Business Peer Advisory Groups

Benefits of Peer-to-Peer Advisory Groups

Written by Dave Mischler for Gaebler Ventures

Discover the benefits of peer-to-peer advisory groups. We drill down on five good reasons to join a business owner peer advisory group.

Joining a peer-to-peer advisory group is a smart move for business owners.

Benefits of Peer to Peer Advisory Groups

If you're not yet familiar with the concept, joining a business owner peer advisory group typically involves attending professionally facilitated group meetings on a monthly basis.

The meeting attendees are all business owners or company leaders. Each month, among other things, owners discuss their current business challenges, with each business owner getting feedback from other members on how they might tackle a given business challenge.

Business peer-to-peer advisory groups like Inner Circle offer a great deal of value to participating business owners.

In this article, I discuss some of the top benefits of peer advisory groups for business owners.

#1 Improves decision making and enhances results

Business success takes many skills. In large organizations, talents aggregate based on the large number of senior executives and the breadth of the leadership team. In contrast, smaller organizations, which often have a single senior leader, don't have that diverse, experienced talent pool to draw upon. As a result, their business decision making may not be as strong as it could be if they had access to a diverse set of talents.

While it's true that a single entrepreneur may not personally possess all of the knowledge needed to optimally run and grow a business, peer-to-peer advisory groups allow business owners to tap into the experience of their peers and make better decisions.

Advisory group members provide each other with practical advice to real world problems. The solutions are battle-tested by other entrepreneurs in the group who have "been there, done that".

By giving business owners access to a trustworthy, proven network of peer business owners, the end result is better business decisions and enhanced business results.

#2 Clarifies direction

In addition to assisting with individual business problems, peer advisory group members help each other to define overall business strategies. Through interaction with the group, peer group members get clarity on their business direction.

This is something that is often neglected by business owners who are working in their business, rather than working on their business. Membership in a peer-to-peer advisory group ensures that a member will take the time to think about their business direction. They then articulate the business plan to the group, which in turn serves as a sounding board on the strategy.

#3 Creates accountability

Indeed, simply having to report current status to other members has the effect of creating accountability in a business owner that might otherwise not exist.

For example, if a business owner tells his peer group that he will revamp his sales team commission plan prior to the next meeting, you can bet that he is not going to show up to the next meeting without having done his homework. The expectation is that business owners in a group will do what they say they will do. In this way, the group members hold each other accountable for forward progress on their business challenges.

#4 Reduces isolation and increases confidence

Inner Circle and other similar peer advisory groups interrupt the isolation inherent in owning your own business and allow you time to connect with trusted peers.

It's lonely at the top, but it doesn't have to be. Business owners need not feel isolated and alone while they run their companies. A good business advisory peer group creates an outlet for camaraderie, a sounding board for new ideas and a means to obtain sage business counsel.

#5 Improves work / life balance

It goes without saying that improving your business is often the fastest path to improving your life. Without the headaches of a given business problem, you will likely have more time to spend with family and to attend to your own personal needs. By improving business results, peer-to-peer advisory groups improve entrepreneurial lives.

Beyond the positive impact of making more money and more profits with less headaches, members are there to support each other through personal challenges. In almost every case, members in a peer advisory group become friends. In fact, at the end of the day, the benefit of making new friends with a few kindred entrepreneurial souls may be one of the biggest payoffs for joining a peer advisory group for business owners.

Dave Mischler is President of Sun Advisory, which creates and operates Inner Circle peer advisory groups for Chicago area business owners. Previously, Dave worked in marketing, in leadership roles at Leo Burnett; Foote, Cone & Belding; Aon Corporation; and LaSalle Bank -- and in accounting at Deloitte. Dave has an undergraduate degree in accounting from The Ohio State University and an MBA from Indiana University.

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To your mind, what are the benefits of peer-to-peer business advisory groups? Are we missing any advantages of joining a business peer group? Is there any disadvantage to joining that you are aware of? We welcome your comments regarding the pros and cons of joining a peer business advisory group.

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