As an entrepreneurship consultant who assists small business owners, I often advise clients on the best practices for raising their professional profile on LinkedIn to attract new opportunities. One of the most effective yet underutilized tactics is requesting strategic recommendations.
Why LinkedIn Recommendations Matter for Entrepreneur Visibility
Relevant data indicates that LinkedIn recommendations can significantly amplify entrepreneurs‘ personal brand and credibility:
- Members with 5+ recommendations receive 36% more profile views 
- 81% of hiring managers consider recommendations vital for evaluating candidates 
- Profiles with recommendations are 27% more likely to receive messages from recruiters 
However, not all recommendations carry equal weight. The rest of this guide will provide research-backed advice on cultivating credible recommendations optimized for entrepreneurs.
Who Should Entrepreneurs Ask for Recommendations?
As a consultant well-versed in crafting standout LinkedIn profiles, I always remind clients that quality matters far more than quantity. Rather than peppering casual connections with recommendation requests, be selective and only reach out to individuals who meet the following criteria:
Former clients you have served successfully within the past 1-2 years offer valuable third-party confirmation of your skills and work ethic.
Well-respected partners and colleagues can highlight your subject matter expertise and thought leadership.
Influential veterans who have coached you on launching your venture make powerful advocates.
The chart below summarizes the unique value of each recommender type:
|What They Endorse
|Why They Matter
|Customer service, timeliness, solutions quality
|Prove you satisfy real-world clients
|Specific domain expertise, credibility
|Confirm your qualifications
|Leadership, innovation, potential
|Trusted voices with gravitas
With selective criteria in mind, I advise entrepreneurs to aim for 5-8 stellar recommendations. The next section details best practices for crafting personalized outreach.
How to Craft Effective LinkedIn Recommendation Requests
Based on my consulting experience, I have refined a 4-step methodology for requesting impactful recommendations:
1. Compose Personalized Messages
Always address your chosen contacts directly by name and customize the content to highlight your specific working relationship. For instance:
Hi [name], I wanted to sincerely thank you again for collaborating on [project details]. As someone embarking on entrepreneurship, I truly valued our partnership and your mentorship. I am hoping to raise my professional profile on LinkedIn to attract new consulting opportunities. Would you be open to providing a brief recommendation based on our work together? Please let me know if you have any questions!
2. Provide Clear Guidelines
Offer 2-3 bullet points summarizing key accomplishments or skills you would appreciate them highlighting, such as:
– Successfully developed social media strategy increasing client’s engagement by 2X in 6 months
– Quickly cultivated rapport with client leadership through strategic interviews
– Rapidly produced high-quality deliverables working independently under tight deadlines
This guidance gives recommenders clarity while still permitting flexibility to use their own words.
3. Set Expectations on Timing
Let contacts know your requested timeframe for receiving recommendations, ideally 2-3 weeks. This allows them sufficient time without losing momentum. Follow up once if you have not gotten a response after the predefined window.
4. Express Gratitude
Once a contact provides your recommendation, always send prompt, enthusiastic thanks emphasizing how much you appreciate their endorsement. Consider offering to write recommendations in return to build goodwill.
By incorporating these best practices into every recommendation outreach, entrepreneurs can efficiently build credibility. The following section explores recommendation optimization.
Curating Your Recommendations for Maximum Impact
With a steady stream of recommendations, take care to curate them strategically using LinkedIn’s tools:
Order Prominently: Prioritize your most impressive endorsements from recognized industry authorities and display them near the top of your profile.
Customize Visibility: Adjust settings to showcase select recommendations on your public profile while keeping others private.
Keep Content Updated: Set calendar reminders to refresh your recommendations annually by reaching out to new strategic contacts.
Taking this curatorial approach allows entrepreneurs to control what value-adding recommendations recipients see first when engaging with your profile.
The Bottom Line
In summary, as an entrepreneurship consultant, my key guidance for small business owners on LinkedIn recommendations includes:
- Be selective and only request from recent clients, respected peers and experienced mentors
- Personalize all outreach messages for optimal response rates
- Set clear expectation on topics and timing upfront
- Curate visibility of recommendations to highlight strategic endorsements
I hope these evidence-backed best practices empower fellow entrepreneurs to take control of their personal brand on LinkedIn by leveraging recommendations. Please feel free to connect with any additional questions!