Docstoc, an online resource for starting and running a business, today launched a new service called ExpertCircle. With it, small and medium-sized businesses can get expert reviews about products and vendors across a host of different industries, all vetted by peer professionals.
Originally geared towards being a document-sharing service, Docstoc has slowly been moving beyond simply providing files to companies to a one-stop shop for anyone looking to create, manage, and wind down their business, anywhere in the United States. In January, the company released License 123, a database service that helps businesses find and file licenses and permits with their local government.
License 123 has gone on to partner with multiple city governments to create a centralized spot where companies can begin obtaining the right permits specifically for that area. San Francisco has become the most recent integration. It has also partnered with the city of Los Angeles.
With ExpertCircle, Docstoc’s 30 million members will be able to take advantage of a service the company says will help surface the best products and vendors easily. It will show entrepreneurs what their competitors are using and what is recommended. What’s more, the service is categorized by both subject areas like accounting, human resources, and real estate, and by industry, such as retail, restaurants, and health care.
Utilizing Yelp-like game mechanics, ExpertCircle is hoping that business owners will find peer reviews helpful. Often companies are willing to help one another and it’s no doubt that starting a business can be incredibly difficult. What service should you use to build a website? Is this cleaning crew good in a restaurant? What accounting software is commonly used in the retail space? These are just some questions entrepreneurs might have — ExpertCircle believes it can help answer them.
To begin, users will need to create a profile on ExpertCircle. It’s intended to help provide “ongoing recommendations” of the best products and vendors, something like “You might be interested in this”. Just like with LinkedIn, users can endorse someone or a product if they had a great experience or rate a product they’ve used.
Jason Nazar, Docstoc’s founder and CEO, says that with millions of businesses using his company each month, they have been telling him that they need help finding the best products to help achieve their goals:
Most small business owners rely on word of mouth for business advice; with ExpertCircle we’re incorporating the ability for those same professionals to share their personal endorsements on a platform accessible by all business owners, so that they can, too, easily find the best products and vendors that are reviewed by their professional peers and based on their given needs. The same way that consumers turn to Yelp and Angie’s List for reviews, ExpertCircle is a free platform for business owners, entrepreneurs and operators to get the most reliable recommendations on business products that their peers recommend and use.
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