Participating in a small business forum can be a great way to garner advice and a sense of community from other entrepreneurs.
Whether you’re a new business owner looking for a business start-up forum or someone who’s been in the game for a while and wants to be a part of a general business forum, we have recommendations for you.
Here are 12 of the top online business opportunity and advice forums.
Why Turn to Small Business Forums?
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.
1. Reddit: r/smallbusiness
The sprawling, popular site has several free business message boards devoted to business topics, such as r/entreprenuer and r/startup. If you want a specific small business forum, you couldn’t do better than the r/smallbusiness community. You’ll find message threads covering myriad topics from web hosting for your eCommerce store, recommendations for inventory software, handling demanding customers and setting up an LLC with a partner.
The r/smallbusiness subreddit has about 565,000 members, creating a large community to offer advice.
BizWarriors offers a broad array of general business advice. However, it does feature an active accounting and finance forum. It also has a board with advice and resources for business owners grappling with changes and challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 forum warriors may have the answers you seek.
3. StartupNation Community Business Forums
The StartupNation Community discusses everything about running a small business — from the basics of launching a company to qualifying for a loan to eCommerce efforts. In addition to the general business forum topics, the community offers boards that cover success stories, inspiration and wellness.
Some subforums target specific demographics, such as women in business, veterans and millennials for entrepreneurs looking to meet others in similar shoes.
4. Warrior Forum
Warrior Forum’s focus is mainly on Internet marketing. Visitors can read advice, share their thoughts or read the community’s take on topics, including improving Google search results rankings, which backlinks are more valuable to your website and monetizing YouTube channels. If you’re looking for online forums for entrepreneurs, you might like Warrior Forum for its down-to-earth discussions and frank advice.
5. Small Business Computing & E-Commerce Forums
The Small Business Computing & E-Commerce Forums helps its members to “make smart technology decisions.” Users engage in discussions on topics like solving technical issues on websites and handling online security, ecommerce and search engine optimization. If you need a break from the chatter on the business forum, the “Executive Lounge” offers discussions on pets, gaming and health.
6. The Fastlane Forum
This is an entrepreneur forum where users share business ideas, success stories and setbacks as well as off-topic lifestyle discussions. The Fastlane Forum is organized around the concept of the CENTS Business Commandments that are covered in the books “Millionaire Fastlane” and “UNSCRIPTED” by MJ DeMarco. CENTS — which stands for Control, Entry, Need, Time and Scale — is purported to assess the “veracity of your business idea or opportunity,” according to this online business opportunities forum.
While some users will post specific, technical questions, the more popular threads trend toward personal stories, hypothetical questions and philosophies about entrepreneurship.
7. QuickBooks Online Community
This is more of a niche message board compared to other small business forums online. If you use Intuit’s QuickBooks as the accounting software for your small business, you can ask questions about the program or accounting issues that arise. 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.
8. Business Advice Forum
The Business Advice Forum is a general business forum that hones in on all things related to running a business. If you have accounting questions, you can find a finance forum. Marketing quandary? There’s a thread on social media. There’s also a “technical support” forum for your hardware- and software-related questions.
Quora is a user-edited question-and-answer website that covers various topics. The format isn’t like a traditional small business forum; as G2 notes, it’s more like a cross between social media and a search engine. You can sign up with your email, follow topics you’re interested in, ask and answer questions and upvote answers. The “best” answer will move to the top of the responses queue. While you might not get involved in discussions the way you would on other free business message boards, Quora is a great way to find specific information and connect with other users.
This business forum is specifically for people working in professional food services. There are message boards for chefs as well as catering services. Contribute to or review threads about the best software for calculating food costs, cloud kitchen rates and even recipes and kitchen utensil recommendations.
11. Practical Machinist
With the tagline, “The largest manufacturing technology community on the web,” Practical Machinist is the small business forum for anyone working in the manufacturing sector. The free business message boards cover machining, robots and automation, shop management and global manufacturing’s effects. Some boards have tens of thousands of topics, so the discussions are robust — a plus if you’re interested in exploring various aspects of the manufacturing industry.
12. LinkedIn Groups
When you create your LinkedIn profile, you can join various online forums for entrepreneurs, other professional groups or even alumni groups. You can immediately join some groups, but other groups grant membership only upon request. Participating in these discussion groups can help cement networking connections you make on LinkedIn.