We often hear from business owners who feel they can’t properly share the challenges of running a business with their friends, family, employees, consultants or even the people they have hired. Without a reliable network to share concerns with, it can be difficult to brainstorm ways to help your specific business grow. Even expert advice often can’t compare to sharing your concerns with a group of people who not only understand your business but also understand the pressures you face as a business owner.
That’s where local peer-to-peer external CEO advisory boards can be valuable. They bring together like-minded business owners across a variety of industries who can all share insight and expertise in order to help each other’s businesses grow. In these peer-to-peer boards, members come together as equals in business with a shared goal of growing their companies and developing their own skills as business owners and leaders. This creates an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust; where members can be frank about their challenges and questions.
Here are three key ways that joining a peer-to-peer business advisory board can help you grow your business:
1. Augment your core competencies
Every business owner has specific strengths and weaknesses. You may be excellent at keeping your business on track fiscally and finding inefficiencies but be less adept at communicating with your employees or developing a marketing strategy.
Each member of a peer advisory board will come with a different unique set of strengths and weaknesses, tried and tested in the real world. This makes a board a powerful tool for business owners to help fill the gaps in each other’s knowledge and grow their own capabilities in other areas. Along with receiving advice, you will also get an opportunity to share your own knowledge. That challenges you to grow, as well as gives you an opportunity to help other business owners.
2. Help you evaluate new ideas and strategies
Coming up with effective business growth strategies, marketing strategies, succession strategies, etc. can be difficult. Adapting generic advice to your specific business is a challenge, and evaluating whether or not a specific strategy will work for you is easier with the help of other seasoned CEO’s. In a board with a diverse membership, it’s likely one of your peers has come across whichever situation you’re considering in the past and can give you custom-tailored advice.
Your board members can also help you ask the tough critical questions or offer suggestions and caveats based on their own personal experience. They can help you uncover your blind spots and confront gaps in your line of reasoning to make sure your new strategy is watertight.
3. Create accountability
Many business leaders excel at meeting the day-to-day deadlines of the business. But big-picture goals designed to stretch the business — like implementing a new marketing strategy, networking with potential business partners or some form of a merger/acquisition — often get pushed to the back burner.
A business owner advisory board helps provide accountability to keep you on track with big-picture goals. Knowing that you will need to walk into your next meeting and report on your progress provides the positive peer pressure to accomplish those things that will truly grow your business.
Along with providing peer pressure and accountability, members of a business owner advisory board can help you understand why you’re having trouble missing certain milestones or goals. They can help you identify which issues are holding you back or brainstorm ways to get obstacles out of your path.
Whether you’re just getting your first business off the ground or you’ve been around the block a few times before, you’ll benefit from a business owner advisory board. Don’t underestimate the power a group of likeminded business owners can have when they put their attentions and business acumen toward the same goals.