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Whether you are an experienced or new business owner, having a peer advisory board or team can make a significant difference for you and your business.
As business owners, we are faced with a variety of opportunities and challenges, some common and others quite complex and unique. While many business owners face their issues and accomplishments alone, some have discovered the power of peer support groups.
Having a sounding board of peer advisors who have “been there, done that,” who can share their best practices and objective feedback is powerful and effective for the support and evolvement of business owner leaders.
The foundation of any successful Peer Advisory group is that its members come from non-competitive businesses and strictly adhere to respecting confidentiality. What happens in a peer group meeting stays in a peer group meeting. Thanks for the loan Las Vegas.
Meeting under confidential circumstances promotes the sharing of a plethora of sensitive issues that business owners are faced with. Whether just starting a business, shifting or growing one, the issues are real and the peer support invaluable.
Of course, not all groups are considered equal. Each organization has its own structure and every one of their groups has its own unique culture. No matter which organization or group is right for you, business owners should not face running their businesses alone.
The access to outside experience, objective advice, support and accountability can be expected to propel your growth in business and as leaders.
I share these opinions from having “been there, done that” myself. Having owned a structural engineering business for over 23 years, I spent almost ten of those years in a peer advisory group. My group consisted of a diverse group of men and women business owners, with companies generating annual gross revenues of at least $1 million dollars. I attribute much of my success, and sanity for that matter, to having a sounding board of trusted peers.
Today, I have the honor and privilege of helping second stage women business owners-generating at least $1 million dollars in annual revenues for services based industries and $2 million for manufacturing. As a facilitator for the Women Presidents Organization (WPO), I lead a group of 18 outstanding women business owner members in highly structured and effective monthly roundtable meetings.
While there are several, here are just a few Peer Advisory Groups that you may want to compare:
· Women Presidents Organization (WPO) www.womenpresidentsorg.com
· Executive Advisory Forum (EAF) www.executiveadvisoryforum.com
· The Alternative Board (TAB) www.thealternativeboard.com
· Vistage www.vistage.com
Feel free to contact me if you’d like my help in deciding which peer advisory group may be best for you.
Allison is a Certified Professional Coach, Licensed DISC and One Page Business Plan® Consultant and Facilitator with over 23 years of firsthand business ownership expertise, specializing in Communications and Strategic Planning. She strategically helps leaders and their teams get further faster.
Allison@coppiacommunications.com or 925.876.3161.
Is It a Lie That You Should Treat Others the Way You Want to Be Treated?
By Allison S. Tabor, CPC, CPSM
Did you ever have a conversation with someone that didn’t turn out as expected? Have you been completely stumped or disappointed by someone’s reaction? Have you approached a person with the thoughtfulness and care that you’d expect from others, yet their reaction was not at all what you expected? That is because people don’t want to be treated the way you want to be treated, rather they want to be treated the way they want to be treated. This is a very important distinction.
The key is to understand that we all have our own preferred communication styles and one size doesn’t fit all. Understanding your own communication style and that of others can lead to greater success.
So, how do you learn about your own style and recognize that of others? One of my favorite tools is the highly validated DISC (Dominance, Influencing, Steadiness, Compliance) assessment. DISC is the universal language of human behavior and is used by Fortune 500 companies and small businesses in more than 90 countries in 40 languages.
While I consider DISC to be one of the most effective communication tools, there are other great resources available for understanding differences in communication styles.
A great example for personal communication development is The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman. Mr. Chapman understands that people want to be treated the way they want to be treated. Through his extensive experience, (Dr. Chapman has a Ph.D., MRE, MA and BA. He is an author, pastor and speaker. The Five Love Languages has been translated into 36 languages) he discovered that people have their own communication dialects and he classified them into what he calls the Five Love Languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Gift Gifting, Quality Time and Physical Touch. We each have one that is predominant and influences how we want to be treated.
For example, if you are a Words of Affirmation person, you respond best to recognition in the form of verbal acknowledgement. Someone can go out of his way for you, shower you with gifts, spend quality time with you, and it will not have the same impact as his simply telling you how much he appreciates you. Dr. Chapman’s book includes a simple assessment and is a great read.
The point is that whether you use the highly validated DISC instrument for business or the Five Love Languages for improved personal communication, it is to recognize that we are all unique and want to be communicated with our own communication style in mind.
If you are a business executive, especially if you lead a team, I’d love to help you achieve better results through improved communication. Just reach out, as I am happy to explain just how.
I’d like to share some takeaways a client experienced during an executive coaching session. Perhaps there is something helpful in here for you too?
Executive coaching sessions can range from being very structured to less structured to allow time for business executives to discuss whatever critical issues they may be facing. Aha moments come during both types of coaching sessions.
During a semiweekly call with a business owner client, she shared that for the first time in 14 years, the business was experiencing cash-flow problems. Specifically, they were in their slower season, rapidly approaching the end of their line of credit, and they were carrying unexpected bad debt on their accounts receivable. She described it as a perfect storm.
Are you prepared to weather the storms in your business? Are you doing as much as possible to minimize the severity of potential storms or better yet thwart them to the extent possible?
There are many things that can affect cash flow. Here are just a few things you may want to consider:
- Have you carefully evaluated the payment risk with each client?
- Are your agreements well managed, including having signed contracts, with a clearly defined scope of work?
- Are you collecting retainers before beginning work?
- Is your billing system efficient and reliable?
- Are you regularly and concurrently monitoring your accounts receivable, backlog and available cash?
- Do you have a progressive collection process and is it being consistently followed?
- Do you have a stop work policy for delinquent accounts?
- Do you have a sufficient line of credit?
Don’t think you need a line of credit? Think again, as even stable businesses can become unstable under unexpected conditions.
- Have a sufficient line of credit available and reserve it for operating expenses during fluctuating cash flow periods.
- Avoid using a line of credit for capital expenses or equipment. Instead consider a separate equipment or business loan.
Teach your customers how you expect to be treated.
- Be clear with expectations and then follow through. Clients respect and respond to friendly but firm expectations.
- Avoid becoming complacent, remaining diligent from contract issuance through collection.
Through the process of inquiry, my client was able to recognize opportunities that would improve her company’s cash flow. She shifted from feeling helpless to hopeful and is ready to implement some proactive changes. This is just one example of what a coaching session could lead to. I’d love to be your “thinking partner” during coaching sessions too. Please invite me to share just how.