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Ask and you shall receive…

So some good things to say about smallbusinesscan.com then? Starting and running your own business can be a lonely exercise. It can be difficult to maintain momentum and initiative when the phone is silent and your inbox is empty. In those circumstances, empathy can be a wonderful thing. That is the primary benefit of being a member of SmallBusinessCan.com – it is a community of people who are all in the same boat. By sharing experiences, you learn that you are not the only lunatic to establish your own business in this recession. Also, from reading of others who have persevered and succeeded, you are encouraged to stick at it.

It is part of the entrepreneurial personality to believe you are omniscient. However, to succeed in business, you need to be able to recognise situations in which you are not an expert and to defer to the better wisdom of others. That is again where SmallBusinessCan.com comes into its own – shared collective wisdom. While the posts on the website’s forum do not amount to full blown advice, they do provide you with insight into different ways of thinking – which may not otherwise be apparent to you. Personally, I am no expert when it comes to marketing, PR, advertising or sales. The website’s blog and forum effectively give me a micro-MBA.

Then there is networking. Currently, when you start up in business, you are told online social networking is “the way of the future” and “the next big thing”. I was very skeptical about this. For me, Facebook was about sharing pictures and experiences with my friends and family. I thought LinkedIn was a competition to see who could link with more people than anyone else. I stumbled upon SmallBusinessCan.com because I was looking for a site that specifically catered for business networking. I was pleasantly surprised. While I have not exploited the potential fully, I have encountered several interesting and useful contacts. Take, for example, Deirdre Geraghty of Bookkeeping Partners. Her relatively inexpensive service allows business to outsource time consumer administration and to ensure books are kept correctly.

The website also provides entrepreneurs with an opportunity to show off their wares. This can be done through an unashamedly honest section in the forum inviting members to “introduce and promote” their businesses. In the forum, members also pose questions on matters ranging from web-marketing to VAT on exported services. This is an opportunity for others to demonstrate their expertise while at the same time lending a helping hand.

One downside to the website is that, from time to time, one does encounter squabbles between members. To me, that is a necessary aspect of having a forum which is honest and open. Similarly, there are some members who love the sound of their fingers typing. They will use the site to relentlessly promote their own business. I think you have to give a little back.

We have all had our fill of rhetoric over the past couple of weeks regarding the need to promote small business and, thereby, create jobs. Yet, unless you are engaged in manufacturing or exported services, there is very little support out there. To me, the service provided by SmallBusinessCan.com is essential to our recovery. If the only thing which the website achieves is to encourage entrepreneurs, then that would be sufficient. However, it does a whole lot more.

Paul has been sharing on smallbusinesscan from the start. His website can be found here: http://www.taxandlegal.ie

Peer to peer testimonials
If you have had a good experience of smallbusinesscan, let others know so that we can encourage them to use the service and get involved. Post your good experiences here.

Help us promote smallbusinesscan.com
If you know of any other businesspeople that could benefit by being part of a generous community of people who are happy to share their business experiences, please pass this eZine on to them. There’s a lot of us putting the head down now and getting on with. It’s a lot easier when you know that there’s thousands out there and that there’s plenty of support if you need it. So please help us promote smallbusinesscan.com. Remember everything on the site’s for free. Even the bad jokes!

Business Live events
Don’t forget the Business Live events for 2012. We’re gearing up for eight new shows across the country from L’Derry to Cork and from Galway to Dublin. Register here and find dates and times for an event that suits you. The 2011 events were a great success with businesses of all shapes and sizes discussing how they are finding new markets cross border and further afield.

One Last thing!
Hireland are doing a survey on how many SMEs are expecting to hire this year.This is a new initiative that’s about to launch and its geared to creating a burst of employment in the SME sector. Remember that in the last number of recessions worldwide it’s the SMEs – you – that lead us to growth. If you have time fill in the survey. Just click on the link in the thread above.

Small Business Can Newsletter
Small Business Can is run by businesspeople for businesspeople. We share our experiences, successes and failures. Sign up for our insightful (and sometimes funny) newsletter and stay up to speed with all the latest insights.
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