Want Business Opportunities to Find You? Follow These 4 Steps on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great tool to help you grow your company, find job candidates, attract key employees, even find a buyer for your business.  Whatever your objective, LinkedIn can be a remarkably effective tool, yet is misunderstood and underutilized by most CEOs/entrepreneurs I talk with.  Like any other tool, it becomes more effective the more you use it.  But even a minimal effort with LinkedIn can position you to reap real-world results.

You do not need to know anything about “social media” to use LinkedIn. You do not have to tweet while waiting at the airport or post photos of your board meeting or family vacation.  There is no doubt, the more effort you put into this business communication tool, the better results you will get.  My objective here is to give you the very basics required so others can identify you as a potential partner, seller, employer, buyer, etc.

Want Business Opportunities to Find You?

LinkedIn is my number-one tool when helping clients identify potential buyers (or sellers) for their company.  It is also very effective when trying to identify potential partners for shared revenue deals.  If you want these types of opportunities to find you online, here are 4 easy, yet very effective, steps to follow. No time? You can even delegate these to your admin or someone in business development. I’ll create a future post about how to find opportunities using LinkedIn (that requires more effort by you).  For now, let’s keep things simple to get you in the game.

As mentioned, the key is to be “findable,” and that will be accomplished when you establish your profile.  In our increasingly crowded online world (LinkedIn had 85 million users on 12/15/10) , you are relevant if you have a presence online, and out of touch if you do not.  Here are a few simple steps that are almost guaranteed to help a business opportunity find you in the next six to 12 months.

1. Your title

Your title needs to accomplish two things.  First, tell others you are the person who can make a decision about acquisition, JV, licensing, etc.  Additionally, describe your core service capability.

LinkedIn allows people to search their entire database based on keywords and assigns greater relevance for certain areas of the profile.  Your title is one of the most heavily weighted areas on your profile, so use it effectively and you will rank higher in search results for those looking for your service.

So, being the CEO of “a franchise development firm: The Franchise Builders” may sound redundant, but it is a very effective way to improve your rank when anyone is searching for the term franchise.  Being the COO at Dimension Solutions does not help searchers looking for a program management company.

In 2010 we completed an acquisition for a client who was selling their company in the “program management” space ($14 million revenue).  The acquiring company’s press release stated it was the most important acquisition of their fiscal year.  This deal happened because I found their VP of sales while searching LinkedIn’s database.

2. Recommendations

Personal recommendations are not necessary at a C-level and may even work against you.  Leave that to your business development people.  If you are going to have them, however, be sure to have at least 5 percent of your connections as recommendations until you have over 20.  To have 500+ recommendations and only 4 or 5 recommendations does not enhance your profile. (Additional thoughts by Chris Brogan on a good recommendation).

3. Connections

When I find a potential candidate with fewer than 50 connections, I seldom make contact.  LinkedIn only has clout with those who recognize its capabilities and engage it as real business tool. If you have fewer than 100 connections, you probably do not use or value this form of interaction, so I’ll move on to others who do.

Christian Faulconer is the CEO of Franchise Foundry, a franchise development and investment firm.  They are constantly looking for business ideas that could become the next great national franchise.  Since locating him last year, they have signed deals and are developing two new franchise concepts they are very excited about.  Those deals found him, because his profile was “findable.”

If you (or your admin) spend a few minutes each day finding those you are connected to in the real world, you will very quickly have 100+ connections.

4. Professional Photo

A search result will often provide dozens (or hundreds) of results.  As an active user, when I scan for quality a match, my eye is naturally attracted to those profiles with photos (I seldom consider those without one at this stage).  Your photo indicates how seriously you regard LinkedIn as a business tool.  If it is a serious tool for you, I’m more excited to make contact and pursue business with you through this network.

Take a look at this search for Security Consultant. Which results will you click on to take a closer look?

Remember, LinkedIn is a social media tool, and social media is about connecting to others you don’t know yet and deepening the relationships you already have.  A photo will help you accomplish that connection on a deeper level much more quickly.  Keep it simple and professional and save the fishing, skiing and family photos for your Facebook account. (Additional photo tips here).

Your title and photo will take about 10 minutes to add to your profile.  Building connections a bit longer, but just one successful business deal will provide a great return on time invested.  I’m confident these steps will produce results and hope you will share your experience so we can all learn to be more effective with LinkedIn.

(For additional tips see the Slideshare presentation).


Todd Taskey Todd Taskey is a principal with Potomac Business Capital, Inc., a strategy, planning and M&A firm to small and mid market companies in the Mid Atlantic area. Todd helps entrepreneurs and CEO's maximize the value of their company through successful transactions including joint ventures, licensing deals and representation to sell a company.

13 Reactions
  1. Hey Todd, I’m a huge LinkedIn fan and user. I like the ratio of connections to recommendations idea. Hadn’t thought of it before.

  2. LinkedIn is definitely a tool that I haven’t used to the best of it’s abilities to generate business. I often get lost in the groups and spam messages that ensue. Will work on some of these tips.

  3. Tynnisha Hamilton

    I’m a little embarrased to say that I have not yet used LinkedIn as one of my business tools.

    Thanks for the information, Todd. I’m setting up my profile as we speak…type. 🙂

  4. Printable free online Coupons

    I do have an account on linkedin but never thought it can help me to find an employer or it can help me to find clients. Though, I have bookmarked your story and going to forward it to my friends so that we all can avail linkedin platform to achieve success in career.

  5. Great and essential tips, Anita. I use similar weeding out methods for Twitter. If people aren’t active or connected, is it worth it for me to connect with them?

  6. Hi Todd,

    I have not yet experimented too much with the site but after reading your article I am very motivated to. These sites are gaining increasing importance now a days and are no doubt becoming very essential tools to enhance the way business works. Thanks for sharing this information!

    Riya Sam
    Training for Entrepreneurs.com

  7. I’ve seen great success with LinkedIn (several job opportunities and many new connections) using the free version, but I’ve always wondered if the paid version was worth it. What do you recommend Todd?

  8. Todd,

    Great job on your LinkedIn post.

    Sometimes, I feel that I’m just not spending enough time there.

    After you were referred to me, LinkedIn was the first place we connected.

    The Franchise King

  9. Robert:

    I get so much value from LinkedIn, I’m happy to pay them a few bucks. That said, the upgraded version is much more effective for organizing yourself, saving searches and contacting prospects. I’m a fan…

  10. One of the best tips I got after I graduated was to create a profile on LinkedIn. From that point onwards, I’ve made some high quality contacts in various industries. Now, as part of the Online Marketing Community, one of my favourite places to go on LinkedIn is the ‘Answers’ section. It’s fantastic to give people advice on the type of work my industry does, and again, it could potentially lead to a new prospect for your company.

  11. Great post Todd! I am a big LinkedIn fan. I find it such a useful tool to find service providers, as I can tell right away from their profile whether or not it is worth it to contact them. With good recommendations and a strong profile, I can feel more confident about the person’s abilities. I also love how I am able to see whether any of my connections know the individual, so that I can check into them further with a quick email.

  12. Hi Todd

    I found your article through a connection Martina Iring who has also posted here. This is a great and simple post with good recommendations on using Linked In effectively.

    I just looked up someone I’m meeting with next week to get a little bit of background about them. I found one common connection and made a quick phone call to get a little bit more information.

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