SCORE Small Business Blog

Growing: 18 Online Communities, Forums and Social Networking Websites for Entrepreneurs
16 Comments

The latest place to network or interact with others for business is online.  Here’s an alphabetical list of business-related forums, online communities and social networking websites:

Biznik “The business networking community where collaboration beats competition.” The tagline is “business networking that doesn’t suck.” Their approach is aimed more at entrepreneurs and business owners than employees looking for a job. Has different communities for major cities in the U.S. http://www.biznik.com/

Cofoundr is a private community for entrepreneurs. It “helps members find co-founders, as well as to build teams and network with other entrepreneurs.” http://www.cofoundr.com/

Ecademy “a social network for business people founded in 1998 now with over 150,000 member profiles worldwide. It is unique as business people connect both online on the web site and offline at events and 1-2-1 meetings.” http://www.ecademy.com/

Ideablob.com “where entrepreneurs and small business owners can share and grow their business ideas – and have a chance to win $10,000 towards fulfilling them.” http://www.ideablob.com/

Linkedin.com is “a place to find and leverage professional opportunities, now and throughout your career. There are already 13 million professionals in the LinkedIn Network and that number is growing fast. LinkedIn is an irreplaceable resource for building your professional relationships and achieving your goals. Locating connections is as easy as a simple lookup for employees listed under any businesses you worked for.” http://www.linkedin.com/ Related posts: Linkedin Epiphany: Getting Fast Answers to a Biz Question. and Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile

Naymz Its tagline is “empowering reputable professionals.” They say: “There is little that is as important as your good name. The importance of your name and online reputation is steadily increasing as more and more people flock to the Web. Naymz is an innovative Reputation Network that lets you establish and promote your good name online.” http://www.naymz.com/

Online Community Small Business Community Forum “This interactive and open portal is intended to serve as a resource to support and assist small businesses.” http://www.smallbusinessforums.org/

OPEN Forum by American Express “Swap ideas, find expertise, and access resources, to help grow your business.” http://community.openforum.com/category.jspa?categoryID=3

PartnerUp is “dedicated to helping entrepreneurs find joint venture partners, co-founders, executives, and board members.” You can either post your opportunity or search the listings placed by other entrepreneurs. There are networking capabilities through forums and an Ask a Question feature. http://www.partnerup.com/

Ryze “helps people make connections and grow their networks. You can network to grow your business, build your career and life, find a job and make sales. Or just keep in touch with friends. Members get a free networking-oriented home page and can send messages to other members. They can also join special Networks related to their industry, interests or location. More than 1,000 organizations host Networks on Ryze to help their members interact with each other and grow their organizations.” http://www.ryze.com/

Small Business Forum Opportunity World Magazine’s small business forum. http://www.small-business-forum.com/

Small Business Ideas Forum “A friendly place to share small business ideas & knowledge, ask questions & find help and encourage others that are involved in the small business industry.” Topics include small business marketing, generating revenue and small business computing. http://www.smallbusinessbrief.com/forum.

Small Business Online Community “allows small business to exchange ideas and information, and benefit from the experience of others.” See a description in my Small Networking Site for Small Biz. http://www.smallbusinessonlinecommunity.bankofamerica.com/

Startup Nation Community “an online community of entrepreneurs to research, rate, and review funding sources worldwide.” A community site for entrepreneurs that includes networking aspects. http://www.startupnation.com.

TheFunded “an online community of entrepreneurs to research, rate, and review funding sources worldwide.” http://www.thefunded.com/

Upspring “aims to provide businesses with an opportunity to increase exposure and attract more customers.” http://www.upspring.com/

Wall Street Journal Community “a marketplace of ideas for Wall Street Journal readers. Exchange opinions, ideas and tips on subjects ranging from the economy to the business of life.” http://online.wsj.com/community

Xing “powers relationships for the world’s business professionals.” http://www.xing.com

Local business networks are too numerous to mention here. As an example, Roundpeg provided me with one useful to her: http://www.smallerindiana.com/.

Related post: Linkedin and Business Networking Websites: Intro, Video and Links.

Eight Secrets for Effective Online Networking TechSoup, written for nonprofits, but substantive.

Did I miss your favorite site or community? Why not let me know with a comment?

-Peg Corwin, SCORE Chicago
View more posts by Peg

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Discussion (16) Comment


  1. elenavlanierVisitor

    Thanks a lot for this ncredible list very helpful for get ideas, share comments and help each other!


  2. TonyBVisitor

    Hi Everyone,
    I have a carpet cleaning business in Houston,TX that was doing pretty good until the economy went bad, and with it my clientele. I have a website for the business but I dont
    know what I have to do the get it to show up in a search. Right now it’s somewhere in the yahoo/google netherworld (LOL).

