I have been using LinkedIn for well over a decade now and I find it to be a great tool for building and maintaining my business network. As a veteran of the platform, I wanted to share some top tips on how to get the most out of it.

1. Add a profile picture

This may seem obvious but there a lot of people out there without one. Also, make sure it is appropriate. This is not Facebook, it is a professional network, your online CV. The picture should be a head and shoulders shot against a plain background, not a selfie of you and your pet ferret.

 

2. List your current job

If you have an active LinkedIn account, keep it up to date. There is no point in having an online professional profile if it does not reflect what you do. Every time you start a new job, update your profile. Use your real job title, make sure you list the company you work for and connect with your new colleagues as soon as you can.

3. Look at mutual connections

You will be amazed at who you know and how small the world is. Every time you connect see who that person knows that you do. Use this information to start a dialogue. Shared connections give you instant shared experiences and great talking points when you meet up with people.

4. Connect, connect, connect

Connect with people you meet, connect with people you want to meet, connect with people you think could benefit from meeting you. If you have just met the person in the flesh, or are about to, just look them up and click connect. Don’t overthink it or worry about personal messages if they should know who you are anyway. If you are contacting them blind, then you need to include a note about who you are and why they should connect.

LinkedIn in is a great tool and the best tip I can give you is to only put it on your profile if you would bring it up in a job interview, it is that simple.

The world is a complicated place and we can often get lost in the chaos. This is true for all of us but it is especially true for small business owners. We often get so caught up in running our businesses we forget the basics; we overlook the obvious and we focus on the wrong things.

When I started out on my own I had two guiding principles in mind – tell people what I am selling and tell them how much it costs. Now you might think this over simplistic but look at most small business websites and you will find these elements are often nowhere to be found.

If you are in business this means you are selling something. If you are selling something you know what you need to sell it for to stay in business. If we were to sit down over a coffee and talk about our businesses, could you tell me what you do and what it will cost me to use your services? Before you even sit down with me a quick read of my website can tell you what I offer and what it will cost. This means there are no surprises. You won’t look at me like I am a crazy person when I tell you what my services will cost because you knew that before we sat down. You won’t be surprised when I outline what I can do for you as it is the same as the services offered on my website.

Many businesses feel a need to keep their prices secret in case competitors see what they are planning. They don’t want to disclose full details of what they do just in case a client wants something else. The key here is to remember that as a small business you don’t do everything, you are a specialist. Be proud of what you do and shout it from the rooftops. You also know what your services are worth, so tell people. If you are only selling your services on price, you are not going to last long. Deliver a service you are proud of at a price you know is fair, it is that simple.

I will leave you with a question- if you went to a café with no prices or descriptions on the menu how would you decide what to order?