3 Ways to Connect With Entrepreneurs Online
Forums aren't just for gamers and new parents anymore. Over the past decade, these meetings of online minds have become the perfect opportunity for networking, connecting with others in the same community, getting help and even sharing and tweaking strategies.
Every day, more and more online forums are popping up, covering everything from the pitfalls of being a plumber to starting your own business.
In the past, entrepreneurs had to go it alone and rely on whatever advice they could get from successful people they met. With forums now available all over the web, you don't have to wait to bump into the next Bill Gates to share ideas, ask questions and make some connections. Check out the three hottest places to meet and interact with fellow entrepreneurs on the net right now so you won’t be left out in the industry cold.
Founded by young entrepreneur Oliver Kenyon, EntrepreneurFix is a sleek, easy-to-navigate forum that is certainly hot right now. The main board is divided into four main sections: work, play, business and general. This design gives members the ability to go exactly where they want to when they first hit the website, whether their aim is to ask a serious question about hiring staff or blow off some steam talking about their favorite car or wine.
"Work" is where the magic happens. There, members can discuss with other entrepreneurs everything from general business and marketing to legal matters and new business ideas. "Play" is exactly what it sounds like, with sub-forums for real estate, travel and even arts and entertainment. In "Business," you can showcase your companies and products; there's even a "Buy, Sell or Trade" sub-forum if you want to sell or exchange your products or services with other forum members -- or buy from them.
A distinct advantage of EntreprenuerFix is how well it connects you with other entrepreneurs of the same mind. You can interact, exchange tips and discuss experiences with other people who are or have been on the same path as you. With all of the sub-forums and the simple, visually appealing interface, EntrepreneurFix.com is absolutely the entrepreneur forum to watch.
2. Startup Nation
Started back in 2002 by experienced business owners Rich and Jeff Sloan, StartupNation is a bustling forum for those both new and old to entrepreneurship. The forum interface is neat and clean, but where Startup Nation really shines is its myriad of content. From blogs to a radio show hosted by the Sloans, this website offers a little bit of everything for current and future entrepreneurs.
In the forum section, you'll find nine main categories. "Marketing, Sales & PR" is only divided into three subtopics, so you might need to do a little digging for certain topics. "Startup Business Basics" is cleanly subdivided into planning and selection areas, with a "Grab Bag" thread for everything else. "Money" covers business funding, while "Doing Business on the Web" touches on some Internet business topics. There are also dedicated areas for discussions on intellectual property, business management and entrepreneur-to-entrepreneur connections.
Startup Nation is a solid resource worth visiting. Since its focus is on an overall content experience, some of the forum categories, however, aren't as divided as well as they could be for the user experience.
3. Meet Up
Scott Heiferman and Matt Meeker's Meetup.com is a social network platform dedicated to facilitating the meeting of groups that share a common interest offline. On Meetup, you'll find various groups dedicated to specific industries, business topics and entrepreneurship in general; and some of these meetings might just be taking place right in your very own backyard. You can easily connect with other entrepreneurs around you, providing you with an invaluable network and learning opportunity.
Meetup's website design is very simple. You can look for groups in your area by city or start a group of your own for other people to find and join. You can also search by categories under "Career & Business," once you've narrowed down the area.
While Meetup is great for connecting with other entrepreneurs in your community, it's not solely business-focused and doesn't offer any other content.
An entrepreneur forum is a great way to quickly connect with other people who own their own business, and you’ll probably find some people who are even in your industry. While forum advice is not a complete substitute when it comes to legal and financial matters, you can still get valuable, accurate information. This will point you in the right direction and position you to learn from more experienced, successful people.
Meetup is great for people who want to network locally, while Startup Nation provides a supportive learning environment. Oliver Kenyon's fast-growing EntrepreneurFix is a mix of everything that is perfect for entrepreneurs no matter what path they wish to take.
Join a forum today to tap into its many benefits at no cost to you. Nowadays, you've got a wealth of information at your fingertips, so all you have to do is go to the right place to find it. Please tell us about your favorite forums or other ways to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs in the comments section below.