Good small business reads #22: Effective use of LinkedIn, more on crowdfunding, and business cards for the 21st century

This month’s issue of Good Small Business Reads once again illustrates just how diverse the knowledge is that small business owners need to accumulate to be successful in an increasingly complex business world. We’ve got everything from very 21st century topics like crowdfunding and social media along with an updated look at an age-old, and too often little considered, business tool, your business card.

Let’s tackle the latter topic first. In “Business Cards in the 21st Century: 10 Tips to Follow,” published on Network Solutions’ blog for small business, the author makes the point that business cards are one of the most important marketing tools you have yet their value and importance is often overlooked by small business owners. I also have found this to be true; I often am left to wonder why someone new I’m meeting didn’t put more effort into creating a memorable business card.

Pay special attention to tip #2 about putting a picture on your card. A couple of years ago, I ordered mini-cards from moo.com that have a picture of pens on them, very appropriate for a writer. People never fail to comment on the photo and also on the unique size of the mini-card, which is half the size of usual business cards, which also makes them very eye-catching. Handing someone one of these cards almost always results in a short conversation about them so they serve as good ice breakers. Check out moo.com, by the way; their prices can’t be beat.

I am an active participant in a LinkedIn group called Linked WesternMass. Recently, Christine Pilch Mancini, who moderates the group, wrote a great post on her blog entitled “Are you obnoxious or valuable to your LinkedIn community?” which she posted to LinkedIn WesternMass. Christine points out that people who are constantly selling, selling, selling on such social networks are not doing themselves any good and are most likely annoying group members instead of impressing them or motivating them to want to make contact. Instead, she urges that when considering posting content to a group discussion you should ask yourself, “Will this help the members of this group or is my main objectives to promote myself, my skills, my product or service, or my own blog?” As she points out, “LinkedIn group members aren’t stupid. They can tell the difference between someone who is genuine and helpful and someone who is selfish.”

Finally, in early April in our post about the JOBS Act, we promised to bring you more about the topic of crowdfunding. In “JOBS Act: What Crowdfunding Means for Your Startup” on Mashup.com, Bill Clark, CEO of Microventures, which uses a process similar to crowdfunding to raise $1,000 to $30,000 in startups online, provides seven tips for start-ups about using crowdfunding. His advice touches on a lot of the questions I’ve heard people raise on this topic, so I think you’ll find it useful if you’re in the start-up stage and are considering crowdfunding.

2 comments

  1. Trish says:

    Thanks for sharing these Jeanne.
    Christine Pilch Mancini is always contributing something valuable when she posts.

    However I found “JOBS Act: What Crowdfunding Means for Your Startup” by Bill Clark a bit myopic. He's focused solely on Crowdfund Investment (the one that just got passed) but fails to note that classic crowdfunding (the kind that's always been legal) with pre-product sales or perks is still and will continue to be a viable and often a better route for many small and startup companies.

  2. JeanneYocum says:

    Hi, folks,

    Once I did this post I got word from Moo.com's PR firm about the fact that, for a limited time, Moo.com is offering free businesses cards that use the information, logos and designs from their Facebook page. The free cards can be ordered at http://moo.com/facebook-cards.

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