The Power of Peers: A Much Relied Upon Resource Among Small Business Owners

Use and Value of Resources by Small Business Owners and Nonprofit Leaders is a newly released study by Ventureneer, which provides insights into support systems upon which small business owners rely. Entrepreneurs rely more on each other than accountants, lawyers, or anyone else. However, it appears the most successful entrepreneurs rely almost equally on professional services and peer support.

Accounting, legal and banking advice can help you avoid the typical, and potentially costly, pitfalls. Many issues require collaboration between multiple professionals and tap more than one discipline; taxation and legal issues, for example, are often intertwined. Accountants, lawyers and bankers can also provide introductions to potential customers, suppliers, employees, and investors because of their many connections in the community. All are knowledgeable about sound business practices.

It’s no surprise that sometimes you have to pay for professional advice. But more often, entrepreneurs just want to speak with someone who understands the ups and downs of running a business. It’s not that your employees, friends and family don’t care about the issues you’re facing, it’s that they‘ve never faced them and can’t empathize. It can be a considerable comfort to know that other entrepreneurs faced similar challenges and opportunities and have the same drive, thirst for independence, fears, and sense of achievement.By talking with fellow small business owners, you can:

  • Leverage their experience to overcome business obstacles and take advantage of opportunities much more effectively
  • Sound out new ideas
  • Get a fresh perspective and a new way to approach a situation
  • Increase speed and effectiveness in decision making
  • Tap others to recharge your creative juices
Interestingly, while 61% of typical small business owners regularly seek guidance from peers (not shown in the above chart), they only regularly attend peer-to-peer advisory groups 17% of the time, which means there’s a whole lot of sharing that goes on outside of formal meetings.

 

According to respondents, mentors and coaches also provide direction, but to a lesser degree.

Who do you turn to when you need a second opinion?

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