then you talk about the partnership along with yourself.

Etienne Garbugli: Okay. So you would never approach a company and try to start guessing what role would be the most likely to buy the technology that you’re putting in place? You would not go like, “I think it’s going to be the IT department or it’s going to be the marketing department so I’ll reach out to that department.” You start at the top to be able to find the right path.

Alex Berman: I start at the CEO and then if the CEO turns it down, then it’s either marketing or sales or IT, one of those. Then going from there.

Etienne Garbugli: What I’m trying to ask is you never go directly for the department that you think might…? You don’t follow that assumption?

Alex Berman: No. I really let these companies tell me what to do. You go for the top, see what happens. You’ll be surprised. A lot of the time, the CEO responds, even at major companies.

Etienne Garbugli: That’s great. How would you compare different markets or different B2B market segments? Say, you’re doing this, you start, okay, I think these organizations are relevant, this market is relevant. How would you evaluate, in that case, if you’re still building that product management software?

Alex Berman: If the market’s relevant?

Etienne Garbugli: If that segment is better than another segment. How would you define which one is the better one?

Alex Berman: Sure. How badly do they need this and how much money do they have to spend on it? That’s the thing. For instance, if manufacturing project management is horrible but they have millions and millions of dollars in revenue, maybe that’s the place to go.

Etienne Garbugli: Okay. So it’s very similar to what you mentioned earlier.

Alex Berman: What is it? Willingness to pay, ability to pay, and then how bad the problem is for them.

Etienne Garbugli: So it’s always going into that equation where you’re trying to find a greater need and the greatest ability to purchase.

Alex Berman: Yeah. I’m trying to boil it down to literally as simple as possible. A lot of people throw all of these levels on top, but if you have something people want and you talk to the people that want it, and those people can afford it, that’s it. That’s all you really need.

Etienne Garbugli: What would be signs that you’re not headed in the right direction? Say, for an entrepreneur, you have the experience of doing this with a lot of different products. If you’re not Alex Berman, you’re someone else who is building software in an industry, how can they tell that they’re not getting anywhere, that they’re going in a circle?

Alex Berman: If you send 20 cold emails and you don’t get back four responses that are like, “We need this. This is amazing,” then I would completely reroll and try again.

Etienne Garbugli: That little numbers?

Alex Berman: Yeah. If you have something that’s obviously the next best thing, the greatest thing ever, and it’s communicated correctly, it should be very clear to your clients.

Etienne Garbugli: But it could still be many different things. In that case, you’re assuming that it’s communicated correctly, right? There’s a lot of elements there that if I’m a technologist and I’m approaching a market, I might be completely off the market in terms of what’s valuable, how you bring to market the value proposition. Do you have any…?

Alex Berman: Normally, I tell people to send out 100 cold emails. What we look at first is the bounce rates. How good are the leads versus how many leads are getting thrown back as not good leads? That answers how easy is it to actually find these people?

The second thing I look at is how many people opened the email. I was just looking at a guy’s emails today and he was sending them to manufacturers and it was a 20% open rate, even on the best subject line. If they’re not opening the emails off the bat with a quick question or with a three, four-word subject, I’m going to tell them to probably move on to different B2B market segments.

Then if they’re responding, but it’s a lot of, “We already have a vendor to do this,” that is actually a really good sign because that means that they’re buying in this market already.

That’s good. That means if you could sell better, you can actually get through.

If they’re responding with a lot of not interested, then I look at the body of the email. I look at why are they not interested? A lot of time I’ll respond to those “not interesteds” and say, “We’d love your honest feedback. What do you think? What makes you not interested in this?” Sometimes people will get back and you get feedback there.

Those are the main things. You want to basically figure out, at a broad level, are you on the mark or are you off the mark? Does everyone think you’re spamming and hate you? Or does everyone already buy from somebody who does this or is this the greatest thing of all time? Best thing, worst thing, and then lukewarm response.

Etienne Garbugli: So you’re basically doing customer development with email?

Alex Berman: Yeah. Customer development, email, and not the normal interview process. My customer development interviews are sales calls. If they buy at the end of the sales call, it’s valid. If they don’t buy at the end of the sales call, something’s wrong.

Etienne Garbugli: So you’re focusing on that pre-selling thing where you’re pushing the product, whatever the product would be or is?

Alex Berman: Yeah.

Etienne Garbugli: In that case, how would advise a new entrepreneur, maybe more of a tech profile, to think about B2B market segments, niche, prospects? How should they think about these things when it’s not their universe to start with?

Alex Berman: I would think about their background and what market they know the best, specifically, what industry. Let’s say you’re in banking, you’re going to speak a different language than if you’re in something else.

Think of that industry first, then think of who are you actually emailing within that industry? What titles are you the closest to? If you’re tech, maybe email the tech people, and then your product would be in there. If you can code, you’re actually at a very strong advantage because you can build whatever. You just need the idea.

