Regarded as one of the old timers in the recent surge of new online communities and social networking type websites, the existence of small business start-up forums still have significant value to today’s entrepreneur.
From general topics of “how to start a small business” to “does anyone know of a good freeware telephone system”, an array of topics are covered and the really beauty is that you can determine what the next topic will be.
Members of some of the better business start-up forums include lawyers, accountants, company formation agents and other professionals; people with really experience and knowledge who have a willingness to share and help others.
There are of course some limitations on what kind of questions will gain a suitable response as a business start-up forum is not the place for esoteric or other specialist legal matters for example.
Questions, topics and other mutterings must retain some aspects of general interest and information provided should retain some likelihood of being useful to the wider forum population.
That said a lot of common questions which a typical would be entrepreneur would seek answers to, such as whether a new business start trading as a sole proprietor or as a limited company, are generally covered in great details. The implications of each choice, from the administration, costs and taxation points of view are covered in depth by the relevant expert.
The moderation of most small business start-up forums results in less spam and blatant and more use information being provided.
Members, who have gained tremendous knowledge in their particular areas of expertise (perhaps surprisingly), are willing to provide detailed advice free of charge by night what they would normally charge hundreds of pounds for during their working day.
Provided obvious abuses and scavenging is kept within reasonable proportions, free professional advice and help a new business save money.
This type of guidance is different from the usual conversational tone of online communities and networks where the objectives appear to either be the hard sell routine or just discussion of a subject until the exponents become bored, sometimes before any conclusion is drawn of the subject being explored.
Business start-up forums are usually free subject to registering using a valid email address. The ethos firmly exists that everyone knows something and therefore the forum’s success lies within the willingness of all to make some form of contribution, both asking and responding to points raised.
Like many of the online communities, there is a danger of forum reaching saturation point where there are too many of them to attract a workable number of regular contributors. Posting a question to a business start-up forum with only a few active participants might result in it remaining unanswered for days, whereas raising it with one of the more vibrant websites may illicit both an immediate reply and continue to gain comments over the following days of even weeks.
For those thinking of starting up or those who have recently done so, it is certainly worth considering joining a business forum to expand your knowledge and gain free help in the many issues you will face.