5 Reasons You Need a Business Peer Group
Do you have a business family?
I come from a flesh-and-blood family with a long tradition of entrepreneurship. For me, business and family have been one and the same almost my entire life.
But whether or not entrepreneurship was part of your birthright, you need a business family. Every business owner does.
Your business family isn’t the team you work with every day. It’s not the advisors who give you guidance on tax planning or selling your company.
And it’s not even a consultant who cares deeply about your success.
A business family is made up of fellow business owners. It’s the people who know exactly what you’re going through—because they’ve been before.
With your business family, you don’t have to have all the answers. You don’t have to be a leader. You don’t have to show your strength.
You can be vulnerable. You can be wrong. You can be a mess.
And that’s okay.
I’ve got business family on my mind right now. I’m a diehard Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) member, and joining this group has been one of the defining decisions of my career.
If you aren’t familiar with EO, check out their website or our article which compares EO to several other fantastic peer groups (Vistage, C12, and YPO). EO’s Entrepreneurial Masters Program (EMP) is something I return to year after year. And it’s consistently the place where I get the most clarity about what my businesses need next.
And I am extremely fired up to be attending and sponsoring the EO Nerve 2022 conference this September (If you’ll be down in Virginia Beach, come say hello! We’re going to have some great swag and an open bar on Thursday night.)
We are STILL figuring out what post-pandemic life looks like. Some of us are still weighing social activities with health and safety risks in mind. But with economic uncertainty looming ever larger, there has never been a better time to double down on your business family.
Top 5 Reasons to Find a Business Family
So in case you need more convincing, here are my top 5 reasons for finding that business family (whether it be through EO or another peer group):
1. Let down your guard.
No matter how close you are with your employees, there’s always some pressure to project confidence as their leader. With your business family, you can get 100% real about the insecurities and challenges you’re facing.
2. Learn from others’ mistakes.
The best shortcut to business success is learning from people who have screwed up before you. This is literally the reason I run a consulting company—to spare other entrepreneurs some of the pain I have gone through. But you won’t hear those stories unless you’ve established an inner circle of peers who feel comfortable sharing them.
3. Build your network.
For once, I’m not talking about biz dev—although that can be an incidental outcome of having a peer group, it’s decidedly NOT the point. I’m talking about establishing a network that can support you, connect you, open doors for you, and generally be there for you when times get tough (sooner or later, they always will).
4. Cross-pollinate your knowledge.
One of the best ways to get ahead of your competition is to do things differently. Peer groups give you the chance to learn from other industries and get exposed to new approaches and ideas.
5. Get honest feedback.
Your business family is a group that doesn’t have to deal with politics or drama. (bet you can’t say that about your flesh-and-blood family). If you want honest feedback about any aspect of your business—including your performance as CEO inside of it—a peer group might be the one place you can get it.
You don’t choose the family you’re born into. But you can—and should—choose a business family that can help celebrate your wins and support you during your losses.
If you have a business family you love, hang on to them. You are one of the lucky ones.
If you don’t have a business family yet, there’s no time like the present.
Check out your local EO chapter or any of the other great organizations in your area to get started.