At a time when publications targeting small business owners are in decline or dying (R.I.P. Fortune Small Business), the Web is thriving with experimentation. One effort that is just getting off its feet is Bizmore, a site backed by former junk bond king Michael Milken and executive-coaching firm Vistage International. Bizmore launched last summer as a Q&A site for business advice. Today, it unveiled a new design with more magazine-like content, including a network of eight blogs, ranging from the Social Business to Workplace Trends and Creative Finance.
“I’ll have 25 blogs before the end of the year,” says editor in chief Jeffrey Davis, who used to work with me as an editor at Business 2.0 before he went on to help run Bnet. Earlier this year, Davis left Bnet to join Bizmore founder Alice Hill to try to build an online publication for small businesses from scratch. Each blog, he says, tackles “some important facet of running a small business (finance, social media, managing, etc), each written not by name journalists, but true experts who speak and consult professionally on their topic.”
Bizmore already has about 30 or so consultants, business professors and other business experts who answer readers’ questions in Q&A part of the site. The blogs expand that network of experts and give some of them a larger soapbox. They will start giving Webinars and live events as well, which is Vistage’s specialty. The original idea of the site was to have an online gathering place with real content for the tens of thousands of people who attend Vistage executive coaching seminars every year, but then lost touch in between events. It’s reaching way beyond that now, but Bizmore’s core audience still comes from this pre-existing community.
In addition to the blogs, the site has regular features, interviews, and advice on methods and tactics for running a small business. Davis is taking a page from the old Business 2.0 here by sending his journalists to find out what management tactics work in real companies and then package them up into easy steps any entrepreneur can follow. Bizmore spits out features such as “3 Essentials for Landing a Business Loan,” “CEOs: Careful Who ‘Owns’ Your Facebook Business Page,” and “The $100K Referral Bonus.”
Bizmore is not about breaking news or great narratives. Its aspiration is to be filled with tons of practical advice on how to run a business, and a network of experts and readers who help each other as well. Getting the right mix between community and content is tricky. But service journalism makes a lot more sense on the Web than in a print magazine. Features and posts can be whipped up on the fly in response to the immediate needs and questions of readers, who can also give each other advice.