A sizable part of my time as an Investment Banker is spent researching company information online to locate the perfect match for an acquisition, joint venture or some other profitable corporate relationship. Increasingly I am using LinkedIn. As a new generation of business thinkers help this become a more effective tool for corporate development, I see a few common mistakes many CEO's are making that will leave them watching from on the sidelines while others take advantage of profitable business opportunities.
Just yesterday a CEO with a $45 million healthcare business called to tell me the acquisition we are
working on is the most important one they have done in the past 3 years. He's very fortunate because his LinkedIn profile has just 5 connections, I found him through his VP of sales’ profile.
The good news is that most CEO's could become much more effective on LinkedIn with just a couple changes.
To get in the game: httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzT3JVUGUzM you simply need to be sure you A) have a photo on your profile, B) have at least 50 connections, C) have the correct description of your business and D) make contacting you easy.
You may not fully appreciate “social media” yet, but it is
the future, and the future is now. For real business people,
LinnkedIn is the most important social media tool on the planet. Think of it as a business mixer where
everyone displays their critical information on their chest, it’s a
huge time saver. Yes, there are people
who think having 5,000 connections is somehow valuable, but you’ll learn to
navigate around them. For now, focus here...
A) Your profile
Like everything else in life, I will form an opinion of you and how seriously you regard this tool in about 5 seconds. This is your first impression so make it what you want it to be. The three most influential parts of your profile are 1) your title, 2) the amount of your connections and 3) your photo. (I’ll explore the reasons in another post, but take my word for it.)
B) Your key words
When I search for an acquisition target, potential buyer or JV partner, I’ll enter the key words in the “people” or "company" field (top right) and begin my research from there.
It is critical to have the "summary" or "experience" section of your profile contain the key words of your service so I (or other CEO's) can find you for potential deals. I am currently working on three deals I have matched through key word search on linkedIn (more in future blog post). Medical claims, franchise development and Sharepoint deals will all flow from a C-level executive with a well-designed profile.
C) Easy point of contact
Because I am thorough and because of the importance of a potential deal, I’ll take the extra steps to find your contact information but many will not. You are better served to create a separate email account to handle inquiries if you are worried about volume. Then have your admin review for opportunities of interest.
D) Company profile
LinkedIn has over 67 million users, that is a very big
potential pool of employee talent, business prospects, JV opportunities,
etc. Have your head of marketing develop
a corporate profile and manage it to keep “followers” engaged. If you are looking to grow your business (10 ideas), LinkedIn is a tool that will become much more effective with about 20 minutes of effort on these suggestions.
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