Teaming up with other business owners to pursue a mutually beneficial goal is a wise move; the caveat is that there has to be a limit to the number of participants. A small group like a small business can move fast and can easily adapt to changing market conditions. A large group is like a large business, it has to go through a layer of management, committees and subcommittees before it can take any action. The result is usually a watered down version of the original action item and chances are it won’t work if it is ever implemented.
Early success is essential for continued group growth. The first step is to develop a mini-strategic plan which identifies the group’s purpose and goals. Overly ambitious goals that take a long time to implement are discouraged at the beginning. The ideal first goal is one that can produce positive results in a short period of time, something within the first month. The decided action item has to be something that requires total group participation so that everyone has taken “ownership” in the implementation process.
Group size in a joint business improvement venture should be between three and five members. The values of the participants are the building blocks and these will be expressed at the mini-strategic planning session.
Total commitment by the individual members is essential. The group must meet at least once a week and that meeting time is sacred. All other functions, including the operation of an individual business (yes, extenuating circumstances may come up) take second place.
The early part of the group formation includes the building of a trust relationship and the sharing of indivual strengths and weaknesses to allow for group balance and support. Even though this is a business relationship, the development of deep friendships will grow on their own accord.
Several things can come in the way of a successful endeavor between business owners. They include: lack of commitment, lack of accountability and a lack of faith in the future potential of the group. By starting with small, achievable action items, the members have an opportunity to see each other in action. In the early stages, a group may lose a member for whatever reason; that’s ok. The remaining members need to decide if that member should be replaced or to continue with the remainder of the group. Once the group is formed, the addition of another group member has to be given carefully consideration and should have an unconditional unanimous vote by the remaining members.
This type of group endeavor can be very powerful. It allows its members to learn from one another while still running their own businesses. Such a venture has an open end; most often the group will become greater than the sum of the individual businesses that formed it.
It’s never too late to be what you might have been. George Elliot
Nick J. Petra CFP exceed your expectations by subscribing to www.onebizcentral.com