Alignable was established to nurture the relationships small businesses have with each other and create new ones. These relationships help local businesses grow and succeed. Alignable is the platform where they can come together to make this happen.
As Eric Groves, CEO and Co-Founder, Alignable, said in a presentation with Small Business Trends, when small businesses succeed, “… They create a great quality of life for people in their communities.”
What Is Alignable and How Does It Work?
Alignable is a small business referral network with 25,000 plus communities. It allows business owners to build a relationship based on trust to reinforce referrals. Alignable works by connecting business communities together and increasing word-of-mouth for their business. It is much like a social media channel for small business owners to network with each other.
1. Set Up Your Profile
When you set up your Alignable profile, you want to include information that will answer questions other small business owners will ask about you quickly and easily. This includes who you are, what you do, where you come from, the kinds of customers you are looking for, and the products and services you provide. The goal is to maximize your referrability. But don’t stop there.
You should also include your most recent contact information. From street address to a website, phone number, and social media pages, do not leave anything behind! When it comes to making your brand visible, make your logos and banner images stand out so your audience can easily identify who you are right away. And do not forget to put a great headshot of yourself to help put a face to your business.
Once you have this setup, post your events and promotions in your profile so it can be shared in your Alignable network through the “Word of Mouth” and “My Community” pages.
Finally, add tags so the Alignable system can show you to owners in your business community that relate to your business to create more meaningful connections and referrals.
2. Build Your Network
With close to 30,000 communities and millions of connections, you have many opportunities to grow and build your network.
Start connecting with your local business network by browsing nearby businesses in your community. Getting recommended by clients and customers you know in your community will start to build credibility in your business and the Alignable network. Once you have several business owners under your belt, you can start the process of growing your community based on the credibility you have already established.
3. Make and Receive Recommendations
When you make and receive recommendations, you are building your reputation and that of the people in your network. This will make your profile appear higher on the search results on Alignable.
Even though this might seem like Alignable reviews, it is far from it. The recommendations come from actual business owners who have more than a transactional experience to ensure credibility and reliability. Additionally, these recommendations show the trust your business has established with others in your community.
The 5+1 rule of thumb on Alignable suggests giving 5 recommendations as a starting point and setting a goal of adding at least one recommendation and review every month. This not only gets shared with your network, but it is one way to stay top-of-mind with your network so they can share you and your business.
4. Ask and Answer Questions
As a small business owner asking and answering questions is one way you can use Alignable and the social media aspect of the platform. This engagement will highlight your expertise in your field and show your level of engagement with others in your network.
When you like and share a question you have answered or an answer you’ve received, you will grow your small business and the social network of your community. The interactions that take place when you ask and answer questions or like a particular posting is responsible optimized to deliver more accurate connections and resources for your business.
5. Announce Events and Products
Staying top-of-mind means announcing to businesses, whether they are in your network or not, about events and products your small business is coming up with. The announcements are automatically listed on your Community Calendar and your Alignable connections will be notified. They in turn can like and refer them with businesses in their network so it can reach more people.
If used properly, these announcements can be valuable marketing research tools as you will get input from your network on what they like, do not like as well as suggestions on how to make improvements from experts.
6. Send and Receive Messages
As a business social network, Alignable allows you to send and receive messages with people in and out of your network.
You can send a single message to a single local business owner or create a Group Message Thread with up to 20 businesses to get in touch with. Once you create a group name, they will be available for future messaging with a simple click.
7. Keep Up with Notifications
Staying engaged is an important component of Alignable. This requires keeping up with your notifications in and out of your network. Your notification page lets you see your latest activity including new connections.
8. Explore Premium Features
The Premium and Premium Plus features in Aligangle give you more access and features to increase your visibility on the platform and online.
With Premium, you can get 40 introductions/connections each month (105 with Premium Plus). This allows you to connect with any one of the growing number of businesses on Alignable in the U.S. and Canada.
The tools on the Premium features include the ability to see the details of who visited your profile; increase your visibility, status and trust; stand out in Google searches; build and forward and online referral card; access to the Business Owner Advice forum.
What is Alignable Used For?
Alignable is used to connect peers in the small business community by building trusted relationships to getting more referrals. It also allows you to promote your local business so you can increase your visibility in your community, across your state and even nationwide.
Sharing About the Products and Services You Offer
Post new products, services, events or specials regularly to keep the local businesses in your community up to date with all of your latest offerings.
