Networking is a critical tool for any business owner. Networking allows businesses to find new customers and new suppliers. And, as Virgin's own Richard Branson says, some jobs require expertise that you're missing, and networking is the only way to find someone who can help you get the job done right.
In October 2017, the dating app Bumble went in a new direction, adding Bumble Bizz to the lineup. Since then, the company has embraced its place in the business networking space. Even Kris Jenner used the app to search for a new personal assistant.
Bumble Bizz is still going strong since its launch nine months ago. But what is Bumble Bizz? What does it provide? And is it right for small business owners?
What is Bumble Bizz?
Bumble Bizz is an extension of popular dating app Bumble. You need only to download the iOS or Android app to your phone and then select Bizz mode.
Bumble has another offshoot called BFF for people looking for a new best friend. The company has recognized that our important relationships and experiences – dating, meeting new friends, finding new jobs and professional mentors – share common elements. We want to meet people who share our goals and values and with whom we can build solid connections.
Bumble's CEO, Whitney Wolfe Herd, was a co-founder of the infamous dating app Tinder and one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2018. After leaving Tinder, she took what she'd learned from that experience and created Bumble, a dating app that requires women to make the first move. While Bumble started as a dating app, the management team has made it clear that professional networking was always on the road map.
But Bumble isn't looking to replace sites like LinkedIn. Instead, the app is designed to fill a gap it sees in the networking space. Because of the app's existing geolocation features, it's easier to find professional connections in your local area, and the app focuses on what you're looking for when networking, as opposed to LinkedIn, where it's difficult to tell what others are using the site for.
While Bumble Bizz uses the same functionality as the Bumble dating app, it won't look like you're trying to find a life partner while seeking a professional mentor. Although it is housed in the same app, you can use Bumble Bizz without showing up on the dating site.
In fact, one of the recent features is the ability to hide the dating app completely. Go to the app's mode-switching menu and navigate to dating mode. Click the X and you'll receive a confirmation prompt. Once you confirm, the settings menu will show that part of the app as disabled (and you can re-enable it later should the need arise).
Is Bumble Bizz right for small business owners?
The app is still pretty new, but because of the focused features, it appears poised to be a breakout tool for entrepreneurs. It's easy for small business owners to get lost in the sea of potential connections available with LinkedIn, and for them to be ignored between the job seekers and larger companies all vying for attention.
But because Bumble Bizz specifically focuses on individual connections, networking is an integral part of the experience. For small business owners, this is ideal. Networking directly with other business owners in your area who are looking for mentors/mentees, other entrepreneurs, or even a specific skill set becomes quick and easy with features like the ability to swipe right and left.
Bizz lets you add verified photos, digital resumes, a skills section and examples of your work. The company is quick to point out, however, that the app is not for job searching or recruiting. It's for networking exclusively.
One thing to note is that Bumble Bizz, like its sibling Bumble, is a female-first application, meaning that women must make the first move when establishing a connection with other members. This should reduce or eliminate the inappropriate messages some female entrepreneurs have reported with other networking applications. It will be interesting to see how this feature affects connections as Bumble Bizz matures as a professional networking app.