LinkedIn – a real problem solver

Ever been dealing with a company when things just don’t seem to be moving forward?

You find yourself constantly talking to call centres or customer services, but to no avail, as you are always talking to someone different and they don’t have a full understanding of your situation, so there is no big picture thinking. LinkedIn may be able to help.  Let me explain:

I’ve blogged recently about my house being burgled and how the loss of my technology seriously impacted my work for a week or so, and so you may already be aware of the fun and games I’ve had recently. There was an added complication that they stole my car keys and my car during the burglary and my car insurance company have been less than helpful.

I’m not going to name names but suffice to say things were going neither smoothly or quickly and I was rapidly approaching the end of my tether. Finally I thought it was about time to go around the call centre so I used the world’s biggest business social media tool: LinkedIn.

I found one of the UK’s senior directors and simply made them aware of what I had been experiencing. That was less than a week ago and now everything has been resolved.

It isn’t quite the case of “who you know”, but LinkedIn makes it the next best thing.

Networking – quality or quantity?

There are many approaches to networking  and plenty of articles written about it.  A google search whilst writing this blog identified 341,000,000 in 0.33 seconds – that should keep you busy for a little while.

Broadly speaking there are two camps when it comes to, particularly, online networking: collecting as many people as possible or, know the people you network with.  I fall firmly into the latter.

Right now I have 388 connections on LinkedIn.  Fifteen minutes ago I had 445.  Although I spend a good amount of time trying to maintain the relationships I have developed I looked through my connections and found that I had 57 in there where I couldn’t remember what they did or why I was connected to them.  If I cannot remember what they do, what is the chance that I am going to introduce them to other people I meet?

What does this mean to me?  I have roughly 15% more time to maintain the relationships I have built up on LinkedIn, further improving the quality of them

What does it mean to the 57? Absolutely nothing at a guess, as they don’t seem to be worried about maintaining the relationship either or they would have been in contact recently and I would know what they did.

What’s my point?  Simple, invest your time in developing your network and ensuring it is mutually beneficial.  If there is “dead wood” in your connections, a little light pruning is a good thing

Who Do You Go To?

When you need to talk

As a small business owner there are times when I face issues that I need help with. I’m lucky in that I have a group of people around me, both family and friends, who I can talk to and get either advice or simply someone to “dump on”.

I started thinking about what other small business owners do when they have issues they need to resolve, so I thought why not ask them? Most of you will know I’m a big fan of LinkedIn, so I simply used the Answers function within LinkedIn.  The question I asked was:

Who do small business owners turn to in order to talk about their worries, concerns and issues?

The range of answers was really interesting, some were worrying, others were expected and a couple were entertaining – do you know anyone called Bud Wiser?

I’m a little worried by the suggestion that some business owners go to hookers (2%) and I’d rather (probably foolishly) hoped that I wouldn’t get the 10% of answers that were simply self-promoting.  One guy answered the question with a simple “That would be me!”. If you’re going to self-promote, at least add something useful.

As someone who’s been described, by at least one client, as his therapist (see previous blog) I was happy to see that business coaches (15%) was the biggest answer. I don’t market myself as a business coach – I’m a virtual marketing director for a number of clients – but I do get involved with general business issues as marketing has an impact across all areas.

If you’re like me and have family and friends to talk to, you’re not alone as another 20% of responses were spouse, friends or relatives, although one response suggested that this group was probably the worst place to go. I think he thinks that these people will tell you what you want to hear rather than what you need to.

If you’re reading this as a small business owner I hope it puts your mind to rest – that you’re not alone whatever source of issue resolution you have.