SmallBusiness.com: The free small business resource
The website SmallBusiness.com is a wiki, a type of website where users can create and edit pages. Our goal is to create the web's largest open-source collection of shared knowledge for and by small business owners and managers.
Disclaimer regarding user-contributed content
It is important for users of SmallBusiness.com to understand that nearly all content on SmallBusiness.com can be edited by users. Therefore, it is important to read the general disclaimer page on the site to understand how to use the content found on the site.
Who we are and how to contact us
Other than Rex Hammock, founder and head-helper, there are no authority figures at SmallBusiness.com. While this site is owned and operated by Hammock, Inc., it is designed to be a participatory project in which a community of users (you) share with one another the knowledge needed to start and operate a small business.
- If you want to contact Rex, send an e-mail to Rex@SmallBusiness.com and put "SmallBusiness.com question" somewhere in the subject line.
Last updated: 11.05.09 Questions answered by founder/head helper, Rex Hammock:
Where does someone find help using SmallBusiness.com?
What is SmallBusiness.com?
SmallBusiness.com is a wiki-model resource filled with resources to help small business owners and managers (today, primarily in the U.S.) obtain the information they need to make decisions related to the operation of their companies.
By wiki, I mean it is the type of website that is encyclopedic in nature and that can be edited by users who are registered and logged in. SmallBusiness.com is intended to be a collaborative effort.
What was on SmallBusiness.com before a wiki?
What you see today is a second attempt at creating a knowledge-sharing community of small business owners and managers. The first attempt was built on an innovative knowledge-management platform that was created in 1999-2000. I am very proud of the way we anticipated much of what is today known as "citizens' media," participatory media or social networking -- or my favorite, conversational media. However, as a business, my timing could not have been worse. We were too late as a "dot.com" and too early as a "Web 2.0" play.
During the growth of blogging and such participatory projects as Wikipedia, I saw many of the principles of what we did at SmallBusiness.com come to pass. In 2006, I decided to slowly revive the goals we had with the original SmallBusiness.com, but to do so using open-source software and other technology approaches that would not require the type of investment and overhead that I felt necessary (but mistakenly) in 1999. In fact, I decided to do nothing with the website if I could not personally understand at a fundamental and functional level, the technology we were using.
What is the 'business model' of SmallBusiness.com?
SmallBusiness.com is a property of Hammock Inc., a content marketing and custom media company that develops and manages customer and member media programs for national associations, corporations and other institutions. SmallBusiness.com is a laboratory for the staff of Hammock to develop their skills for creating and building large-scale wiki-model resources. As helping marketers better communicate with small business owners is one of our focus areas, SmallBusiness.com also gives us a unique crossroads to help understand the needs of small business owners and managers -- and the needs of corporate marketers who want to better communicate with existing and new small business owners who make buying decisions.
Small Business Content Marketing Services
Hammock provides a wide array of content marketing solutions to marketers who are trying to reach small business decision makers or who want to better serve their existing customers. Our solutions are specifically designed to help you meet measurable objectives related to customer acquisition and retention through content strategies designed to:
- Improve organic search results
- Generate leads
- Increase on-site traffic for your website
- Improve customer service (both company-to-customer and customer-to-customer programs)
- Enhance your branding
Our services include: (Programs can be private labeled or SmallBusiness.com co-branded.)
- Small business headline feed programs
- Small business news article programs
- Small business how to article programs
- Custom how-to article programs
- Custom how-to video series programs
- Custom video series programs
- Custom print magazines
- Custom print newsletters
- Custom digital magazines
- Custom digital books (eBooks)
Currently, SmallBusiness.com does not accept advertising beyond the Google Adsense ads appearing on the bottom of the left column of each page.
Currently, SmallBusiness.com does not carry any affiliate marketing programs. (We DO NOT receive commissions on products users might purchase if they click on a SmallBusiness.com link.)
Beginning soon, SmallBusiness.com will have corporate underwriters of certain sections of the website.
This is one of those questions I used to receive before we launched the first version of SmallBusiness.com in 2000. After we had a thousand or so folks sharing thousands of articles (we called them "advice"), the question died down, however, I'm getting it again. Now, it's more like, "If someone has a weblog, why should they put information on SmallBusiness.com?" Well, for one thing, SmallBusiness.com is not a blogging platform and anyone who is a blogger should see quickly that it's not a competition for what they do. Rather, it's a means for them to gain some visibility for their weblog. For example, everyone who shares information on SmallBusiness.com can create a user page on which they can link to their weblog. There's a Contributors listing on each entry that links to users who have added to the entry. We are going to feature active contributors on the front of SmallBusiness.com and on the Community portal as a means to help them gain even more visibility. Beyond that incentive, I have learned there exists a tremendous community of individuals who know a lot about a particular topic and are happy to share it because they want others to succeed. Malcom Gladwell in his book, The Tipping Point, describes a group of people called "mavens" who feel a calling to share what they know about a topic. I've learned that such mavens are the real power of a site like SmallBusiness.com.
Why is SmallBusiness.com so U.S. focused?
I'm sorry. I had to start somewhere, so I started with the place I live. I know from experience that much about running a small business is universal. However, laws and customs and certain practices are very country-by-country and culture-specific. Our licensing permit allows for anyone to use the content found on SmallBusiness.com for adaptation for another country-specific site. As our volunteer base grows, we'll support those efforts more directly.