Peer Business Advisor Groups Ease The Pressure of Ownership
Where does a small business owner turn to for help in making critical business decisions? The choices are many with the boom in services for small business. Help may come from this website, a book, your accountant, a mentor or consider the power of a peer advisory group.
A peer advisory group is a group of small business owners from diverse industries who get together on a monthly basis to solve problems, share best practices and offer each other peer support.
Benefits of Peer Business Advisor Groups
- Handle Personal Issues: Small business owners are limited in sharing personal issues. With a peer advisory group your peers are in the same situation and have a high degree of empathy.
Sounding Board: A peer group acts as an informal board of directors and an opportunity for real-world experience sharing.
- Overcome Isolation: It can be a very lonely being the owner of a small, growing business. Your friends and family do not understand the issues you face. You cannot confide in your employees. However, every business owner in your peer group has the same sense of isolation and can offer support.
- Improve Odds of Success: Business success takes vision and insight. Your peer group can help you turn your focus away from the day-to-day issues and look at the bigger picture that can have a major impact on your company.
Joining a Peer Business Advisor Group
Becoming a member in a peer business advisor group requires meeting qualifications. Membership may have qualifications such as: minimum revenue levels, employee counts, age limits, non-competitive industry requirements, and invitation only. Cost to join can vary from $700 to $10,000 a year. There are a growing number of peer advisor groups to join:
Chief Executive Officers Club, Inc.: Founded over 25 years ago by Joseph R. Mancuso, the non-profit CEO Clubs have over 9 chapters across America & recently has expanded into China. Members must have 2 million in annual sales and membership is invitation-only.
Entrepreneurs’ Organization: This group is a non-profit global peer advisor group for business owners under fifty years old and have annual gross sales exceeding $1,000,000. There are 7,100 members spread across 108 chapters in 38 countries.
TEC International: TEC is an international peer organization in 14 countries with two peer group programs. One is for CEO's of companies of $5,000,000 and up. The other program is for emerging entrepreneurs with $1,000,000 to $5,000,000 in revenue. Membership starts at $10,000 per year and is by invitation-only.
Inner Circle: Franchise-based Inner Circle offers membership for companies with revenue between $500,000 and $50 million. Currently has five franchised operations throughout the U.S. Annual admission fees are between $5600 and $7500.
Women Presidents' Organization: WPO has over 30 chapters throughout America. Each chapter offers a "diverse group of successful women business owners who share enough to face similar issues but are different enough to make a unique contribution to the group." Cost to join is $1250.
These peer business advisor groups are just a few of many. Search for a group that can meet the needs of your growing business. Joe Mancuso, President of CEO Club, Inc. summarizes the benefits of peer groups, "it is ok to be independent but there is no reason to be alone. We like to say its ok to make money if you are having fun."
If you fail to qualify for a group, you can network with other small business owners to form your own peer group. Remember to select business members at the same stage of business development. Or if you have limited time and money, join an online forum such as our own Small Business Information Forum.