LinkedIn is fertile ground for B2B sales – you can’t argue with the numbers.  Hence, it has attracted many small to medium sized business owners.  This makes LinkedIn a valuable platform for advisors interested in marketing to this coveted niche.  And not only is their presence plentiful, but determining mutual connections is easy. We all know that there is no better marketing than a personal introduction.

So here are a few ways to find them…      

 

Running an Advanced Search for Current Business Owners

Step 1: In the title box, enter terms such as…

  • Owner
  • President
  • CEO
  • Franchise
  • Founder
  • Business Owner
  • Sole Proprietor
  • Self-Employed
  • Entrepreneur

Also, once you put in your keyword, you can use the drop down to identify “current.”

Step 2: Enter your postal code and select the “within” radius in which you’d like to identify prospects.

Step 3: Check the box for the type of relationship – 1st degree, 2nd degree, Group Members – and run your search, sifting through the results for introduction opportunities.

Pro Tip:  Adding a quick Boolean operator like OR between your keywords will help broaden your search and be a more efficient use of your time.

For example: Founder OR CEO OR President

 

Running an Advanced Search for Someone who Sold Their Business

What if you aren’t interested in current business owners? Instead, you want to find people who sold a successful business (i.e. major liquidity event!).  You could repeat the search above and only select “past” under the title box. This will give you plenty of results, but you don’t really know if they went bankrupt or sold their business.  Searching for these people takes some creative thinking.

Step 1: Think about the types of phrases someone puts on their profile if they sold a business.  Here are a few we like to use in our coaching…

  • “sold my business”
  • “sold my practice”
  • “sold my startup”
  • “bought out”
  • “recently sold”
  • “grew my business”

This is not a comprehensive list, but a great starting point. Take these phrases and put them in quotes in the Keywords box. 

Step 2: Next enter your postal code and select the “within” radius in which you’d like to identify prospects.

Step 3: Check the box for the type of relationship – 1st degree, 2nd degree, Group Members – and run your search, sifting through the results for introduction opportunities.

 

How to Find Groups that Contain Business Owners

In your hunt for small business owners, don’t forget about LinkedIn groups!  These small communities of people who share commonalities are great for niche marketers.  

Step 1: By simply running a keyword company search for “business owners” you’ll find nearly 9,000 appropriate groups of which nearly 4,000 are open.   If you want to find groups within a particular geographic location, simply add a city name in your search. 

I ran the following search with the Boolean operator AND to find business owners groups in Raleigh, NC.

"business owners" AND Raleigh

Step 2: Once you join these groups focus on being helpful and engaging with others.

Step 3: Search the member directory to pinpoint prospects.

There are endless ways to find your ideal business owner prospects through the Advanced Search feature of LinkedIn.  It’s just a matter of thinking strategically and searching with the right keywords and phrases.