Every entrepreneur and small business owner needs a little help now and then. Google+ Communities is the perfect place to find mentors, get advice and network with others who are trying to get their own startups going. Here are 31 of the best.
Venture Capital Communities
Have you heard the phrase, “See one, do one, teach one?” The idea is that you learn a skill from someone else, try it yourself, and then learn even more by showing someone else how to do it. Be a mentor with VC4Africa and you can do just that. This community can put you in touch with a budding entrepreneur in Africa. Sharing your new knowledge with someone across the globe will help you become a better entrepreneur.
This community is the place to go to learn about crowd funding, angel investors and venture capital in general. Members offer advice, ask questions and help each other figure out how to fund their unique businesses.
This community isn’t for startup entrepreneurs—it’s for investors interested in contributing funding to new ventures. While you won’t join this community as a member, it’s definitely worthwhile to pop in occasionally and see what’s going on in the world of venture capitalists. They post content and information about events and conferences around a variety of business niches.
Communities for Startups in Specific Locations
A community for new business entrepreneurs in London. Members can get feedback about their ideas from other members, post and read helpful content and engage in discussion. Startup London takes the Google+ Community idea even further—members post about local business-related events in London and meet up in person for more networking opportunities.
For New Yorkers
For those Big Apple residents starting new endeavors, Startup NYC is a great community to learn everything about entrepreneurship and business in the big city. It can be hard to meet people in this city of over 8 million people—Startup NYC will introduce you to like-minded entrepreneurs facing the same challenges as you. Local events are listed here, too.
This community, created specifically for new entrepreneurs in Berlin, Germany is an active space with lots of back-and-forth dialogue. The community asks that members post in English—members originate from many countries around the world.
Brazilian entrepreneurs will find a vibrant community here. Business owners and those wanting to start a business contribute content, tips and let members know about events. The community hosts its own networking events, too.
For Small Biz in the UK
This community is more of a discussion board than content offerings, but can still be helpful for small biz and self-employed folks living and working in the UK. Strict rules regarding spammy posts and trolling.
Communities for Startups in Every Location
This small but growing community is open to everyone who has something of value to share. Whether you’re a new business owner, in the planning stages or your business, or an experienced old-timer, you’re invited to post content, advice, questions and events. Members live all over the world.
Budding entrepreneurs all over the world contribute to this community. You’ll find members sharing plenty of great content and reporting about conferences in cities far from you: everywhere from Cedar City, Utah to Rio de janeiro. Startup Weekend also hosts occasional contests.
A loosely-organized, largish community of folks just starting out. Lots of content-sharing here, tons of friendly faces and a wee bit of self-promotion. A great community for newbies to cut their teeth on.
Tech and Online Business Communities
This community is hosted by ci&T; a company specializing in lean IT and outsourcing for businesses. You’ll find mostly ci&T execs posting on this community, but everyone is invited to participate. The focus of the community is mainly concerned with IT, but other aspects of entrepreneurship are sprinkled in.
“Silicon Valley” says it all—this community is absolutely focused on entrepreneurs interested in building apps and developing other technology-related products. You’ll find contributors involved with Android, iOS, WordPress, Facebook, etc.
Specifically for Internet entrepreneurs, this large community offers plenty of content sharing, advice and information. Community members hail from every corner of the globe, but are asked to post in English
This incubator community is based in NYC and offers info from some of the greatest innovators in technology. Regular podcasts and “lab sessions” take entrepreneurs by the hand and guide and offer valuable advice from industry giants. In addition, members share presentations, content and ask for advice from others.
Created specifically for new online business owners, this community has members who are dedicated to offering content that actually offers relevant advice. Posts are organized into categories that include: General Business Tips, Online Marketing, Management, Design, Tools of the Trade and Intros/Promotion.
Communities About Entrepreneurship
This large community focuses on a range of topics and conveniently separates posts into each category. Topics include: Self Employment, Marketing, Finance, Incubation and Feedback (plus a special category for introducing yourself, keeping those, “Hi, I’m Brenda” posts separated from real information). The community is closely moderated and does not allow self-promotion.
Hosted by Entrepreneur.com, the community members here offer tons of great information and all varieties of content (plenty of podcasts and video in addition to written content). Contributors from many different places, but most posts are in English.
A little bit of something for everyone. This community is organized into 20 different categories—everything from legal issues to marketing. It’s a large community (well over 15,000 members), so expect a variety of advice—some very relevant, some not as much.
Hosted by EFactor.com, this smallish community has tons of contributions, mostly from EFactor.com itself. It’s relevant, interesting content, though, and well worth your time.
A community with an academic flair, Social Enterprise Collaborative is hosted by DePaul University in Chicago. You’ll find lots of internship postings, studies and networking opportunities, all focused on social responsibility entrepreneurship.
Communities for Women Entrepreneurs
A small community geared toward female entrepreneurs. Lots of legit content sharing and helpful advice, organized into categories. One category, “I need…” is helpful for those needing (and providing) advice. No self-promotion allowed on this community—just learning, helping and giving.
A mix of women entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurship, this community is focused on giving to the community of women small biz owners, coaches, authors and any woman who feels that sharing and mentoring are an important facet of the entrepreneurship experience. Lots and lots of great online networking going on in this community.
Small Business Communities
A decent-sized community full of a diverse group of small biz owners. The community is open to everyone, but has specific rules for self-promotion (posting in a self-promo section). A great place to collaborate with others and get advice.
Focusing on webinars, online marketing and social media, this small biz community is a hybrid of small biz info and Internet biz info. If your small biz needs some help with its online components, this is the place to be.
A community focusing on all aspects of small biz. You’ll find separate sections for posting/learning about brick-and-mortar biz, online biz, marketing, legal issues, etc.
Community-focused, offering content from large companies, business owners and mentors. The community has strict standards that ensure that every member submits relevant content, so you’ll find high-quality stuff here.
It’s just what you think it is—a community focused on social media, mobile marketing and buy local. Helpfully organized into tons of categories from blogging to websites to analytics and more. The community has specific guidelines to keep posters offering legit, helpful content.
A super-comprehensive community offering advice and content on 19 topics, organized into categories. You’ll find SEO, IT Support, Web Dev and even helpful case studies.
A community centered around creating effective social media marketing for your small business. Separate categories for each social media platform: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube, plus a few more topics.
Based in Sacramento, this community focuses on SEO and social media strategies. You’ll see posts from industry experts and newbies alike, but most offer relevant content and helpful advice.
Get Going with Google+ Communities
Getting involved with Google+ Communities will help you grow your business, offer you the chance to help and mentor others and give you a voice in the world of entrepreneurship. Choose a few communities and start participating, but don’t be tempted to join too many—you’ll get the most out of the experience by participating frequently on a few select communities that most closely reflect your own niche.
Nelson James is COO and Co-Founder of Signs.com. Signs.com produces custom banners and signage for small businesses and other customers seeking a custom signage solution. Nelson also previously helped grow small businesses including his time as VP at Lendio and Co-Founder and President of SEO.com
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