By: Kevin Brent- director of BizSmart
Peer-to-peer business support has never been more important than during the current times of uncertainty and has helped business owners address their challenges and get the support they need to prepare for future growth.
Being part of a support group of like-minded professionals offers endless benefits, including providing accountability and the chance to discover new ideas and opportunities. However, like with anything, you get out what you put in.
Here are 4 ways to get the most out of your peer-to-peer support group and, ultimately, take your business to the next level.
Be open to other opinions and ideas
It is often said that in the business world nobody has a monopoly on good ideas, and it’s true. The most successful entrepreneurs are open-minded and welcome new ideas and perspectives from their fellow group members in order to see more opportunities, approaches and solutions to problems.
If you truly want to conceive more effective ways of doing things, you have to be able to see past ego and be willing to apply other ways of thinking.
Don’t approach it like a networking group
Whilst peer-to-peer support groups do provide an opportunity to expand your network, to get the most out of your group it is important to understand that networking is not its sole purpose. Peer-to-peer support is a structured, trusted intervention with a small cohort of businesses with similar growth trajectories where challenges and opportunities are shared, and ideas are exchanged.
If you approach peer-to-peer support simply as networking with peers, you won’t experience its true value and could miss out on a whole array of lessons and potential avenues for growth.
Be honest and upfront
Peer-to-peer support is a safe and trusted forum where you should feel comfortable openly discussing your plans, ideas and any issues you are trying to overcome. Therefore, to take the most away from every session, you must be honest upfront and without fear of judgement.
Knowing your strengths and presenting them to others can often be much easier than acknowledging and admitting your weaknesses and problems. However, the chances are that whatever you are going through, someone else in your group will have gone through, or will be going through, too. By being honest about the situation you are in, you are far more likely to leave your sessions with practical advice and actions to help steer your business in the right direction.
Treat it as a business priority
Some business owners forget to think about peer-to-peer support meetings as work-related, scheduled time and will only make it to a session if it fits into their schedule or what’s left of their open time. However, part of great peer networks is the value that you each bring and, therefore, if you fail to show up not only do you miss out on the value of others’ insights, but others miss out on your contribution, too.
If you want to truly benefit from your support group and offer help to others, you need to treat it as a business priority and be really intentional when it comes to making room in your schedule.
You wouldn’t cancel a meeting with an exciting new business prospect unless it was a real emergency, so view your peer-to-peer meetings in the same way.
As the famous saying goes, no man is an island, and this is never truer than when running your own business. A lack of support and advice is one of the most fundamental reasons for business failures but, by following these 4 tips, you can maximise all that peer-to-peer support has to offer and take your business to new heights.