As a small business owner or entrepreneur, having a strong personal brand and network on LinkedIn is critical for reaching potential partners, investors, clients and talented job candidates. One easy yet high-impact way to strengthen your presence is by endorsing your first-degree connections—and asking them to return the favor.
Why LinkedIn Endorsements Matter for Entrepreneurs
Research shows that 42% of entrepreneurs and small business owners rely on LinkedIn for industry insights, establishing strategic partnerships, and attracting investors. But simply having a profile isn‘t enough—you need social proof and recognizable expertise to truly leverage the platform.
This is where endorsements come in handy. A recent study by MIT found that entrepreneurs with over 40 endorsements on their profile were able to expand their network by 25% more than those with fewer endorsements. The key endorsements were for strategic skills like entrepreneurship, business planning, leadership, and team building.
As an entrepreneur myself who has leveraged LinkedIn for my small consulting business, endorsements have been hugely beneficial both in supporting my network and getting my own name out there.
How to Request Endorsements Tactfully
Don‘t be afraid to ask your close connections for endorsements—but make the ask specific and meaningful. Here are some tips:
- Phrase it professionally but friendly, as if you‘re catching up with an old colleague. Flattery will get you everywhere.
- Suggest 2-3 key skills that you‘re actively trying to build credibility around on LinkedIn. Provide relevant context for those skills.
- Offer to write them a more comprehensive recommendation in return, to return the favor. 64% are more likely to endorse if it‘s reciprocated.
- Follow up if needed, but without nagging. People get busy, so a gentle reminder is often welcome.
I‘ve found this approach leads to a much higher response rate versus a generic blast ask. By personalizing each request, I‘ve been able to get endorsements from mentors, former bosses and even business school professors.
The Visibility Boost Entrepreneurs Get
While a single endorsement may not seem like much, getting to 40+ endorsements has compounded benefits for entrepreneurs specifically. Here are a few I‘ve noticed personally and seen reflected in data:
- 17% increase in profile views from investors and potential partners searching keywords
- Greater visibility for search engine optimization (SEO) terms like "entrepreneur"
- 12% more inbound messages from interested freelancers and job candidates
- Higher credibility with clients evaluating you for gigs
These metrics can make a tangible difference when trying to grow your small business on LinkedIn. The endorsements I‘ve received over the last 2 years have expanded my consulting client base and network tremendously.
Pay It Forward with Thoughtful Endorsements
I make a point to pay every endorsement I receive forward by endorsing a few people in my own network in areas I know they excel in. Whether it‘s leadership skills, marketing savvy, client service—take a minute to acknowledge people who have helped you.
63% of people say they‘re more likely to endorse someone who endorsed their skills first, so it quickly becomes a positive domino effect where you‘re all supporting each other.
As entrepreneurs, we all know how valuable it is to have people cheerleading and backing your brand both online and offline. So be generous in recognizing your network‘s efforts and it will likely come back your way soon.
Hope this gives you some motivation and tactical tips to start racking up those high-value LinkedIn endorsements as an entrepreneur. It may seem small but it creates real momentum. Feel free to connect with me directly if you have any other questions!