As business leaders, we all know it can be “lonely at the top”. This is one of the key reasons that so many entrepreneurs seek out a peer advisory group - an organization whose main purpose is to create an environment for non-competitive business leaders to share ideas, solve challenges, and lend support to one another.
From a big picture perspective, peer groups are typically fellow business owners from non-competing companies who are facing shared challenges. They can typically provide objective advice and perspectives in ways that employees and customers simply can’t. As a TAB facilitator and coach for over 20 years, my board members often tell me that TAB helps them stay accountable to their goals.
But not all peer advisory groups are the same. I encourage you to consider what you’re looking for in terms of focus, time commitment, monthly fees, and what you want to get out of being a member before investing your time and energy in trying out different types. I have taken the liberty of outlining the key aspects of some of the main peer advisory groups you may come across.
Understanding the Business Owner’s Challenges
The Alternative Board (TAB) targets owners of small and midsize companies. Each board consists of 6 to 10 business owners and is run by a facilitator with at least 10 years of management experience. The facilitator is the owner of the franchise in a certain geographical area. As such they are also a business owner and offer a more personal level of understanding and can provide members with access to resources from hundreds of other franchise owners around the globe. TAB primarily focuses on business—groups meet monthly and every member presents their challenges and opportunities and receives input from their peers. The board meetings are typically held on a workday for 4 hours. TAB members also receive a 1-hour monthly one-on-one coaching session with their TAB facilitator. It is often at these coaching sessions that details on execution can be worked out based on some of the feedback from the board meetings. Membership dues range from $600 to $900 per month, and the commitment is only 30 days, however most members see the value and stay for 5+ years.
Peer Advisory Groups to Consider
There are several other peer advisory groups worth mentioning, including Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), TEC Canada, and Mackay CEO Forums. Most of these focus on supporting entrepreneurs, industry leaders, chief executives and CEOs. They differ in the services they provide from large scale networking events, to large 15-member, full-day board meetings to those that offer one-on-one coaching sessions with an organizational Chair or leader. Their focus also ranges from high-value networking opportunities and international speakers to global learning possibilities. These peer advisory groups meet anywhere from 6 to 12 times a year and include anywhere from 7-16 members on each board. The boards are not run by owners, but by leaders or chairs from the organization. In terms of requirements, you’ll need to qualify for membership with a minimum revenue, or age restriction. Annual fees range from $2,800 to $13,000; most require an additional initiation fee and chapter fee which is revenue-based.
In the end, when you’re considering what type of peer group you want to join, consider these wise words from Ken Blanchard which captures the sentiment and purpose of a peer group, “None of us is as smart as all of us”.
Stay tuned for my next blog, which will showcase some TAB members who share what they were looking for, why they chose TAB over the alternatives, and what TAB has done for them and their business.