LinkedIn co-founder and billionaire investor Reid Hoffman isn't afraid to offer advice on how to improve your LinkedIn profile.
He's also not shy about sharing his stance that entrepreneurs who are not using LinkedIn put themselves at a massive disadvantage.
"For entrepreneurs, more or less, if an entrepreneur is not using LinkedIn, I can nearly guarantee you that is not going to be a successful entrepreneur in this day and age," Hoffman said during this video interview. "At this point, it's almost a basic IQ test."
Why LinkedIn Makes Sense For Entrepreneurs
Even putting aside Hoffman's obvious bias toward LinkedIn, he does make a valid point.
"Part of how you succeed in an entrepreneurial business is you have to assemble a network of resources around the business at speed and at accuracy," he says. "You need investors, you need employees, you need customers. How do you find them?"
With 450 million members in more than 200 countries - and with an additional 2 new members joining every second - LinkedIn boasts the biggest and most comprehensive database of the key players most entrepreneurs need access to.
And best of all, once you understand how to quickly search and scale 1-on-1 relationships inside LinkedIn, you can easily find, connect and engage with the key investors, partners and potential customers you need to grow your business.
Tools of the Trade
"LinkedIn is the most central tool for doing this," Hoffman says. "It's all about finding the right people associated with the right resources."
Speaking of tools and resources, LinkedIn will be rolling more of both into the platform in the coming months after being purchased by Microsoft for $26.2 billion.
Expect to see new features like Skype-style video calls, deeper calendar, webinar, email and address book integration and other Microsoft-type features integrated into LinkedIn moving forward.
All the more reason to spend more time on the network, according to Hoffman.
"If you're not heavily engaged with LinkedIn, your competitive advantage is so weak I would almost guarantee you are going to fail," Hoffman says.
Sure, Hoffman is hardly an unbiased observer when it comes to using LinkedIn to grow your business.
But for busy entrepreneurs with limited time and resources online, it's at least worth considering closely what he has to say about the network - and the opportunities it offers when used correctly.