There are at least three problems with this list. First, “entrepreneurship” is an extremely broad subject. Second, opinions are ubiquitous. Third, LinkedIn groups aren’t exactly scarce. Trying to highlight the best ones is somewhat of a fool’s errand, but you may be pleasantly surprised by what you find! With that in mind, here are ten recommendations to get you started...
Groups You Probably Already Know (And Should Know)
The first two are two popular LinkedIn groups you’ve likely already seen. If you’re not a member yet, become one. The sheer number of members pretty much guarantees you’ll get a stream of useful ideas.
With nearly 700,000 members, DM (which stands for Digital Marketing) is one of the most popular digital entrepreneur groups and an outstanding way for digital marketers and entrepreneurs to connect with their peers or share ideas about growing their business via the internet.
With roughly 1 million members, this group is by far the largest of its kind. “Intended for interactive advertising and marketing professionals who are actively engaged in social media and community-oriented websites around the world.” Membership in this group is useful for the same reason as DM.
Groups From Professional Journals You Should Know:
From the guys and gals who own the URL www.entrepreneur.com and run the magazine focused on everything entrepreneur comes a group of 40,000+ focused on the same. If you don’t subscribe to their $1/issue publication, request to join the group (members only) and get your digital fill of “entrepreneurialism, small business management, and business opportunities.”
This is an open group of roughly 1 million members. The HBR publication itself comes out 10 times per year and focuses on topics such as business strategy, finance, operations, marketing, management, and leadership. HBR is a frequent stop for some of business’s top thinkers including Peter Drucker, Theodore Levitt, and a long list of their contemporaries.
Terms like “globalization,” “marketing myopia,” and the “glass ceiling” have appeared first in HBR according to Wikipedia. This is definitely one of the groups you should keep HBR in your cross-check and with no barrier to entry, there’s no reason not to.
My Personal Recommendations:
This is a great group for Sales & Marketing Executives. But here’s the catch (and this is part of what makes it a valuable addition to your groups): it is “100% Discussions.” In other words, “no blogs, articles or promotions.” The group’s self-description goes as follows: “we are not a group where people share interesting articles or blogs - we are a Peer2Peer discussions forum that uses a Q&A format.”
There are two principal posting rules: “(1) All new discussion posts must be in the form of a question to drive discussion/idea exchange with other members [and] (2) [posts must be] hyperlink-free - all new discussion posts cannot include links to anything.” This group is for members only, and with more than 200,000 on the distro and an active contributor base, it is obvious that there is a lot of value in genuine peer-to-peer discussion.
This is a personal favorite. Ever wonder why economics based on mathematical models doesn’t make any sense? That’s because you’re supposed to be studying human action, something that can’t exactly be modeled mathematically.
Austrian economics focuses on this basic fact (human subjectivity) and never deviates. The reason for economic progress according to Austrian economic analysis … that’s right my friends, the entrepreneur. A solid grounding in Austrian economics will help every entrepreneur better understand the world of finance, economics, and business.
Extra Credit: Want to understand prices? Look up Carl Menger and the Subjective Theory of Value. It stands to this day, and in my estimation, always will.
Groups About Financing:
Trying to start a business without capital is difficult and entirely time-consuming. Trying to start a business with capital is a lot simpler - especially if you’ve got a great idea and a solid team.
With that in mind, every entrepreneur should understand the financial world, and in particular, some of the most common sources of modern-day investment capital (venture capital funds, angel investors, crowdfunding, and of course…friends and family). I couldn’t find a good friends and family group to share with everyone so we’re sticking with groups that cover the other three:
Angel investors typically invest in 10 companies hoping that one or two will actually make it big enough to sell within five years with a large enough profit to make losses on the other eight or nine irrelevant. Getting funding, however, is more difficult than you might think because there are a lot of people with ideas out there competing for it.
Here’s the group description: “[our] goal is to share deal flow (potential opportunities) feedback, due diligence work, and pool funds to make larger seed fund investments in high-growth business start-ups in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity. We seek 30x return over 5 years & an exit strategy.” With roughly 40,000 members, this is a great group to learn tips on getting financing. Curious how start-ups typically work? A good way to start is by attending a kickstarter event.
With more than 30,000 members this is the largest discussion group on its topic in the LinkedIn network. It is a great group for entrepreneurs trying to stay up to date on crowdfunding news and resources (think Indiegogo) and for main street investors to put small sums of money in projects they love.
9) Finance Plus
Finance Plus is a larger group that provides a steady stream of “news from private equity, venture capital and mergers & acquisitions” without the need of a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification to join. This is a great way to incorporate larger CFO perspectives into your business playbook.
A Group For Inspiration:
This is a group of 10,000 or so members that, like the rest of us, enjoy TED Talks. Discussion centers around “the thought-provoking talks offered by TED.com.” Be forewarned though, “this is not a debate group, but rather a collection of courteous individuals that aspire to learn more about their world.” Entrepreneurship has a lot to do with being inspired and TED Talks is the perfect fit. If you happen to live in the Omaha, Nebraska area you can meet up with other members of the group!
Good luck to all of our fellow entrepreneurs out there. If you have a business idea and want to connect with me or my company - we’re interested! If not, perhaps we’ll see you in one of our LinkedIn streams. Cheers!