I would go out maybe with the idea that I want to build a project management software and I want to make it better, but not with the idea of “This is the solution. This is the project management software that is going to change the world.” I would go in very, very loose with maybe just project management software. Three or four keywords of what you want to build, go in very loose.

Come up with a hypothesis on this CTO at this type of company will buy this software. Email them like that software is the finished software, like you’re ready to go. If they say no, be ready to move on. If they say yes, be ready to build it.

Etienne Garbugli: In that case, if I have that first version of the product management software in place, how do I know when I need to adapt it when I’m reaching out to different organizations? I can code, I can add whatever, but how do I know when I’m supposed to actually be taking those feedbacks or when I’m supposed to be changing the actual product?

Alex Berman: If you hear the same thing multiple times from the same people, then it’s time to change it. The best feedback is, “We’re not interested at this time,” because then you can come back later. Or, “We’re already working with another vendor,” and then you can get feedback based on those.

That’s basically it. If you’re getting the same feedback over and over again at any point in time, then it’s time to listen.

Etienne Garbugli: Which points you to the gaps in the product that you have in place?

Alex Berman: Yeah. And the gaps might be huge. The gaps might be small, they might be huge. Sometimes all that it takes is a different title. All that it takes is calling your software a different thing and then it resonates.

Most of the time it’s not a full restructuring that’s needed. It might be grabbing one little feature and then hitting that feature as hard as possible. With our Shopify apps, one of the apps is just a Facebook Messenger integration in one click.

Everyone else is doing all these crazy chat apps and we’re over here charging $15 a month because people don’t understand how to install Facebook Messenger on the Shopify store. You don’t need a million things in your software.

Etienne Garbugli: In that case, how much of customer development do you feel is positioning?

Alex Berman: It totally depends on how you’re selling it. For the Shopify apps, we’re selling in a marketplace. So you go in on Shopify, you buy your Shopify store, then you go to the marketplace and you search for something like Facebook Chat. The app that comes up first or second is typically the app you’re going to buy. That’s total SEO play.

With something like Experiment 27, where we’re selling lead generation, that is a market that we’re tackling via cold email. In that case, it all comes down to, it’s not really branding as much as it is about just pure value delivery.

Like, “Hey, what would it mean for you to get another 40 leads this month? How much is that worth to you?” $500,000? Is it worth $50,000 for us to do this for you? Yes or no.

Etienne Garbugli: Last question and you kind of answered that so more as a general question. How has your perspective on starting businesses evolved over the years and how do you see B2B entrepreneurship evolving moving forward?

Alex Berman: I think starting a business is so hard; unbelievably hard to the point where it might take three or four years to really figure it out. The lean model I think is very interesting and it works because I did it right, but it took me three years to figure it out, maybe a little less, maybe two and a half years to really get it to a point where it was scalable.

What I would rather do and what I’d recommend anyone doing is reaching out to some of these entrepreneurs that already have a valid business but don’t want to grow it. Especially if you’re coming from any sort of corporate world, where let’s say you have 30, 40 grand in cash. There’s a lot of highly paid engineers that are coming from Google that are quitting their jobs to start these little apps when 30 grand would buy you a business that’s already making even $3,000, $4,000 a month.

So I would do that: identify the type of business you want to start. Make a list of those founders, reach out to those founders, talk to them, and try to make some offers, and buy a business. Skip the first three years of entrepreneurship, if at all possible.

Etienne Garbugli: Because that is too much risk or that is not the most efficient way to get to the outcome that you’re looking for?

Alex Berman: It’s not the most efficient way to start a business. If you’re trying to sell a project management tool, there’s a million out there. I’m sure of the million project management tools that already exist, there’s one with 300 customers and the founder’s burned out. Just join that one. Grab that one. That’s yours now. Go buy that.

There’s no reason to try to start from scratch here. Especially in an industry that’s been around for four or five years unless you have something totally innovative. Even if you do, let’s say you buy a project management tool, you can innovate based on whatever that tool is.

Obviously, that tool already has something special if they have 300, 400 customers, 1,000 customers, whatever it is. There’s a ton of people that start businesses, they list them on Product Hunt, then they get a bunch of customers and a lot of them didn’t want to start businesses or they don’t want to deal with the customer headache of having people talk to them all the time.

There’s a ton of demand for unloading these businesses. A ton of entrepreneurs want to escape. If you go in there and you have a little bit of cash from working your corporate job, you have such an advantage over all these bootstrapped entrepreneurs that are starting from nothing.

Etienne Garbugli: Yeah, as a way to transition faster into something that actually works.

That’s super interesting. Thanks for taking the time. Where can people go to learn more about your work, what you do, what you’re working on?

Alex Berman: Sure. If you want a course on how to start a business, I would check out email10k.com. And if you want free tutorials on entrepreneurship and some behind-the-scenes stuff, I would go over to alexberman.com. That’s our YouTube channel, and you can check out all our free content over there.

Etienne Garbugli: Awesome. Thanks for taking the time.

Alex Berman: Of course. Thanks for having me.

Etienne Garbugli: All right.

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