1. Connecting with Small Businesses in Your Area
With Alignable you are a click away to interact with local small businesses in your area. With the connectivity the platform provides, you can grow your business together with your peers and engage with each other through Q&A and messaging. This gives you the connectivity of other social media channels without additional noise.
2. Giving and Getting Referrals
Connecting with local owners in your area also includes giving and getting referrals. This is part of the Alignable business social network that builds relationships to increase your customer base and help other businesses grow.
3. Sharing and Receiving Advice
You can contribute as an expert to business owner discussions in your industry as well as seek advice from peers to help you with a problem. With tens of thousands of communities, you can find real-world solutions to your real-world problem from actual business owners.
4. Chatting Easily with Other Small Business Owners
At the end of the day, Alignable is looking to simplify the communication channels with other local small business owners so they can chat easily without any barriers. You can create chat groups to network with like-minded business owners and industry segments to learn more from each other.
Alignable provides a way for small business owners to network with each other across a city or the country.
Who is the Owner of Alignable?
Launching in 2014, Alignable was founded by Eric Groves and Venkat Krishnamurthy with the goal of making it easy for business owners to meet one another. The founders took the early lessons learned from bringing small businesses together in Acton, Massachusetts. The process of simply introducing business owners to each other and helping them build relationships has grown the network to over 5 million businesses.
From Assistant Vice President at CitiGroup managing $90 million in a diverse credit portfolio early in his career to Senior Vice President at Constant Contact, Eric Groves brings a wealth of experience to Alignable. In his more than 10 years at Constant Contact, Groves led the company’s go-to-market efforts, leading to 400,000 customers and $200 million in revenue from the startup stage.
Groves has had leadership roles in business development, mergers and acquisitions, and sales at CitiGroup, AltaVista, iAtlas, InfoUSA, SBC Communications(AT&T), and MFS Communications. Additionally, he serves on the board of directors for several companies.
In helping small business owners Groves said:
“Everyday business owners work their way through challenges they need to overcome in order to succeed. Challenges associated with growing their customer base, serving their clients, accessing capital, dealing with regulations, managing employees and the list goes on and on. Overcoming challenges alone is a daunting task especially when the decisions being made directly impact your livelihood. The ability to connect and work with other business owners (many of whom have faced and overcome these same challenges) greatly improves the odds you’ll succeed.”
As to how Alignable will help Groves adds. “Alignable provides a platform where business owners can connect with each other, build relationships, and gain access to the referrals needed for business success. In short, they no longer have to operate alone.”
Venkat Krishnamurthy is a serial entrepreneur and alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology and Stanford University (Ph.D., Computer Science). Krishnamurthy says, “I enjoy disruptive innovation and have taught a course at MIT on the subject, and also consult/advise at all stages of growth.”
It is this disruptive curiosity that has garnered him an Academy Award for Technical Achievement in 2001 and expertise in diverse fields as Manufacturing, Metrology, Orthodontics, and EAS/Security. Krishnamurthy is using his academic achievement to provide access to quality education for underprivileged (and really all) children.
In helping businesses connect Krishnamurthy said:
“Prior to co-founding Alignable, I was amazed at how business owners worked in isolation. I had a discussion with a restaurant owner who was interested in meeting the person who ran a wine store literally across the street. When he found out I had talked with him about a business idea I was working on, he asked me if I could introduce him. He’d tried a number of ways to reach the owner including asking the employees if the business owner was available joining local networking groups, but was still unable to make the connection. When I reached out to the wine store owner he said “happy to meet another business owner and friend of yours” just make an introduction.”
Adding, “That’s why helping to break the ice, owner to owner, is one of the most used features on Alignable.”
Alignable is venture-backed by Mayfield Fund, Recruit Strategic Partners, Saturn Partners, NextView Ventures and Lead Edge Capital.
Is Alignable Spammy?
No, Alignable is not spammy. Why, because you control who in your contacts gets an email. When you sign up you can deselect the “All” button and choose people you actually know and are more likely interested to hear from you.
Throughout the whole process, you choose who to send an invitation to. Moreover, Aliganable does not sell this information to further protect your privacy and that of your contacts.
I have to be honest, I don’t really like alignable…
I’m with you. I live in a small community and not being a Premium member limits my reach. I always reach my daily limit and even when someone I request to connect with allows the connection, they never are online, they aren’t involved. So far it’s been a waste of time. It seems more like the want to SELL me something rather than get to know me and my business.