Well as promised I wanted to update this story as it has been one of the most remarkable applications of LinkedIn I have personally experienced in the several years I have been a participant. As you may recall (if you are a regular reader) I mentioned that I had joined forces with a couple of folks who have a Fortune 500 type of background like I do and that their focus has been on seeking out and aiding mid-Western US small to mid-sized manufacturing companies (and as a result a handful from manufacturing like business) to aid them in getting funding for growth and to realize opportunities in the new economy.
The response was nothing short of fantastic so far and has led to our launch of a new business that incorporates this effort and a set of follow on services provided by well experienced, high level veterans in the manufacturing, business and marketing strategic, and international business development. We found multiple companies who not only were surviving but had multiple opportunities that we are leveraging to give them the kind of future success many had thought impossible due to the disconnect between traditional lenders and US manufacturing.
It also made it clear that reports of the death of US manufacturing, particularly small and mid-sized companies are very much premature! There is a growing need for and rationale for seeking out US based sources for a variety of manufacturing needs. Regionalizing logistics to reduce both cost and the effects of long range shipping on the environment, facilitating relationships between companies to source in a way that takes advantage of “economies of scale” and building stronger regional economies all make sense as the US climbs out of its self imposed economic crisis.
We continue to seek primarily Michigan and businesses in adjacent states as we ramp up to go much broader in January of 2011. Once we have launched this new effort we are planning on extending the reach of our efforts to include more US companies regardless of their location.
One thing I will note is that there are still far too many companies who could benefit from this off the LinkedIn platform. After meeting with a number of the folks who did get to us, and a handful we found outside of LinkedIn, it is clear that many manufacturing execs are not participating in LI simply because of the intense “social marketing” hype that clouds the aspects of LI that are more relationship building. That plus the fact that many view LI as becoming more and more of an HR recruiting mechanism causes many to take a pass as they see no real benefit to them in their smaller scale environments.
We are seeking to change that as well and hope that those folks who are a part of the LinkedIn experience and have access to these decision makes will eventually help to convince them there is more to it then hiring and “social media gurus”.
Stay tuned…more about this later!