It is a great idea to form a group of like-minded business owners or entrepreneurs to share ideas and help with solutions. This is different from joining a rotary club or chamber of commerce to get business. The focus should be on discussing challenges and workshopping solutions.
As attorneys and women business owners we formed an informal group consisting of a coffee shop owner, a real estate broker, a PR and Marketing professional, and a Chiropractor. We called ourselves “The Ladies of the Round Table” and met once a week for 1 hour to present our challenges of the week and workshop solutions amongst each other.
It was an invaluable resource where we would trade ideas of what has worked or not worked for us. We would also set weekly goals and have to report our successes (or failures) to make sure we kept on task. Also knowing about each other’s businesses helped us refer customers or clients to each other. One of our mantras in our business is: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help.” Usually there is someone willing to help.
Tips for Your Entrepreneur Support Group
First, determine who you want to invite into your group. In forming your own entrepreneur support group look for complimentary businesses. Perhaps you share the same customer base? Have similar marketing techniques?
Second, set out guidelines for meetings to maximize effectiveness. Set an agenda prior to the meetings or focus on one topic per meeting. For example, one meeting can focus on how to go after delinquent clients.
Third, have a policy to keep information confidential so there can be an honest exchange of information.
Having a support group for your business can be immensely helpful. You don’t have to face all the challenges alone and can share successes and failures with other like-minded business owners.
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