Starting a business isn't easy, and it's even harder to do it without a support group. That's why networking is so important for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Growing your network means forming more valuable connections to other entrepreneurs and, therefore, more resources. These connections are great for getting feedback on your ideas, finding funding, recruiting employees and more. Not sure how to make connections like these? Start by joining LinkedIn groups, like these Here are 16 must-follow LinkedIn groups dedicated to entrepreneurs and small business owners:
Executive Suite: This group is all about connecting people at the executive level so they can share advice on leadership, decision-making and more. With nearly 300,000 members, there are plenty of connections just waiting to be made.
A Startup Specialists Group - Online Network for Entrepreneurs and Startups: With just under 200,000 members, this group is one of the largest moderated LinkedIn communities for startups, founders, mentors, investors and small business experts.
Band of Entrepreneurs: This group describes itself as "a nonprofit organization of, by and for entrepreneurs," and it provides support on topics like legal help, human resources, public relations, technology and more. The group has more than 22,000 members.
Bright Ideas & Entrepreneurs | Small Business Startup Community: Founded in 2007 and now boasting more than 17,000 members, this group aims to facilitate discussion and idea-sharing among entrepreneurs all over the world.
Digital Marketing: This group has more than 900,000 members and is dedicated to the digital marketing landscape. It covers topics from mobile marketing and SEO to online PR, email marketing and more — all things that entrepreneurs need to know.
Entrepreneurs Meet Investors: Whether you're looking for funding to start a business or grow your existing company, this group could help. It has a network of more than 6,000 entrepreneurs and investors.
Entrepreneur's Network: Founded in 2008, this group has more than 24,000 members. It's dedicated to current and aspiring entrepreneurs looking to network and ask and answer questions. [See Related Story: Dear Brittney: Am I Networking Correctly? ]
Future Trends: This group describes itself as a place to "connect with fellow trend hunters, corporate visionaries and future thinkers" in industries such as marketing, product development, brand management and more. The group has more than 397,000 members.
Leadership Think Tank: A good entrepreneur is also a good leader, and with more than 174,000 members, this group is a place for professionals to learn and discuss leadership concepts and practices.
LInked Business Strategists: LInked Business Strategists is dedicated to "exchanging knowledge and helping entrepreneurs and startups find and evaluate the right strategies for their business worldwide," according to the group's profile. The group has more than 6,000 members.
On Startups – The Community for Entrepreneurs: This group has more than 500,000 members, making it the largest entrepreneurial startup group on LinkedIn. It is dedicated to discussing marketing, financing, operations, hiring, and all other things small business.
Private Equity, M&A, and Venture Capital Investments: This group describes itself as a "leading community of private equity, M&A [mergers and acquisitions] and venture capital professionals coming together to share best practices, articles, books, events and deal flow." With more than 240,000 members, it's perfect for entrepreneurs seeking or looking to learn more about funding.
Social Entrepreneur Empowerment Network: This group is dedicated to social entrepreneurs, and "[brings] together some of the world's most accomplished visionary leaders and conscious business experts," according to its profile. The group aims to empower social entrepreneurs, and has more than 16,000 members.
Social Media Marketing: With nearly 1 million members (more than 999,000 to date), this is the largest and most active open LinkedIn group dedicated to social media marketing, making it a great resource for entrepreneurs.
Women's Network of Entrepreneurs: Dedicated to female entrepreneurs and women in business who want to build their networks and share resources, this group was founded in 2008 and has more than 17,000 members.
Young Entrepreneur Connections: With nearly 20,000 members, Young Entrepreneur Connections is "designed to benefit all young entrepreneurs," according to its profile. The group is a great opportunity for young professionals and entrepreneurs to network with small business owners, consultants, advisors and more.