I'm newish to wordpress and need some guidance to build this niche community website to help businesses with community discussions & social interaction, and public directory (with robust search capabilities – like specific fields, & got locations).
I personally think that WordPress is not well suited for that. This is my personal opinion.
Now if you have a good sized budget you can look at implementing BuddyPress. You will need to make sure you have technical support available to help you though. Take a look at BuddyBoss.
Also, you will need top-notch hosting to be able to handle it.