Great Ideas for your Small Business: Join a Business Owners’ Support Group – There’s Strength in Numbers
Entrepreneurs have a very tough time admitting they need help. But the smartest entrepreneurs I know aren’t too proud to seek outside counsel and objective perspective.
There are many groups set up to function as self-help or peer counseling groups for troubled business owners. San Diego–based The Executive Committee or TEC, as it is known, has been around since 1957. Until recently, it focused mainly on big business, but now the group has a program for smaller companies—organizations that have been in business for three years or more with at least $3 mil- lion in revenues and twenty-five employees.
The by-invitation-only organization created the “TEC for Emerging Entrepreneurs” program with more than 200 members in thirteen states. Each group includes no more than fourteen CEOs from noncompeting industries who can afford to spend $5,400 a year on peer support.
There are many other groups out there that provide peer support and motivation for busy entrepreneurs. Joining your local chamber of commerce is a good place to start. Be sure to attend the monthly mixers and get to know as many members as possible. For more information visit the Chamber of Commerce of the United States website
Be sure to join a trade or professional association to connect with colleagues and competitors. I belong to several journalistic groups, and their publications keep me up-to- date on what’s happening in my profession.
Women business owners can join the National Association of Women Business Owners, which has chapters around the country. Chapters of the Women Presidents’ Organization provide peer counseling, educational events, and an annual conference.
Minority business owners can also contact the National Association of Minority Contractors, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, or the National Black Chamber of Commerce
Franchise owners should consider joining the International Franchise Association.