Find a Small Business Peer Group – There is Strength in Numbers
Many small business owners tell me one of the most difficult challenges of owning their own business is not getting enough feedback for critical decisions. Often they feel isolated and sometimes they question if the decisions they have made or about to make are the best for them, their industry, the marketplace, or their clients. They could use a second or third opinion. Every small business owner can benefit from having a group of other small business owners, or peers, they can count on as a resource.
If having such a group as a resource can contribute greatly to any small business owner’s success, why so do few small business owners have such a group? In a recent poll here is what business owners had to say.
The first reason they give is that they do not know where to find one. If you too do not know, start with a browse on the internet. Today they are available in almost every city. In-person meetings are the most powerful but you can also find a variety of options by phone or video-conference if you live and work in a more remote region.
Once they find them many business owners complain they are too expensive. I am glad to report that with the right kind of research you should be able to find a variety of price points and packages. Be sure you do not overpay for the same opportunity because, yes, there are a number of national programs that charge higher fees and do not offer any more for the money. Perform a return on investment (ROI) analysis on membership. How many new clients would you need or how much more revenue would you need to generate to make it worthwhile? Can you visualize how this group could help you get reach that and more?
Another reason often given is “I am not sure the group make-up is a good fit for me.” In order for a peer group to be beneficial it must be a good fit for you, your business, your goals, and your personality. Every group leader should allow you to visit the group once or twice before you decide to become a permanent member of the group. This group should inspire you. You should feel they understand you and your business and are willing to contribute to your success. They should have a schedule that you feel you can be committed to and group agreements that you can abide by.
Once you have found one that you believe meets your needs, I recommend you try to meet individually with some of the group members to gauge their success as a member and to decide how you might work together to both be more successful.
There is always strength in numbers. Find a group that suits you well and be a committed participant. The contribution to your success can be more than you imagine.