Small Business Tips: 7 Reasons to Join a Peer Group

By David Crary  

We are involved in many organizations. Our involvement can range from simply being on a roster to leading the entire efforts of the group. I have a friend who was in charge of the United Way campaign for a city with over 200,000 people. This was a big volunteer job and his employer allowed him the time necessary to move that cause through the year and reach their goal. It was one of his most challenging and yet inspiring roles he has ever been a part of. Sometimes we need to say “yes” more often and put ourselves out there and perhaps beyond our comfort zone.

monkeysWhen an acquaintance of mine called to invite me to be part of a CEO peer group she was involved with my initial reaction was “no, too busy” but I decided to jump in. I am glad I did. Gathering with these individuals is one of my favorite things to do.

Here are 7 reasons joining a peer group was great for me and my business (and why you should join one!) 

  1. Friendship - Gathering with your peers for discussion and perhaps a meal will usually result in deeper connections and with this comes the strengthening of relationships. When our children were toddlers, we shared our joys and concerns with other parents. In a peer group you share your joys and concerns about your business and sometimes your personal life depending on how small and intimate the group is. These peers can become friends for life.
     
  2. Education - We generally bring in one topic when we meet so we can share our experiences with this issue and then have discussion time so that we are learning something during the process. If warranted, we bring in a speaker to level set the discussion and provide the educational information. I always walk out of these discussions with great nuggets of information that I can use back at the office or in my personal life. Growing in knowledge is very important for me.
     
  3. New Ideas for Better Performance -We often of have an “ah-ha” moment in the room when someone shares an idea that is helping them grow their business. Perhaps they have found an alternate way to source products that will be better for my business, or they found an agency that has provided key social media ideas to grow their business. The list is endless.
     
  4. Someone to Vent To - Being a CEO means that there aren’t many people in the organization that I can vent to. My wife is very patient but I think she can sometimes tire of the venting. The peer group is fantastic for sharing those situations that simply make us crazy and we can dump on them. It is so refreshing to get this off our minds.
     
  5. Benchmarking - As business owners we all have benchmarks that we are trying to hit. What should our growth rate be this year? How many employees do we have and what is the average pay? What's our revenue per employee? What are our customer acquisition costs? The list is endless and learning this information from your peers can be very helpful.
     
  6. Best Practice Guidance - Sometimes we get stuck and aren’t 100% certain what our best practice should be for a certain situation. Maybe we want to push our workforce to 10 hour days but does that make them less productive in the long run? What are my peers finding in this? How about mobile field service software
     
  7. Find Software Solutions for Common Business Issues - It is great to get endorsements on the leading software solution that my peers are using at their companies. What CRM do they use? Do they use GPS tracking devices? What about work order software? Discussion on the pros and cons that they found when researching the solution and the cost of implementation can really help guide you and cut down the time to get something in place.

Go have some fun by either joining or creating your peer group. Your business will be healthier and you will be happier that you did.

Want other great tips on how to improve your business? Check out our free eBook, 33 Stupid Things Contractors Do (And How to Fix Them) today!

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