How SMEs can benefit from LinkedIn’s new Open For Business feature
With a huge light show on the Burj Khalifa, LinkedIn has announced the launch of its new global feature: Open for Business. The feature allows SMEs and freelancers to become more visible and increase business opportunities through the platform — from around the world.
This means that businesses in Dubai can be discoverable by potential clients sitting in the UK, Canada, Hong Kong, or any other country in the world where they are looking for services in their sector. Moreover, business from any country can promote their services to LinkedIn’s community of 660 million members.
The new features make business connections and possibilities larger than ever before. LinkedIn users looking for services can search and filter businesses and providers through the Open for Business feature, as well as view the complete list of services provided by the freelancer or business while gaining access to their website or portfolios.
It also enables users to send messages to enquire further instead of being limited by a very small amount of inmails. Furthermore, the feature allows members to ask for recommendations, which has traditionally been done through normal posts that can sometimes be lost on the homepage or not reach as many people due to algorithms.
Note: You need to be a LinkedIn Premium member to access this feature.
“Small businesses and freelancers play a critical role in the growth and future of our global economy. And with 660 million members and 30 million companies on the platform across the world, LinkedIn is uniquely positioned to help them be more productive and successful, whether they are based in Dubai or Dundee.“Allen Blue, Co-Founder of LinkedIn
LinkedIn has long since enjoyed the top position for business networking in the online sphere. While it has regularly launched new features to support connections, the past year has specifically seen a number of initiatives to capture mindshare — and screen-time share of people with features such as newsletters and editorials.
Their Open for Business feature is perhaps going to become one of the most popular ones within the business community. This is because while traditionally LinkedIn has relied on its audience to take actions such as send connection requests and inmails to further business relations, it is now making it easier for businessmen to showcase their services instead of just their career profiles.
This serves two purposes: Firstly, it makes it easier for those searching for solution providers to find more suitable businesses and the right people to get in touch with. Secondly, it provides freelancers and small to medium business owners a platform to advertise their services in a neater fashion than in the “about me” section.
LinkedIn’s latest move is indicative of its focus on growth, and could see it becoming as big as Facebook, but in the business sphere. By making people and businesses more discoverable and encouraging global connections, it is entering into the space of facilitating business in the growing gig economy, which is currently dominated by the likes of Upwork and local platforms like Nabbesh. The network effect that LinkedIn has built over the years could certainly facilitate this move.
LinkedIn choosing Dubai to launch its new feature is a testament to the emirate’s commitment to strengthen its SMB and freelance community. SMEs currently contribute 47 percent to the UAE’s annual GDP and make up 94 percent of businesses in the country. This year alone, the UAE has launched a number of initiatives in support of SMEs and freelancers in the country. At SME10X, we are more than excited to see these measures advance the economy and further the country’s reputation as one of the top business hubs in the world.