Running a small business is filled with unknowns and crash course lessons. You're always going to have questions about hiring, acquiring customers, raising money, and building viable products.
When I started my first business, it was crucial that I learn about accounting and income statements. As the nature of building startups goes, teaching myself the basics lead to more and more questions. My experience in finding the right places to ask particular types of questions has influenced the way I learn and seek information.
Nobody expects you to know everything that's going in. In fact, that's why you should always find the right advisors for your startup, so that you can benefit from their experience.
But they won't know everything, either.
Luckily, there are several powerful and convenient tools that can help small business owners get their questions answered. While you may not find the silver bullet that shoots your company to the stratosphere, there are thousands of people with the knowledge and experience to help you solve your small business problems.
Here are a few online tools for connecting with experts who may have answers to your small business questions:
1. Quora: This crowd sourcing and collaboration Q&A tool allows users to ask the Quora community questions, most of them technology or startup-related.
Not only can you ask questions of its knowledgeable community (it includes some prominent VCs and CEOs), but you can follow topics such as "leadership," "venture capital," or "Google" to stay up-to-date on conversation occurring in those areas.
2. OnStartups Answers: This site, powered by the same platform that runs StackOverflow, is focused on answering the burning questions of startup founders. Everything from product pricing to sleep schedules is addressed by this community.
4. Twitter: If you've been active with other small business owners on Twitter and built up those relationships, there may not be a better place to get your questions answered faster than on this micro-blogging phenomenon.
5. Open Forum: Yes, I know what you're thinking, but guess what: OPEN Forum has active discussion forums where members can ask their small business questions and get them answered. It can't hurt to ask.
This list is a jump start for getting on the track to having all of your small business questions (or at least some of them) answered. Are there any online tools that you continuously reference for solving problems and getting advice as a small business owner?
Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Hiob