Sometimes when you start your own business, you can feel pretty alone. There is a lot of responsibility that falls on your shoulders, and it isn’t always work you can ask others to take on. While this feeling can be isolating within the sphere of your own business, you are not alone. There are thousands of small business owners who share the same thoughts, feelings and experiences. Since they can sympathize better than most and may even have tips to overcome the same challenges you are currently experiencing, these peers can be a great resource to your business.
How do you connect with these peers? We have a few great places to begin your search. Start collaborating now and see your business improve!
Slack, a collaborative chat tool, houses many groups that could be valuable to you. Try “Online Geniuses” for feedback, business-based ideas, marketing tips and more.
Quora is a question-and-answer-based site that connects you with others who can answer your questions. Quora is an open forum where you post questions to begin a thread, which other users are free to respond to with potentially helpful tips. Search Quora with a specific question, or search by topics like “small business marketing,” “financing for small business,” etc.
Similar to Quora, Reddit is a discussion website (among other features), but with the added helpful quality of a voting feature. Users can “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” a post, which dictates the comment’s rank on the page. The more positive recognition the post receives, the higher it is ranked. The remarks help reaffirm the quality of the response by other users. Unfortunately, there is no way to be certain about the credibility of the users themselves, but the more popular the post, the more likely the votes are to be accurate — just bear the uncertainty in mind when you use that information to guide your small business decisions.
A site created for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, it’s one of the most popular among small business owners. Free to join and full of how-to articles and forums, StartUpNation is a wellspring of knowledge to many small business owners. Networking events are posted regularly, so you can take your online community connection offline as well.
The Small Business Hub
Information takes on all forms at The Small Business Hub. Users take advantage of different mediums to share information like videos, how-to articles, templates, guides and more. While the page itself doesn’t have a discussion forum, there is a Small Business Hub group to join on LinkedIn for more specific feedback and collaboration.
You may think of your Facebook page as a way to market your business or connect with friends. Think of what you can do when you combine the two! There are many groups available on Facebook for business owners. Look for groups particular to your area or your business type to get started.
An investment social network based in San Francisco, Inqora helps investors make better decision through discussions and interactions with other investors. Even if you’re not looking for an investor, it’s a good platform to see what other people are saying about your business and how you appear to potential investors (should the day come that you need one). Inqora is a good way to get unbiased feedback from an outside perspective.
If none of these communities appeal to you, don’t be afraid to make your own! It may seem intimidating at first, or you may feel unwise admitting that you don’t know something and need to reach out to others, but the truth is that there are many others out there just like you — otherwise these online communities would not exist! If you are looking for something more niche, there is sure to be some others out there looking for the same.