Alice Hill has set out to combine the functionality of Yahoo! Answers with the networking prowess of LinkedIn. The former CNET.com executive is launching her brainchild, web-based startup company Bizmore, which will focus on advice for small businesses (SMBs), today.
Hill is hoping that Bizmore, a San Francisco-based subsidiary of Vistage International, the multinational CEO membership organization, will be the 'go to' source for any business-related questions. The site will feature expert- and user-generated questions and answers, similar to Yahoo! Answers, but questions will be restricted to topics about small and mid-level business concerns. Users will also be able to set up public or private networks, read exclusive and third-party feature stories and build personal profile pages to market their companies.
"I've found that it's hard to find good advice for business," Hill explains, adding that she's been unable to find one primary source to get expert answers to any business question. "With the nation's current state of economic recovery, SMBs need this type of forum the most."
The site charges a monthly fee for building a network and allocating information storage. The fee varies depending on a company's network size and storage requirements. However, the question and answer portion of the site is free and open to the public. Advertisers will have an opportunity to target users based on their questions.
"We'd like this to be a living archive of practical advice, " says Hill. "We've already reached 25,000 users ahead of schedule and I believe we can eventually get into the millions."
Hill, who is no stranger to business journalism, has authored more than 500 articles that have appeared in The New York Times, US Weekly and PC Magazine, among other publications, many about start-ups. But as an entrepreneur sitting on the other side of the table pitching her start-up to media outlets, the feeling is surreal. "It's funny that 'as CNET' I sat in on so many demos and being on the other side of the table is definitely a very different feeling, especially when it is something you created from scratch."