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We can all benefit from advisers—they may be colleagues from the trenches who have been in business longer than we have. Or they’re from a different industry or field and can provide a unique perspective. Recently the Business development Bank of Canada (BDC) produced a report on 1,000 entrepreneurs that concludes: advisory boards can make a positive difference in your business. I think it worth commenting that an advisory board implies responsibility, ownership, perhaps even governance. For that reason I will use the term advisory group; these are people you can trust that are there for you, not the business per se.
One of BDC’s findings is that small and medium sized business experienced an average of 67% sales growth in the three years after forming an advisory ‘board’. Nearly six in 10 owners said their ‘boards’ contributed significantly to the business especially in innovation, risk management, and vision.
I meet many business owners who are already in a peer learning environment. They cite similar benefits – a trusted circle of peers they can discuss their business with, in a non-competitive environment. This path is somewhat different from an advisory group.
So how does one start – advisory group or peer learning group? Which path would you benefit the most from?