Why peer groups are a valuable use of precious time

I work with entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs as a strategic facilitator and organizational development coach. Over the years I have been involved with over 500 entrepreneurs solving business problems and finding ways to thrive and be successful.

I have had plenty of time and opportunity to observe what they need and what they struggle with. There are a number of issues that often emerge across the board.

  1. Being an entrepreneur is a lonely path. Mostly entrepreneurs are blazing their own trail and finding new ways of doing things in the world, disrupting and innovating. As amazing as this is – it means that nobody can give you a fool proof formula for success, because by its very nature its emerging.
  2. The skills that got you started are not the skills that will help you grow and scale. The agile, disruptive quick thinking that got you going will frustrate and damage a growing team that needs clarity, process and support.
  3. The transition from the person who gets it all done to the person who needs to delegate properly and manage resources, is really really HARD. I have seen this trip up too many entrepreneurs to mention. The only ones that go on to thrive, are the ones who are able to manage this transition well.
  4. Taking good enough care of yourself so that you don’t end up selling the business or quitting for the lack of a decent holiday.

Having said all this, most people with jobs do not understand the stress and difficulty of running your own business. Most people romanticize it and think ‘If I ran my own business I would take time off with my kids” (insert your version of that – surf more, make more art etc.) Nobody, except other entrepreneurs really understand what you are dealing with. Definitely not someone with a job (bank managers, consultants – pretty much most of the people that put themselves out there as advisors to entrepreneurs).

But other entrepreneurs GET IT! They know, because they have walked that mile and have solved problems that may still be in your future. This is why business peer groups are such valuable resources. You have uninterrupted face to face time, in a safe confidential environment to share what is REALLY going on in your business with people who understand, care and will help you work it out. This is PRECIOUS beyond words.

Its important to understand that this is not networking .When you are networking you have to have your game face on. This is real, real problems, real solutions, not a sophisticated sales pitch.

What would you get from your peers?

  1. Save money and time – you spend 2 hours a month with 8 experts all in one place and for less than the cost of a coaching session you get advice, trust based contacts and opportunities.
  2. Save yourself expensive mistakes by learning from others with real life situations and solutions.
  3. Grow your business mindset and understanding of business as you work ON your business and not in your business for 2 hours a month
  4. Get great advice from people who see the world differently, and have your best interests at heart, but you are not paying them so they will give it to you straight.
  5. Build trust based business relationships that over time result in more business and support that keeps you motivated and on track.
  6. Make better decisions regarding those important issues that are difficult to think through all on your own – this results in a more successful business over time.

Being a successful entrepreneur means understanding that you don’t have all the answers. Working with other entrepreneurs to ask and answer the real questions sets you up to win.