If you're an entrepreneur, it's time to get social
If you're thinking of starting a business, you might want to connect with other entrepreneurs to make sure you're on the right page. These social networks will help.
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Whether you're creating the next Facebook or you have a patent on three-tiered umbrellas, you're an entrepreneur. But finding funding for your idea, getting some advice, or even just talking to people in your same situation can be difficult. Social networks designed specifically for entrepreneurs aim to help you achieve your goals. Check them out.
Go social, entrepreneur
Cofoundr To sign up for Cofoundr, you'll need to input a work or school e-mail address. That's annoying, considering many people have ideas that they've yet to start, but it's not a deal-breaker.
Once you do sign up for the site, you can immediately input all your personal information, including where you're from, what the focus of your business is, and more. Based on those responses, Cofoundr will match you with other entrepreneurs in your area. If you want to share your idea to see if investors will give you some much-needed capital, Cofoundr's Ideas page will help you out. But perhaps Cofoundr's best feature is its member-search option, which allows you to find people based on their expertise. Whether you're looking for a venture capitalist or strategy executive, the site will provide it. It's a nice service.
Entrepreneur Connect Entrepreneur.com's Entrepreneur Connect is a fine way to connect with other business owners. But unlike many of the apps in this roundup, Entrepreneur's service provides access to a wider array of companies.
When you first get to Entrepreneur Connect, you'll find that you don't need to waste your time registering. Instead, you can jump right in and start networking with other entrepreneurs. The site's "Make Connections" feature is especially useful. You can input certain criteria you're looking for in a connection and it will find people matching those items. The site also has some active groups for every industry represented in the social network. Entrepreneur Connect is a neat service. Try it out.
PerfectBusiness PerfectBusiness aims at helping you achieve your goal of becoming a successful entrepreneur. It does that by connecting you with other people who have a similar passion.
I was impressed with PerfectBusiness' listing of industries. Unlike some other services, you don't need to only have a Web site idea to sign up. Instead, you can connect with people in industries ranging from business-to-business communication to tech start-ups. The site has the option of asking other users questions about operating a start-up or discussing issues you're facing with experts that have done well as entrepreneurs. The site also provides instructional videos and advice articles to help you succeed. PerfectBusiness is a useful site.
StartupNation StartupNation is designed for the entrepreneur who wants to learn from other business owners who have built a successful operation from the ground up.
After you sign up for StartupNation, you'll find a really helpful community of members who want to share their expertise. From topics on funding to strategy, the site's members are there to help you out. StartupNation features a Google Maps integration to help you find other entrepreneurs in your area. The site's most useful feature is the Knowledge Hub. There, you can find help on any topic that comes to your mind. It's a must-see.
TheFunded TheFunded offers both a free and paid model, which costs about $300 per year, allowing users to find information, like how much venture capital firms typically offer companies, in what industries they provide funds, and more. But to connect with those companies and other folks using the site, you'll need to sign up for TheFunded.
But perhaps the way TheFunded requires you to sign up will surprise you. You'll need to apply to join. Your application will be reviewed. As long as your professional information can be corroborated, the site will allow you to join. It's a unique way to control membership, but it does a fine job--TheFunded has some of the most informative and active members of any site in this roundup. It's an invaluable resource for entrepreneurs. Check it out.
My top 3
1. TheFunded: With so much useful information, TheFunded is worthy of your time.
2. Entrepreneur Connect: If you want to connect with the right people, Entrepreneur Connect is worth trying out.
3. StartupNation: StartupNation's KnowledgeHub feature is good enough to give this site the third spot in this roundup.