Successful business leaders understand the value of connecting with other leaders, sharing ideas, and learning from their peers. They are not lone wolves. They seek connection. They are constantly learning.
Great leaders don’t build walls, they build bridges. When you want to build a bridge, whether that bridge is solving a challenge or making a partnership, step one is always identifying where you want to go. When you know where you want your bridge to lead you to, you have to reach out to the other side and begin the building process. This can start with a simple relationship.
The internet has introduced a whole new world of opportunity to pursue connections with peers. It’s often the framework for your bridges. It connects you to ideas and other leaders.
Forums are a common place for this interaction. Forums are a great place to find other people seeking the same things you are: ideas, connections, networks, other perspectives, experience.
What’s a Forum?
Internet forums are a message board where ideas and views can be exchanged. Most forums are based on a central topic, and you can often find a forum for any topic you wish to discuss. Or, you can start your own forum on your topic.
Forums are different than chat rooms because they are usually based on one central topic and the messages are generally longer and contain more depth than typical chat rooms. Sometimes, you might need to request access to a forum and wait for approval, or messages might have to be approved by a moderator before it is posted.
A forum can contain many subforums which could each center on different topics. Each individual discussion on any given topic is called a thread.
Here’s a roundup of some of our recommended small business forums for you to check out.
Small Business Forums
StartupNation’s forum includes subforums covering topics like:
Startup Business Basics
Marketing, Sales, and PR
Accounting, Finance, and Funding
Doing Business On The Web
Inventing and Intellectual Property
Managing Your Business
Get Inspired, Sharing Wisdom
That’s a great selection of topics. Each topic has a few different subtopic to choose from, all which have many different threads. There are hours of reading material in there. On top of that, StartupNation has a huge social network of over 80,000 members that you can join and gain access to all that knowledge, resources, and connections.
Small Business Forums:
This one’s a classic. Small Business Forums is full of topics like:
Legal or Regulatory Issues
On of the main appeals to Small Business Forums is it’s classifieds section where you can find and hire copywriters, social media specialists, web designers and developers, and more.
First, we’ll start with Quora. It’s an incredible place for asking questions and learning from different perspectives. And it’s a very popular platform, so you never know who might answer your next question.
Do you regularly refer to yourself as a “hustler?” Do you crave cut-throat advice and brutal honesty? Then Reddit might be your new obsession. In the Entrepreneur, Small Business, and Startup threads you’ll find tons of topics, questions, opinions, and ideas to scroll through and engage with.
Don’t worry, it’s not all that cut-throat and intense. Reddit is a great place to find firsthand experience from others and have open and honest conversations about the topics you’re interested in. You never know, you might meet your next business partner in there.
The CNET Small Business and Startup Forum is like Quora where it follows the question-and-answer format. But CNET specifically focuses on tech-related issues like:
Software and Hardware for Small Business
Although, technology isn’t the only thing this forum talks about. Go check it out for yourself!
You might want to check out different LinkedIn groups that relate to business owners, entrepreneurs, or your specific industry. There are a ton of groups out there constantly engaging with each other online.
Why Should Small Businesses Use Forums?
Every successful entrepreneur knows you must never stop learning. Never stop asking great questions. Success is never about reaching a certain point, it’s about the journey. The bridge, the planning and building, the mistakes and lessons learned, the “get back up on your feet” and rebuild moments are what success is about. It’s about growth. It’s about doing what you love to do.
Small businesses especially can gain knowledge, resources, and valuable connections with forums. Take advantage of the world we live in today where we’re more connected than ever. You have the tools to achieve your dreams at your fingertips.
Do you have a favorite forum that should be added to this list? Share with us in the comments!