Wednesday, April 19, 2006

33 Wikis -- #24 -- SmallBusiness.com -- Experts in Charge

This is the twenty-fourth installment in "33 Wikis," a close look at best practices in wiki-based collaboration. Each day -- for 33 days -- we look at one wiki and briefly describe what the wiki is for, why we like it, and what we all can learn from it. If you want to nominate a wiki, please let us know. On day 34 we will post a public wiki featuring info on all nominees.

What this wiki is for: OK, if you are through working on the Millenium Problems and need to get back to business -- a small business -- then this might be the wiki for you. The elegantly and simply-named Smallbusiness.com provides a "variety of services and resources being created every day by a community of small business owners and managers sharing their personal knowledge about starting and running a small business."

Why we like it: Great name, great look (dead simple), and a great number of resources (volume is sometimes important). There are a number of commercial sites that target the huge and amorphous small-business market, but this is the only site doing this in a truly collaborative fashion. The value to this approach? As a partner at an independent PR agency, I can tell you: there's no substitute for knowledge that comes from people who have actually "been there, done that." This site taps the collective wisdom of an expert group and serves up useful, practical information in areas such as law, management, finance, marketing, HR, state-by-state resources, and much more.

What we all can learn from it: Smallbusiness.com does a lot of things well, but its biggest gift to the community is a lesson on expert-based services. In some market segments -- and this is one of them -- the most sought-after expert is the practitioner. We'll post a few other examples of this kind of service when we conclude the "33 Wikis" project.

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