by Dan Schawbel
Dan 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Most 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.
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.
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).
[Read More:: mashable]