This article explores the value of peer groups and the real benefits to business owners.

What do we mean by peers?

Relying on the dictionary definition, ‘a person of the same age, status or ability of another specified person’. Its people you interact with on a regular basis that know you quite well and feel a connection with. They may be a colleague but not always.

Why are peers important?

Depending on your relationship with your peers, they can be a valuable source of support. You can use peers as a sounding board, to challenge your thinking, help you when you are stuck, and provide encouragement. Obviously, this works both ways as you can also provide this support for them. Personally, the most rewarding peer relationships start with a ‘connection’ – an empathy, understanding, liking of the other person. This gradually develops as you get to know each other better, progressing into one based on trust and deep understanding.

When Peer Groups form

This is where the magic can really happen. A collective gathering (could be virtual or face to face) where a group of peers get together. The value of having several people that know each other well acting as a peer group can be very powerful. Everybody has different experiences. One person might notice something or have an expertise that is different to another person. Having the collective benefit of working together with several peers provides different perspectives.

The value of peer groups as a Business Owner

Striking out on your own starting a business is exciting but it can be lonely particularly if you have been used to the company of colleagues previously. They’ll be good days and bad days, things will happen that you’d appreciate discussing with others that might have experienced similar; in the same way you would have bounced ideas around with a work colleague in the past. It’s times like this when having the support of a peer group can be invaluable. For some the group might be in the form of a regular networking group they attend, for others it might be a group of former colleagues who have also started their own business or it might be via an online group or forum. The various groups on facebook and linked in are a great place to start.

The most important thing is finding a group that works for you and vice versa and building relationships to form an effective peer group. Finally, remember its a two way street and there will be times when you are that person to turn too!

Please do get in touch if you would like to find out more about peer groups I am involved in