Want to expand your business but have specific issues that you can’t quite figure out on your own? A small business forum may have just the information you need to move ahead.
These communities are focused on all matters small business. Members help each other become better executives by sharing their wisdom and know-how. Many community members are well versed in the ins and outs of running a small business. Plus, an online forum is a great way to swap stories from the front lines as well as share your entrepreneurial insight.
Why Turn to Small Business Forums?
Forums are online message boards rather than chat rooms, meaning the posts live forever (virtually speaking) and you can refer to them at a later date. Experts and novices alike visit forums to ask questions and generate answers drawing from their experiences.
As a small business owner, it’s beneficial to connect with other entrepreneurs to generate ideas, discuss problems and even create partnerships. Sometimes it’s difficult to build these connections in real-time, which makes online forums a great alternative.
Running a small business is a popular topic for online forums — and there are many dedicated to precisely that. Check out the 10 best small business forums on the web.
Small Business Finance Forums
Thinking about the money side of your business might make your brain hurt. Thankfully, you’re in luck: There are a number of sites dedicated to answering all of these headache-inducing questions.
This forum focuses on the finance, banking, taxes, and legal aid side of things. Register to ask questions, provide answers or browse the many active posts. One subforum on taking out a small business loan has more than 100 replies. Are you by chance interested in Bitcoin for your business? There’s a subforum for that.
BizWarriors offers more general business advice but features an active section dedicated to finance and banking. Wondering what software you should use for invoicing? Should you hire an accountant before tax season or track sales yourself and then pass the information on? These business warriors may have the answers you seek.
Small Business Ideas Forums
Sometimes you need a bit of inspiration. It may help to read about the success stories of other small business owners or learn about innovative solutions. Register for one of these idea-inspiring small business advice forums:
First, the good news: The Startup Nation Community discusses everything about running a small business — from the basics of launching a company to qualifying for a loan to e-commerce efforts.
Now, the great news: This forum has more than 100,000 members. Some subforums target specific demographics, such as women in business, veterans and millennials for anyone looking to meet others in similar shoes.
4. Small Business Ideas Forum
The Small Business Brief’s Ideas Forum is full of helpful advice, whether you need to know more about marketing your business better, generating more revenue or learning how others got their start.
You can join in with your questions or spend time browsing the already active subforums with more than 163,000 posts. Plus, this forum also has more than 100,000 members.
Small Business Software Forums
Selecting the right software to help you manage and expand your business can be a challenge. But turning to others who have gone through the process can be a big help. If you need a second opinion before choosing your software, take a look at one of these forums:
This is an excellent resource for finding technical solutions to the problems you face when owning your own business. The forum contains more than 1,800 discussions that span from topics like cloud storage to mobile app platform ratings.
The Small Business Computing and Ecommerce Forum helps its members to “make smart technology decisions.” Nearly 20,000 users engage in discussions on topics like solving technical issues on websites and handling online security.
Small Business Accounting Forums
Accounting often can be the most dreaded task of running a small business. Making money is great, but tracking cash can be challenging. These small business accounting forums are here to help:
7. QuickBooks Online Community
Even if you don’t use Intuit’s QuickBooks as the accounting software for your small business, you still can get a lot out of this community. The motto here is “working for yourself doesn’t mean you have to work by yourself.” The subtopics cover subjects such as advanced accounting, banking and sales.
The Business Advice Forum hones in on all things related to running a business, including accounting and taxes. You’ll be able to find the answers to your most crucial accounting questions, such as “Should I hire an accountant?” or “How do I fill out my W-9 form correctly?”
Small Business Forums Run by Corporations
Institutions create online forums to help their members assist each other with their businesses. These free corporation-driven platforms thrive as places to share and learn from each other, and the discussions can be engaging and useful for small business owners.
Bank of America operates a small business forum that discusses a range of small business topics, such as how to generate leads or how to use search engine optimization to increase your search rankings. And you don’t need to be a Bank of America account holder to access the forum. One thing to note: The forum is intended to draw small business clients to the financing packages offered by the financial institution.
American Express runs the OPEN Forum, and it operates differently than the others on this list: It’s more like a curated blog than an online discussion platform. But the site is filled with useful advice written by small business experts who may have the answers to your most burning questions. You don’t need to be an American Express cardholder to join, but you get bonus features if you are.
Just because you’re a solo act, running your business doesn’t mean you have to go it alone on every challenge. Use these small business forums to your advantage. Becoming a member of one or more of these online communities can provide you a convenient outlet for advice and inspiration.