You may feel your business has reached a growth plateau. Where do you turn to help improve and better manage the business? Perhaps you consult family members, an accountant or lawyer—or worse—make important business decisions alone.
An article by USA Today’s Ask an Expert, Steve Strauss, details the history and importance of “Mastermind groups” for business success. Mastermind groups channel the power of peer advice, a tool that has been growing in popularity with business owners. The business owner meets with peers who have been in similar situations, allowing them to tap into each other’s past experiences, mistakes and expertise. Peers act as a group of advisors who help the owner work on their business, preventing mistakes and learning new techniques to help their business become more successful and profitable.
The result is objective and candid advice created by a “think tank” atmosphere owners cannot create by themselves. The board provides a safe, confidential place for owners to air problems. Advice received during meetings saves time because the business doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel.
Another major benefit of peer boards is that the business owner finds practical solutions to problems and learns how to approach new opportunities. Their peers hold them accountable for following through on ideas and goals for their business and become an extension of the business’s management team who cares about the success of the business.
Monthly meetings allow board members to bond, develop relationships with similar-sized companies and get to know one another’s business. Essentially, the board members motivate each other to accomplish goals and solve issues discussed at meetings.
Business owners face human resources, sales productivity, marketing strategies and making payroll issues, all of which are typical topics at a peer advice meeting. Boards are made up of non-competing members so no member is locked into industry thinking, which helps open members’ eyes to new ideas and possibilities because the areas of expertise include those in which a member normally wouldn’t have access. Peer advisory groups are not comprised of individuals that all think the same way. Rather, they provide insights to areas where the owner may not have experience, training or expertise. These boards are generally large enough to be effective, yet small enough to work on each member’s specific needs.
The support received from becoming a part of a regular peer meeting also allows the owner to set goals for long term planning. The long term planning takes the owner out of managing day-to-day tasks so they can focus on more important strategic goals for the company. On their own, owners may find themselves involved in fixing individual problems or planning using the “idea of the week.” Peer advisory boards can help the owner organize and lead the business to improved growth and efficiency.
Members of groups must be willing to make the time investment, put his/her business issues on the table and share his/her knowledge with other members. The valuable advice given in peer advisory meetings is real-life—not theory—and shows the power that is created when business owners work together.