Who do you talk with about your business challenges?
Many of the problems you deal with as a business owner, you really can’t share with most of those around you. They either can’t relate, or you don’t want them to know. Face it “It’s lonely at the top” is a cliché because it’s true.
This loneliness is precisely where many business owners spend a lot of their time. Loneliness, however, isn’t known to inspire cutting-edge creativity or resourcefulness. As an entrepreneur, it’s creativity and economic savvy—among dozens of other things—that you require most.
There are many aspects of running a business that entrepreneurs must deal with on a regular basis: planning, financing, hiring, executing, marketing, purchasing and selling responsibilities all fall under their purview, even if other managers handle the day-to-day tasks. If you’re a small business owner, you know how it feels to wear many hats. And you’ve probably also noticed that the more hats you wear, the less effective you seem to be.
If you had the resources of a large corporation to hire your own board of directors, you’d be set. But for now, it’s just you—sitting alone at the top. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way.
Peer advisory boards provide real-world board advice and direction for the small business owner—advice that’s drawn from decades of personal experience in the business world. What can that kind of insight do for you? To put it clearly and concisely, peer advisory boards help you to achieve more than you can on your own. Here’s how:
How Peer Advisory Boards Help Business Owners Achieve More
- Remove your blinders. Blinders are put on horses to make the animals better at their jobs—they allow them to focus, and increased focus leads to improved performance. You may have noticed this in yourself—better focus results in better work.
Unfortunately, a high level of focus can come at a price, making it very difficult for a business owner to have awareness of absolutely everything. Your ability to focus is one of your greater strengths. But this ability becomes much more useful when it’s complemented by the larger view brought by a peer advisory board.
The panoramic vision of a peer advisory board lets you remain focused on solving one issue at a time. You can take comfort knowing that opportunities or oversights will be brought to your attention by others. This is an indispensable tool for a growing business.
- Challenge your strategies and goals.Setting and achieving goals is what building a successful business is all about, but entrepreneurs often focus on a specific end goal when other more productive and impressive achievements may be within their reach.
For example, you may have a goal to grow sales by 10% in the next fiscal year by increasing cold calls. But did you consider the possibility that you could likely grow sales by 15% with a new marketing campaign that includes a well-designed set of integrated marketing tactics and channels?
A peer advisory board is made up of experienced individuals who can look at your business from a different perspective. The saying “two heads are better than one” applies in spades to business modeling. Your peer advisory board will expand your tunnel vision, providing you with options you may never have considered.
The takeaway here? Maintaining focus on a major end goal is something that all entrepreneurs should do – but make sure that you’re not setting your sights too low, and always consider that there may be alternate routes that will get you to that goal faster.
- Crowdsource intellects. Isaac Newton once wrote, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Very, very few ideas are 100% original. Yes, Einstein developed the theory of relativity, but he used the math and physics approaches discovered by others. Yes, Joseph Salk created the vaccine for polio, but he was working with the chemistry and biology discovered by others. In a way, these innovators and inventors were working with the peer advisory boards of the past.
Imagine the power of gathering your own entrepreneurial think tank into the same room. That is the beauty of the peer advisory board.
- Clarify your thinking. Most business owners have good instincts about their business, instincts that have been tested and cultivated over time. However, most business owners also rely on those instincts too much. A peer advisory board forces you to better define and defend your thinking.
- What is the problem?
- What is at stake? How does it affect dollars, income, people, products, services, customers, timing, the future, or other relevant factors?
- How did it become an issue? Why do you think that is?
- What have your tried to correct this? How did it work?
- What is the consequence if this issue is not properly resolved?
- What is the impact if it is properly resolved?
- What specific results or outcomes do I want?
- What options am I considering?
Express this issue in detail. If you cannot articulate the issues, you cannot fully understand or resolve the issue. A group of objective advisory can help you view the issue from all angles. They can poke holes in your theories and help you clarify your position and the direction you need to take.
- Provide moral support for you. Sole decision-making power can be alienating, and stressful. The more employees you have, the more stressful your decision-making will be. When the livelihoods of others are dependent upon you, pressure takes on a whole new meaning.
Gain confidence and peace of mind with a peer advisory board. Get genuine feedback and reassurance that the path you’re choosing is the right one, that you’ve considered all the options. That you’re operating with the long run in mind.
The imagery of a businessman feeling the tie around his neck becoming a noose is pervasive and does not have to be your fate. In short, make your company work for you instead of working for your company.
When these benefits come together, a peer advisory board can truly take your business to the next level. It can identify the missteps you didn’t know existed, synthesize solutions you didn’t think possible and provide the confidence you thought you might never have.
At TAB Central Alabama we help business owner achieve more success, more quickly by facilitating Peer-Advisory Boards, and providing strategic planning advice.