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Will a B2B Peer Group Help You Grow Your Business?

Aug 17, 2007
Can I assume everyone knows what a business to business peer group is? Maybe you've heard of them called Mastermind Groups instead. In either case the principles are those of Napoleon Hill and his colleagues that have been in use since the early part of the last century.

In a nutshell it is a small group of people meeting regularly, using the power of small group dynamics that foster creativity and accountability - to realize their full potential. When people who respect each other commit to being accountable as part of a small group, amazingly powerful things become possible.

Napoleon Hill coined the concept, although I am quite sure it had been around forever, of the "mastermind alliance" in his powerful book "Think And Grow Rich" because he believed from his own experience that a group of like-minded, achievement oriented individuals could dramatically leverage each other's success.

So, for well over 75 years the mastermind process has proven itself as a valuable resource for people of every walk of life and every profession. If you read Napoleon Hill's book you will see some famous names, such as Andrew Carnegie who were part of his first mastermind alliance.

Each of the members of his group were business people - so in fact we can say with certainty that he was the founder of the B2B Peer Group process.

In case you are not familiar with the makeup of traditional peer groups (aka mastermind groups) I will describe them.

Some mastermind groups are put together by an organizer, someone whose job it is to bring together strangers, based on some criteria or another, and make groups out of them. Typically the people who become members of each group did not know each other beforehand. It was all arranged by the organizer.

The individuals pay their fees and the organizer sets up and perhaps manages the meetings for some prescribed period of time, after which the members either signup for another period, or they ask to be put in another group or the yare disillusioned and drop out altogether.

These groups can be successful, but it is more by luck than by design. Napoleon Hill was convinced that the success of the mastermind alliance had more to do with the relationships between and among the members than the agenda or other mechanics.

So the organizer based mastermind group process is fatally flawed from the beginning. The groups that work are the ones where, luckily for them, the individuals connected with one another and stuck it out long enough to create the relationships that make real accountability possible.

Another type of group, often referred to as CEO Peer Groups, are organized by professional facilitators with the meetings held at the facilitators office. In many ways they are the same as the typical organizer focused groups mentioned above. But in important ways they differ.

In this type of peer group the organizers are highly successful professionals already, who want to work with clients in a group setting, who have taken specific training in group facilitation and have purchased a license or franchise from a company with extensive resources for the individuals who will be the members of the various peer groups.

Being a member of one of these CEO peer groups will require and investment of more than $1,000 per month and the commitment of considerable time for meetings etc. Their principle benefits are the face to face meetings with the highly trained facilitator and other successful business owners (the fee structure guarantees that) are offset by the necessity of a "horizontal" group structure.

By "horizontal" group structure I mean that since the group's organizer has purchased a franchise for a specific geographic location and since no group would ever have two business owners in the same industry - who would want to be in a group with a direct competitor anyway, the possibility of learning from your actual peers is eliminated.

Historically business owners, everyone for that matter, gets the most actionable advice and help from other business owners in their industry. Anyone who tells you that's not true is trying to sell you something. Of course we all pick up ideas at Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce meetings. When we do we have to filter them through our experience to determine whether or not we think they'll work in our industry.

The 21st.Century B2B Peer Group eliminates this blind spot. These groups are organized "vertically" with everyone being in the same industry, just at different stages of development and in different parts of the country.

What does the 21st.Century B2B Peer Group look like? They operate 24/7/365, they defeat time and distance, they eliminate 90% of the cost associated with traditional mastermind groups, and they leverage the power of people with whom it was previously impossible to regularly collaborate.

I believe they are what Napoleon Hill and his colleagues would have created if it had been possible to do so at that time.

They take place over the phone and incorporate private Internet discussion boards, so time and distance are no longer an issue. Think about the money you'd save by not having to carve 3-4 hours twice a month out of your work day? And for those of you who live in rural areas the time commitment for a traditional peer group is even greater. Using the 21st. Century Peer Group model the 'dead time' is eliminated.

Wouldn't it be great to have the ear of the leading members of your industry? You and they are facing the same issues every day, you speak the same industry lingo, and have shared experiences. Ideas presented based on their experiences are directly relevant to you and vice versa.

Even if the industry leader's business is located half way across the country, instead of seeing them once or twice a year at the association meetings, you can be collaborating with them twice a month as part of your 21st. Century Peer Group.

In my personal experience nothing is more powerful in business than thoughtful, regular, strategic input from your peers, I know that for me it has made all the difference.

Whenever people ask me whether or not I recommend that they consider joining a peer group, a mastermind group of their peers, I always tell them if they are committed to realizing their full potential, a peer group is the most effective vehicle around.

Hey, if it worked for Napoleon Hill and Dale Carnegie, who can argue with its power?
About the Author
Wayne Messick is the publisher of www.iBizResources.com If you are a business advisor wanting to maximize your potential,here are strategies we are using to generate record revenues..If you are a business owner wanting to leverage what you are already doing right visit the Peer Groups area of our website.
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