Why Businesses Should Use LinkedIn

Business owners may feel that LinkedIn is just another task that needs to be dealt with in an already busy day. However, there are some compelling reasons why businesses should use LinkedIn for attracting potential employees, brand building and networking.

Setting up groups

Businesses who are seeking applicants interested in their industry can set up a group on LinkedIn. Setting up a group is simple; groups can be created so that anyone can join or restricted to invitation or acceptance only. Simply select the level of control that your company is comfortable with.

Attracting talent and clients

While some businesses may use LinkedIn only for talent purposes, there are other effective uses. LinkedIn allows users to set up options for developing contacts, seeking new contracts and allowing interaction. This makes LinkedIn an ideal platform for searching for potential clients.

linkedin tips

Testimonials do matter

LinkedIn allows businesses to request testimonials or references from current clients, employees and previous clients. This can be very helpful, especially for a business that is just getting started. Testimonials help a business develop a strong online reputation. Additionally, these testimonials are readily available to share with others whether they have a LinkedIn account or not.

Brand building

One of the best things about using LinkedIn is that you help build your brand. Because LinkedIn allows a business to set up individual profiles for the management team as well as a business page, building a business brand is easier than on other social networking sites. In addition, a presence on LinkedIn is often seen as more professional than having accounts on Twitter or Facebook.

Networking opportunities

Some businesses may see LinkedIn as simply another networking site or social media site that must be managed. With time at a premium, many do not feel that there is a great deal of value in any social media site. Businesses who feel that they must decide between sites should select LinkedIn because it is often seen as more valuable for business networking purposes.

LinkedIn provides an ideal platform for networking, with like-minded business owners. Online meet-ups are also possible if you set up and use a closed group appropriately. Sharing your business expertise allows you the opportunity to establish credibility as well, which is helpful in attracting better talent and additional customers.

About the services

Businesses should take the time to familiarize themselves with the platform that LinkedIn offers. In addition to networking, brand building and building credibility, there are numerous opportunities for advertising. Whether you elect to promote your business using many of the free opportunities or use the paid opportunities, LinkedIn provides the tools that most business owners need.

LinkedIn can be used as a contact management system, a screening system for new employees and a recruiting method for small and large business owners. Take the time to explore the features of LinkedIn and decide which package works best to meet your needs. There are countless ways to gain exposure for your business whether you are a Fortune-500 company or you are just getting started. LinkedIn is simple to use, is very flexible and offers a number of benefits for businesses. Consider adding LinkedIn to your companies marketing and hiring strategy; the benefits will far outweigh the time that you spend getting your account set up.

About the Author: Tim works with coxcabledeals.com for his “real” job.  In the mean time he works on his own thing.  Once this is closer to becoming a reality he will definitely be using the benefits of LinkedIn for networking and business development.

Image: nan palmero / Flickr

Top Tips to Ensure You Never Miss another Deadline at Work

Whether you run an online or an offline business there are certain targets that you need to meet. If you want people to buy your products then you need to ensure that they get their orders delivered on time and in good condition. If you have a boss that you have to keep happy then you need up to date reports on sales figures and future forecasts.

Those busy people who recognise that they cannot keep track of everything by themselves have now cottoned onto the fact that if you let an efulfilment (also known as web fulfilment) company take on some of your tasks; you won’t upset your boss with a missed deadline.

Tip 1: Getting Stock Delivered

You can spend a lot of time chasing up various members of staff to ensure that a customer’s order is actually booked and is due to be delivered on a certain day. One way to avoid all the hassle of chasing other people when it comes to response and delivery is to engage the services of an efulfilment company. A reputable and experienced company will be able to receive your goods and have orders packed and mailed out to customers within a given time frame. When you use the right service, you won’t have to worry about packing and delivery again, you can rest assured that customers will receive their orders in good time. Whether you need simple mailing of goods or a full picking, packing and delivery service the right company will make all the difference to your customers and thereby to your business.

Tip 2: Keeping Track of the Data

If you are not detail minded then accounts and sales reports may go untended, making it difficult when the boss calls a meeting to ask about the current state of the business.

When you engage the services of an efulfilment company they will run an audit trail on both the accounts and the sales figures, allowing you to have the details at your fingertips when you need them. A good company will do their best to identify and prevent potential delays and hold ups in securing an exact picture of the data. If you have a company website it’s a good idea to get some professional advice on the best way to handle it. A good professional outfit can manage many of the day to day tasks, such as processing payments for you, leaving you free to get on with the rest of your job.

Tip 3: Taking Care of the Little Things

One of the problems for those whose job it is to manage a successful business is that there is not always time to take care of all the little things that please customers and make your company unique. It’s all too easy not to check on how customers’ goods are packed and to miss the fact that you should be using bespoke packaging. A good company can handle all the little details that bog you down, including sending out goods in bespoke packaging.

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Hallmark Consumer Services.

Five Apps Every Small Business Owner Should Have

Gone are the days when you had to be at the office to do work. The advent of the home computer tore that whole notion to smithereens. While some would lament that they feel their office following them around wherever they bring their cell phone, many are singing the praises of mobile technology. If you’re a small business owner, you should take advantage or a few of the best apps out there. Next time you’re in line at the car wash, you can run your payroll or edit that business proposal or even check on an invoice.

GoogleDocs

The mobile version of Google’s awesome document editing application is pretty much just as cool as the original. Using the app you can view and edit documents and spreadsheets on the go and because GoogleDocs stores everything in the Cloud, you can easily share your revisions among multiple users and across multiple devices. The iOS version costs $4.99 while the Android version is free.

MiniBooks FreshBooks

MiniBooks puts all of your customer’s billing information in the palm of your hand. Need to check on an old invoice? Done. Need to pull up a client’s full contact info? Done. The app also lets you run timers for jobs that pay by the hour so you can keep an accurate count easily. Once you’ve created an estimate with the app, you can transform it into a printable invoice quickly and easily.

Evernote

Evernote is a great app for the forgetful among us. If you’ve ever needed to make a note on the fly, you can do it through Evernote and thanks to Cloud storage, that note or reminder will show up on all your devices. This is great for everything from shopping lists to keeping notes on meetings and conferences.

Square

Square is probably the best app for credit card holders. If you’re a small business owner who wants to begin accepting credit cards but you don’t want to go through the headache of setting up an account with the credit card company, you can simply sign up for a Square account. The company does not charge a flat rate for transactions (most companies charge $0.10-$0.15 across the board). They only take 2.75 percent of each transaction. Just plug the Square credit card scanner into your smartphone’s headphone jack and begin expanding your business today.

Carolyn is a guest blogger who writes about small businesses and small business solutions like BigCommerce to help optimize performance.