Working on behalf of a client on a product for businesses regarding foreign currency exchange & invoice integration. Product still in infancy, need beta users to validate MVP. Thoughts welcome on how to do this more effectively.
You have to offer them value. If you can do that without putting in time and money that's great. Most likely you will need to pay a cost.
Think of it as taking the first risk. In every new business (or personal) relationship there is a risk. Once you get past that it can be very rewarding if you choose well. If you're the first one to take a chance you will find it much easier to connect with the right people.
If the value to them is less than the risk they take, or you can't make it sound credible, it will be a very hard road.
I don't have a great answer if you have a limited budget and time, but I would focus on
1) Building a social media strategy with an incentive plan attached to spark engagement.
2) Create a "hit list" of companies that fit the profile and ask them to participate. Not sure how many companies you'd need for the beta but this select list could have special privileges and guarantees such as free or reduced cost when it launches.
3) Check out launchrock.com. For $5 per month you can build a acquisition website and get free promotion to their audience which I think is 200K+ people. Not sure the demo of those people though.
4) Rent a list of contacts in your target market, perhaps through a trade publication that caters to your audience, and send an email (or series of emails) asking for their participation and telling them why they should participate and what they will get for it.