Small business owners, by the very nature of running a small business, don’t have the luxury of a big network of like-minded professionals. Everyone has their own niche, interests, or business plan—so where can you turn for advice, business loan help, feedback, and even commiseration?
Whether you’re just starting a business or growing it into its next stage, you’d benefit from having somewhere to discuss issues and find solutions. Why waste your time reinventing the wheel? You’ve got the next best thing up ahead.
The Internet is a great resource to find small business forums specifically aimed towards young entrepreneurs and business owners around the world. And with a wide range of industries and interests, you’re sure to find a forum for almost any business-related topic—from taking out small business loans to choosing the right business credit card.
These small business forums can be a great way to fill the gaps of your knowledge, get or give expert advice, and enjoy a sense of community—so that you don’t feel like you’re all alone as you set out to make the world a better place.
Here are 23 of the best small business forums:
Small Business Forum is a site where small business owners can submit blog posts and others can comment on the posts and have discussions. The posts range from various small business topics to marketing and sales advice. They even tackle timely issues like the introduction of artificial intelligence into the workforce.
While not exclusively for small business owners, Quora lets users ask questions on virtually any business-related topic—and every “best answer” has been voted on. Social Media Examiner recommends using Quora selectively, however, as it can act as a self-promotion platform on occasion. But if you target your search, it’s a good opportunity to connect with experts, find up-to-date blog topics, and network with others in your industry.
Small Business Forum.net is an active message board that offers sections on starting a small business, managing a business, accounting and taxes, payroll and human resources, financing, and more. While there is a heavy online marketing presence, there’s also a section on traditional marketing.
The BizWarriors forum is an excellent resource for connecting with other entrepreneurs or business leaders. Business owners can access information generally about planning, starting, and financing a small business—but you can also find information specifically tailored to sales, accounting and finance, human resources, and legal advice.
The Small Business Brief message board style forum touts itself as “a friendly place to share small business ideas and knowledge, ask questions, find help, and encourage others that are involved in the small business industry.” It offers advice and guidance on many aspects of operating a small business—especially online—including email marketing, link building, social media management, and pay-per-click advertising.
The CNET Small Business and Startups Forum follows a question-and-answer format about technology-related issues, and you can submit your own question or browse through similar topics and threads. It features a wide variety of discussions on operating systems, software and hardware for small businesses, and mobile devices.
The Small Business Computing and Ecommerce Forum deals mostly with computers and technology, as well as ecommerce issues that impact small businesses.
Some small business forums are industry-specific, like ChefTalk, which focuses on the restaurant industry. While the name implies it only pertains to chef’s, the forum on the site actually has sections for many people in the food industry. There are general discussion boards, equipment review discussions, and even discussions specifically for culinary students looking to get into the business.
The QuickBooks Online Community forum is a question-and-answer based community operated by both experts from QuickBooks and customers who are willing to help by sharing their business experiences and solutions. Topics include setting up a company, accounting, sales, dealing with vendors, taxes, and running reports.
The Practical Machinist is a popular virtual bulletin board, claiming to be the “largest manufacturing technology forum on the web” and offering practical advice from other members about business operations, shop management, and owner issues. Besides the forum, this site also has articles and videos on related topics.
While the Warrior Forum is primarily for Internet-based businesses, it’s still a great place for online conversations with other entrepreneurs interested in Internet marketing. Calling themselves warriors, the members here are very open about sharing both their successes and their failures. This site also contains blogs, social groups, and a marketplace where you can advertise your relevant high-quality products.
The Bank of America small business forum offers “expert insights, insider tips, and the industry knowledge you need to see your business grow.” In addition to offering a variety of message boards, Bank of America also provides information in the forum’s resource center relevant to small businesses owners, like self-financing, building credit, and credit lines vs. business credit cards.
The Business Advice Forum is a business and webmaster forum that allows you to make introductions, ask questions, and get advice on topics related to business property, HR, legal issues, business planning, finance, and accounting. The message threads are primarily about online businesses.
The UK Business Forums is a U.K.-based message board offering news and advice for those engaging in international business. For small business owners looking to expand beyond their borders, this forum is a treasure trove of information—plus opportunities to connect with small business owners who have global perspectives.
The StartupNation Community platform is meant to help entrepreneurs in the startup and the small business community. You can easily search a keyword for something you’re interested in learning about and see the existing discussions related to that term. You simply have to register with the site to take part in the discussions or post your own questions.
LinkedIn Groups are a little different from typical message boards, but still provide exceptional opportunities for professionals to get advice, find answers, and network with other small business owners. Each group runs and operates a little autonomously, so some are open and anyone can join, while others are membership-only and you must be accepted by the group manager. The closed groups tend to be more strictly focused on a particular topic. A few of the popular groups include: Bright Ideas & Entrepreneurs, Linked Small Business Innovators, Small Business Marketing Network and more.
To search for groups on LinkedIn, first log in to your profile and then search the group you’re looking for in the top search bar and hit enter, then filter the results by clicking “More” and selecting “Groups” from the dropdown menu.
The Creative COW business and marketing forum is ideal for those in creative spaces. In addition to a wide range of advice from shared office environments to marketing, this site has tutorials, podcasts, and a job board.
Alignable is a forum that makes it easy to meet other local business owners, encourage customer referrals among each other, and get answers and advice from experts. Because this small business forum is built on relationships, Alignable includes a section for “Member Stories,” and you can also scan your current contacts to find out if any of them are also small business owners on the site.
Reddit can be useful for a number of different small business questions you might have. There are various subreddits for specific topics like the entrepreneur page, the r/small business page, the startup page, and more. You’ll find people sharing their successes and failures, sharing advice, and asking questions.
This forum, Startup Nation, is for entrepreneurs who are looking to have discussions to share tips and get advice when it comes to small businesses. There are pages where businesses owners can discuss everything from outsourcing to marketing and inspiration. They also have exclusive content for members who sign up including video content and a newsletter.
This Flying Solo forum is a community of people offering support for micro and small business owners and those owners looking for and offering advice. More than 120,000 people use the site to be part of the community, though it is based in Australia. Users on the forum discuss everything from when they check their email or when they wake up in the morning to asking for feedback on their websites.
This platform is for entrepreneurs around the world to discuss business topics with other entrepreneurs. People using The Fastlane Forum take part in general discussions, ask for book recommendations, advice on freelancing and more. The forum was created around two books by the author MJ DeMarco, “The Unscripted Entrepreneurial Framework” and “Unscripted.”
This network is designed for women to share their experiences and their questions or advice when it comes to business. Members can post to the Women in Business Network site and all women in business can find groups or meetings in their area, though it is restricted to the United Kingdom for in-person events. The forum part of the site has posts primarily from the Women In Business Network and from its members.
Meredith Wood is the founding editor of the Fundera Ledger and a vice president at Fundera.
Meredith launched the Fundera Ledger in 2014. She has specialized in financial advice for small business owners for almost a decade. Meredith is frequently sought out for her expertise in small business lending and financial management.