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Where to Find Answers to Vexing Business Questions

When you own your own small business, you need to wear a lot of hats. Unfortunately, deep institutional knowledge doesn't come inside the brim of any of those head garments, and that means you frequently find yourself reaching out to others to get answers to all sorts of questions. But no matter if you have questions about finance, payroll, time management, IT, or hiring practices, experts are dying to share their wisdom with you. You just need to know where to look.

Recently, PC World's Angela West went looking for the best places to get answers to vexing business questions. Here is what she learned:

Quora gives good results, if you word your questions carefully. Quora is a relative newcomer to the Q&A business, but their eager membership of professional enthusiasts means the answers you get here are generally of a fairly high quality. Unfortunately, the site doesn't allow survey-style questions, such as "what is your favorite accounting package?" Instead, you need to ask the question in the form of "what are the best accounting tools for small business?" Not a big problem, but something to keep in mind, as a poorly worded question can be blocked, delaying your potential answers.

LinkedIn is full of motivated professionals. You can expect to get fast and high-quality responses on LinkedIn. And that's not surprising; people use their real identities here, and they vie for recognition as experts in their respective fields (you can attribute "best answer" status to your favorite response).

Fluther is valuable, if you can stomach the hipster vibe. West liked the repliers she got to her sample question on Fluther, but the low-key and hipster tone of the site seems to run counter to expectations of professionalism. The site uses a gaming system to score members based on the number of valuable answers they give though, so like LinkedIn, there's a definite incentive to be helpful here.

There are also industry-specific sites out there. If you're looking for legal information, for example, be sure to investigate LawPivot. And there's Tip'd for accounting advice.

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