    Is there someone on here that can give me some insight or know of anyone that coud give me insight on how I can get my local website on the front
    page of a Yahoo or Google search to increase my business without it costing me 5 or 10k $$$? If so please share with me.

    I thank you and my hungry over-eating children thank you.

    thanks,


  3. SeaseWefReagsVisitor

    I am here at a forum newcomer. Until I read and deal with the forum.
    Let’s learn!


  4. estisseVisitor

    Hi. I regularly be familiar with this forum. This is the oldest period unqualified to ask a query.
    How multifarious in this forum are references Nautical port behind, disingenuous users?
    Can I worthiness all the advice that there is?


  5. MikeVisitor

    Another great networking site that focuses primarily on exchanging referrals and managing referral network relationships is called Referral Key.


  6. JanVisitor

    Very good list. I find for men, that LinkedIn is their domain and used heavily by them. Plaxo just annoys me. (personal opinion). One for women in business that I came across might be worth consider is http://www.w2wlink.com I joined a Network Circle and can see benefit to this form or networking. Speaking of LinkedIn, they have a w2wlink.com Group there as well.


  7. Peggy DuncanVisitor

    For a list and description of all the social networks, visit http://www.go2web20.net/


  8. carlVisitor

    My experience with linkedIn wasn’t favorable. When I joined them they didn’t have groups and there weren’t a lot of members. Maybe I will give them a try again. There are so many places to try; some are good and others not so good. Some might work well for you and not for me and vice versa. The point is at least give it a try you don’t have anything to loose but time. There is a site that I’m fond of – flupo.com. I don’t get a lot of work out of it but the people are very nice helpful.


  9. DavidVisitor

    Considering that there are now so many social networks catering to such a wide range of niches, my biggest problem is finding ones relevant to me and related to my specific interests or product niches. Google seems to be inefficient and returns alot of irrelevant results. A good resource that I use to find them is this search engine for social networks called FindASocialNetwork.com


  10. Lara FeltinVisitor

    Stacey’s right on about participation. As Woody Allen said, “90% of success is showing up.” This adage applies to online social networking more than ever. A book I recently picked up – Now Is Gone – mentions this too. The author Geoff Livingston says that, “Marketing is participation.”

    I am the co-founder of Biznik included in the list above. What makes Biznik unique is that it’s a hybrid between an online social network and face-to-face educational and networking events. We don’t pretend to know how everyone should or wants to meet each other, so we created a tool for our members to host their own face-to-face networking or educational events. As long as it’s relevant to business, less than 5% self-promotional, and intended for the Biznik community, we’ll list the event in the calendar. This gets small business people meeting each other face-to-face, while the web site supports the relationships that are formed there.

    @Carl – That’s how Biznik is different from LinkedIN. Because many people are choosing to meet each other regularly face-to-face, they’re very responsive to one another and there’s a true community vibe.

    We are three years old and have over 7500 members in the Seattle area where we started, but members in other cities and countries bring the total community up to 17,000 and we’re rapidly growing.

  11. I couldn’t agree more, Stacey. Thanks for the comment.


  12. StaceyVisitor

    You have to have a plan of attack when you tackle online networking. It’s like any other aspect of one’s business You have to strategically plan for what you want and know what you intend to achieve so that you know how to get there. It’s very similar to networking offline. Participate in their events, comment on their blogs, post answers to questions in their forums, help out, let them get familiar with you. Become a leader AND someone who can be a referral source for them, as well. It’s about reciprocity, not just what they can do for you. Give and you get. Trust me, it works, but you have to be patient. If you’re looking for instant success, self-employment is not the way to go. It takes work!

  13. Stacey, Carl and Benjamin all have different experiences with online communities/social networks for business. I think Stacey’s point about joining groups within the network to give others in the community something to share and a reason to trust you is excellent. To Carl, I suggest that you might want to explore other communities, maybe those in your business niche. Thanks to all three of you for responding.


  14. Stacey MathisVisitor

    Also, if a group you belong to offline or online has a presence in one of these communities, it is always a good idea to become a member of your group within that community. People tend to be more receptive to others (who they can’t see) when they have other business/social things in common. For instance, on linked.com, I belong to several other of my off and online groups that have a presence there, and this has significantly facilitated the networking process.


  15. carlVisitor

    I find linkedin .com not a good place for me . I do belong to it but thats it . it hasn”t help me with my business at all and try to find anything i have to be there all day looking for it and you ask a question they answer you 7 days later or never do
    i my self would not recormentd them sorry


  16. benjacjmenVisitor

    I was a little nervous about this idea at first. The fastest growing franchise this month, after all, can be old news by next month.but I found great updates .Thanks!!

 

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