Top 10 Social Networks for Entrepreneurs

Dan Schawbel ( for mashable.com )

Looking for a job? Consider creating your own. There are a number of social resources to help you connect with other entrepreneurs and get your business ideas off the ground.

Here are the top 10 social networks for entrepreneurs. Each helps entrepreneurs succeed by providing them with the guidance, tools and resources they need to setup their company and gain exposure.

Have another social site to add to this list? Tell us about it in the comments.

1. Entrepreneur Connect

Entrepreneur Media, the company that produces Entrepreneur Magazine, started a social network over a year ago specifically for entrepreneurs and small business owners called Entrepreneur Connect.   Like all social networks, you have the opportunity to create your own profile, explore the community, share ideas with other entrepreneurs and network. Unlike most social networks, this one frowns upon too much self-promotion and applauds idea sharing.You can use this network to connect to service providers, suppliers, advisers and colleagues.  Just like LinkedIn and FacebookFacebook reviewsFacebook reviews, there are professional groups that you can join or create.  Another cool feature is that you’re able to start your own blog and possibly have it appear on the main page.  This is similar to what Fast Company has done with their website.

2. PartnerUp

PartnerUp is a social network for entrepreneurs who are searching for people and resources for business opportunities.  Anyone can join, but business partners, co-founders, executives and board members will get the most out of this one.  In this network, you can ask or offer advice, find commercial real estate and find service providers like accountants and marketers for your business.The big differentiator with this social network is the commercial real estate “MoveUpSM” program that serves entrepreneurs who have experienced a hard time trying to find office space for their business.  They also have a Resource Directory that allows small and mid-sized businesses to advertise their services.

3.  StartupNation

startupnation imageMost social networks neglect the content aspect that makes StartupNation so useful.  With articles, forums, blogs, on-demand seminars, and podcasts, entrepreneurs will be better prepared for their ventures and have the resources required to make better business decisions.There are a wide range of topics being discussed on StartupNation right now, including business planning, marketing and web-based business.  The site also offers a series of competitions, such as a dorm-based 20 contest and an elevator pitch competition. If you’re an entrepreneur or hope to become one, this site is definitely one you can’t miss out on.

4.  LinkedIn

It’s difficult to leave LinkedIn off of any social networking list because it’s so useful for anyone who’s either searching for a job, is trying to network with like-minded individuals, or building a company.  LinkedIn offers many resources for entrepreneurs, such as groups, including the very popular “On Startups” group that has over 54,000 members.Entrepreneurs on LinkedIn should brand themselves properly so they can attract the right kind of business opportunities, and perform searches to find service providers or partners.  As an entrepreneur, you should also be looking to participate in LinkedIn Answers, events and applications to spruce up your profile and become a valuable member to your community.

5. Biznik

This isn’t another LinkedIn clone.  Instead, Biznik brands itself as a social network that “doesn’t suck.”  The Biznik community is composed of freelancers, CEOs, and the self-employed.  Like the other networks, this is a place for you to share ideas, instead of posting your resume.  It is mandatory for all members to use their real names and provide real data, and Biznik editors actually review all profiles to ensure compliance with that policy.  There are three levels of membership, including basic, active ($10 a month for an enhanced profile) and supporting ($24 a month for increased visibility).

6.  Perfect Business

If you want to meet thousands of serious entrepreneurs, experts and investors from a variety of industries, then Perfect Business might be the perfect social network for you.  The type of people you’ll find are potential business partners, potential clients and advisers. Additionally, the site has leading business partners like Entrepreneur and Virgin Money.

perfect business imageFrom business networking to a video center where you can learn from successful entrepreneurs, a business plan builder and even an investor center, you’ll have most of the resources you need to create or regenerate your business. There is a free basic membership and a gold membership that costs $29.99 per month.

7.  Go BIG Network

The Go BIG Network embraces job seekers, in addition to funding sources, service providers and entrepreneurs.  In this social network, you post requests for help, which are then routed to other people in the network that can answer your questions or support you.  Members of this social network can search through profiles of other members, contact them or post a request (a classified ad) to talk about what they are looking for (such as a business partner).  The profiles on this network are targeted and specific so it’s easy to find an investor in a particular region.

8.  Cofoundr

The Cofoundr network is made up of idea makers, entrepreneurs, programmers, web designers, investors, freelancers and executives.  The primary purpose of joining this network is to start a new web venture.  Unlike most of the social networks already listed here, Cofoundr is a strictly private network, which means that you can’t view member profiles before you register for an account.Membership requires having a valid university or work email address, which means high schools students and younger aren’t allowed.  The first thing you have to do is sign up, then specify your abilities and the people you are trying to network with and finally, post your idea on the bulletin board or in the forum.

9.   The Funded

the funded imageThe Funded is an online community of entrepreneurs who research, rate and review funding sources.  Entrepreneurs can view and share terms sheets to assist each other in finding good investors, as well as discuss the inner workings of operating a business.  General benefits of this site include viewing facts, reviews and commentary on funding resources, and accessing RSS feeds of the most recent public comments by members.By joining the site, you have access to detailed fund profiles with specialty, reference investments, and investment criteria, in addition to accessing partner vCards that have full contact information of all partners at venture funds.  In order to get any value out of this social network, you pretty much have to become a member.see the whole listDan Schawbel is the author of Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success (Kaplan, April 09), and owner of the award winning Personal Branding Blog.

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24 Responses to “Top 10 Social Networks for Entrepreneurs”

  1. John Wren says:

    Denver Startup Forum is a new community of practice for entrepreneurs and their advisers. The Thursday luncheon meeting is recorded and posted online where the discussion continues with the speaker for the following week. Join (free) at http://DenverStartupForum.ning.com

  2. GoEverywhere Team says:

    That is a great list of social networks! I access Linked In several times a week from my webtop and have met many other entrepreneurs that way. Using these social networks to connect with other like minded people is invaluable.

  3. JM says:

    John – sounds like a good group. I’ll chk it out

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  5. JM says:

    thanks for the post. I will check it out

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  7. wes says:

    10? I count 9.

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  9. Dr.Harrey Dauwat says:

    Indeed great to be part of your business activities hence appreciate very much if your corporate group would extend an membership to me as Associate Member in MALAYSIA region.

  10. Kathryn Korostoff says:

    I also suggest http://eonetwork.org, which caters to Entrepreneurs’ Organization members, but shares access to EOtv (yes, tv shows for entrepreneurs on hot topics), blogs, and more to the public.

    I’ve been a member for 6 years. A fantastic worldwide organization (7,200 members) for folks who have started and built their business to $1M or more (that is the requirement, though they also have an Accelerator program for folks stuck in the $300k-under $1M range who want support getting to the next level).

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  12. mlgreen8753 says:

    I have heard of a couple of these sites, but most of them are new to me, so thanks for sharing them. Hopefully I can pick up some good advertising and marketing tips and make some new connections. Social networking is how I discovered useful business resources like Adwido and Ezine Articles.

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  14. Khalid Yusuf says:

    Excellent list….thank you for the info. I am working on setting up something similar but newer generation still…one that combines the web-based with the real world organization to provide a full 360 solution to all aspiring entrepreneurs. Hope to interact with all of you.

    Best regards,


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  16. Gwendolyn says:

    Thank you for the informative listing a detailed information of sites for social networking, in which up-comming entrepreneurs can share and discuss questions regarding successful business net working. 6-2010

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