From finance facts and start-up stories, to the best marketing tips that have been tried and tested, whatever you need help with when it comes to business, we have a list of the best UK business forums rated below to help you find the information and people that are important to your business.
- Small Business Forum
- UK Business Forum
- Women In Business Network
- Local Business Networks
When you’re in charge of running a business or leading a team of people, it’s fair to say that sometimes, it helps to have other people to challenge, assess and support you and your ideas. Whether you work for a small business or large organisation, having the opportunity to seek advice, support, recommendations and feedback from others that are in the same boat as you can make all the difference to the smooth running and development of your business.
If there is no one to talk to at work, or if COVID is ruining your monthly networking chats with your clients, contacts and suppliers, then turning to the wealth of business forums available online is a great way to exchange ideas and find support.
Why Use A Business Forum?
If you’re the kind of person who likes to bounce ideas off others, learn from those who are experienced in the path you’re taking for the first time, or just want to check you’re on the right track, then seeking the help of like minded business professionals via a forum can be invaluable.
Gone are the days where you had to set up a face to face meeting with a business coach, attend a networking event before work to do this. Now, there are a whole host of brilliant business forums online in the UK. These are a great place to share your successes, failures, and seek advice on all manner of topics related to business.
Which Forum Should I Use?
There is no right or wrong answer to this as the forum or forums that you use will largely be determined by your likes, interests, business sector and location. Some forums are specifically targeted as small business owners, young entrepreneurs and specific industries, but there are also plenty of options to choose from for general business discussions too.
The best thing you can do is try a few of the different forums from our list of some of the best UK business forums below and see how you get on to find the right fit for you:
LinkedIn is a very well known business tool and aside from it’s social networking benefits for business, there are a plethora of business groups available that will provide brilliant opportunities for advice, answers and conversations with others on the topics that are important to you.
The groups tend to be run by administrators, some are open to anyone to join and others operate a membership only format requiring an administrator to accept you into the group. Try using the excellent search functionality to find topics that interest you such as ‘small business marketing network’ to see how you get on.
You will often see Reddit responses quoted in mainstream media as it’s known for its brutal honesty. This means you will be sure to get advice from the community of entrepreneurs that hang out here and are ready to give you advice based on their own experiences. It may not be for the faint hearted though.
If searching for the answer to a specific question or want general information around a particular topic, Reddit is a great option to find like minded people in the same boat as you who can offer their thoughts and advice to help you out.
Small Business Forum
If you like to read around topics when doing your own research, or like to help others by sharing your own knowledge on specific areas of expertise, then the Small Business Forum allows users to submit blog posts that others can comment on and have discussions. All manner of topics are covered, from starting up, marketing and sales advice to hot off the press topics such as bringing artificial intelligence into the workforce!
UK Business Forums
Aside from having questions segmented into topics for easy reading, if your business spans an international market, then the message boards on UK Business Forum provides a great place for the news, advice and tips on the issues that matter most to you. It’s also a brilliant place for those business owners looking to grow and expand their business outside of the UK. Check out the retail section for shop owner specific chats.
Every business has finance and accounting needs and in the case of many small businesses, this can fall to the business owner themselves, particularly when just starting out. The Quickbooks forum is an example of software providers providing useful resources for their customers, and community forums like these are available for nearly every software product you can think of meaning you will never be stuck wondering how to make the best use of product features specifically aimed at your business.
It is packed full of Q&A’s from Quickbook specialists and it’s customers who can share advice based on their knowledge and experience. As Quickbooks is a very popular accounting software, topics are weighted towards setting up a company properly, sales, invoicing, taxes, and accounting records, including how to use the software itself which can all be invaluable if business admin and numbers aren’t your forte. If you use any kind of CRM or finance software, have a search online for forums relating to it, you may be surprised at the value you can find.
Women In Business Network
As the name might suggest, the Women In Business Network is aimed at women looking for support and advice when it comes to business. Not only does the forum offer plenty of shared experiences and answers to your questions, there are lots of offline groups and meetings promoted too meaning you can grow and build on relationships made online in person.
Going solo and setting up a business from scratch is an exciting time but one that is full of questions.The Startups forum is the place to go for budding entrepreneurs that are looking for great articles and tips on setting up a business. Following the format of most other formats, the site is split by sector to make finding the answers you need a breeze.
If you like to be able to dip into conversations on all manner of business areas such as PR, Marketing, Accounting & Legal advice, as well as all the more general business topics that come up, then In-Business is a great place to get advice on various individual topics. Perfect for those with lots of hats when it comes to juggling all the areas of running a small business who are looking for reliable advice on a variety of topics in one place.
A long standing question and answer forum, Quora is where users can collaborate by editing questions and commenting on the answers that have been submitted. It can be a good place to get candid business advice from others but does lack official moderation. Full of first hand experience, you are bound to find somebody in the same situation as you are and one particularly beneficial feature of the site is that users can upvote particular answers which gives you an instant visual of the value an answer might have.
Local Business Forums
Always pay attention to local business networks in your area as they will also have online directories and discussion forums for virtual networking and conversations that are easily accessible to meet up in person too which might be a great opportunity for local business partnerships to flourish. Check out the chamber of commerce sites, and the British Franchise Network for opportunities.
Forums Vs Networking
The beauty of online forums is that they can be accessed any time, anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. Whether you’re an early bird or prefer to burn the midnight oil as a night owl, you can get the business input you need without the need to meet face to face, or calling your business partner at silly o’clock in the morning, which we’re sure will be appreciated!
The digital fountain of facts, knowledge and know-how available from UK business forums can be tapped into by anyone looking for support in running a business without waiting for that weekly networking session to come around. Perfect if you’ve had a midnight brainwave and want to get advice quickly without waking up your usual contacts.
The digital way of talking business is also particularly beneficial in the current climate in the UK due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. It provides a great resource for those that want to keep pushing their business forward, despite strict social distancing measures still being in place. With many people that would have previously attended face to face networking meetings now moving online, the virtual route will give you just as much encouragement and support as you would from spending time at a physical meeting.
Other Benefits Of Business Forums
Aside from the specific benefits relating to the forums summarised above, there are plenty more general benefits available to business forum users to, including;
- Business Referrals
Members of online communities like those found in forums, tend to seek out other members for the services required to run their own business. This means that hanging out online could net you a tidy amount of new business if you show up regularly and actively contribute to discussions that demonstrate your expertise in your field.
Although you may not know the individuals on the forum personally in some cases, just having that shared interest and mutual connection can provide a level of reassurance that you’re working with trustworthy suppliers and contacts when pitching for new work or looking for new suppliers.
As well as the potential to gain new business from referrals, there are usually options to promote your business in forums too. Keep an eye out for business directories where you can display contact details for you and your business and paid advertising opportunities that promote you as a recommended business in your trade. These are great ways to bring valuable traffic to your website and capture new leads.
All work and no play is never any fun, which is why the social side of forums can be just as beneficial as the business side. Business forums can provide a lovely social aspect which can be particularly beneficial if you work alone, have a very small team or are often spread out from your team physically. Being able to connect and talk with others on all manner of topics, shared humour, as well as those important conversations for your business in just a few clicks, can do wonders for our mental health and provide the boost we need when motivation is lacking!
From a simple exchange of ideas through to getting the advice you need and sharing your own experiences with others that need your help, business forums are a great way to build up your business and support other business owners.
For an easy way to connect with like minded professionals, benefit from promotion, idea sharing and referrals from the comfort of your own home, check out some of the best UK business forums as rated above.