Supporting Small Businesses, One Member at a Time [SLIDESHOW]

October 2, 2013

When LinkedIn partnered with Staples to create the Succeed community for small business owners and other professionals, we already knew that entrepreneurs were looking for a place to connect with like-minded people. We didn’t, however, expect these entrepreneurs to be so forthcoming with their personal challenges and sacrifices.

As we’ve learned over the past 10 months, the most successful small business professionals have figured out what they don’t know, and they’re eager to connect with those who can help fill in the knowledge gaps. By joining Succeed: Small Business Network, Powered by Staples, time-crunched entrepreneurs gain access to a supportive network of accountants, lawyers, marketing pros, social media experts, and other small business professionals.

Last week, Succeed crossed 50,000 members, making the group one of the largest—and one of the most engaged—communities for small business professionals on LinkedIn.

“Staples is proud to power such an important forum for entrepreneurs to gain the insights they need to be successful,” says Alison Corcoran, Senior Vice President, North American Stores and Online, Staples.

For a glimpse at what makes entrepreneurs tick, check out this SlideShare presentation by the members of Succeed.

Here are three more trends we’ve spotted along the way:

1. Entrepreneurs and small business professionals are always looking for ways to become more productive and efficient.

Succeed members have discussed whether cold calling is still effective, how to befriend gatekeepers, how to wear multiple hats, how to balance a full-time job while working on a startup, and more. Whether they’re striving to solve work-life balance dilemmas or sharing productivity-boosting tips, Succeed members are joining forces to lend a hand and in many cases, a sympathetic ear.

2. Succeed members want to improve as leaders and managers.

Not all entrepreneurs have had experience leading a team. From dealing with unmotivated employees to learning how to delegate, many Succeed members are learning from one another as they each strive to become better leaders and communicators—all while recognizing the importance of saying “Thank you.”

3. Entrepreneurs and small business owners are looking for thought leadership.

The small business professionals in Succeed respond to thoughtful, well-crafted content that not only informs but also invites member input. In response to this demand for high-quality content, many members have stepped up as thought leaders in the group by starting conversations inspired by relevant content.

“The group is a good way to promote our stories about small business and entrepreneurship,” says Succeed member Nick Leiber, who regularly leads group discussions as the small business editor at Bloomberg Businessweek. “I enjoy reading the opinions that readers post, and they give me ideas for future stories.”

From recounting the story behind their company name to reliving the moment they decided to become their own boss, Succeed members keep reminding us that everyone has a story. Join the conversation at www.linkedin.com/succeedsmallbiz.

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