One of the things I love about working at VerticalResponse is the incredible group of talented and experienced colleagues. I came from a very small company where I was in charge of sales, marketing and product management. I wasn’t leading those teams – I was those teams! It was great to have so much responsibility, but if I needed advice or someone to bounce ideas off of, I was pretty much on my own. At VerticalResponse, we have such a deep pool of small business expertise that there’s always someone who can brainstorm ideas or provide a sanity check.

As a small business owner, you may sometimes feel like you’re on an island all by yourself. There are many sites that have
helpful articles and small business tips (like the VerticalResponse Marketing Blog and our new favorite, Skadeedle) but who can you go to when you need some small business advice? Where can you interact with other business owners?

The good news is there are others in your boat. While no one knows your business like you do, it’s likely other small business owners have faced some of the very same challenges and opportunities as you. There are many business resources online where you can interact with fellow entrepreneurs to get targeted small business advice.

Take a look at these virtual water coolers:

  • Startup Nation. While you may not be looking for funding or dreaming of an IPO, there’s still an abundance of relevant and helpful info here. Whatever your specific situation, with over 130,000 members, there’s sure to be someone who has walked in your shoes.

The forums are well organized and easy to navigate. You can browse the topics you’d expect to find about starting and running a business, plus sections for “Like-Minded People,” “Sharing Wisdom” and “Coffee Break,” because who doesn’t need a little fun in their day?

  • Small Business Forum. This is a pretty active discussion space with sections for discussing the basics like starting and managing your business, plus some more advanced topics like blogging and website design.
  • Social Media Examiner. You know you should be on social media, and you’ve even read some articles on how to get started. But you still have questions. Never fear! Social Media Examiner has a forum just for you! Chat with others who are building their social media strategies, or get advice from the pros.
  • If you’re on LinkedIn (and you are, right?) there are several groups dedicated to small businesses. These groups have a nice blend of business resources links and open discussions. If you don’t see your question being addressed, start a new discussion! Here are a few of our favorites:

You don’t have to go it alone! If you have questions, need advice, or just want someone to listen for a minute, give online forums a try.

Where do you turn when you need advice? Let us know in the comments.

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