January 25


11 Reasons Small Business Owners Should Join a Peer Advisory Board

By Andrew Martin

January 25, 2024

Being a small business owner can be incredibly difficult at times. There are moments when you might feel lonely and like you’re venturing into uncharted territory.

The good news is you don’t have to go it alone. Joining a peer advisory board can be transformative for business owners, providing a supportive environment where you can share and learn from others who have faced similar challenges and successes. And let’s face it — joining a peer advisory board is way easier and more affordable than creating an advisory board yourself.

As the founder of Six Figure Dinners, I’ve seen firsthand the transformative impact a peer advisory board can have on business owners. Through the collective experiences and feedback of our members, I’ve gathered insights into the unique benefits that come from engaging with a group of like-minded entrepreneurs.

In this article, I’ll share the top reasons why joining a peer advisory board can be one of the best decisions you make for yourself and your business.

Why Join a Peer Advisory Board?

1. Get Access to Diverse Perspectives

One of the best things about joining a peer advisory board is the access it provides to diverse outside perspectives.

As a business owner, I know how easy it is for us to become locked into our own way of thinking and problem-solving. The problem with this is we’re often limited by our individual experiences and industry norms.

But when you’re part of a group that brings together entrepreneurs from various industries and backgrounds, you get access to a wide range of unique insights and interesting points of view.

Here’s why this is so important and beneficial:

  • Broader Problem-Solving Approach: When you have a chance to inquire and listen to how others tackle their different problems, you can apply these different approaches to your own business. I’ve found this often leads to innovative solutions you might not have otherwise considered had you approached the problem in your typical manner.
  • Cross-Industry Innovation: One of the things I’ve learned from attending multiple peer board meetings is that sometimes the best ideas come from outside your field. What’s common practice in one industry could be totally new and revolutionary in another. By engaging with peers who aren’t competitors and who come from different sectors, you can learn all types of new techniques and strategies that give you a competitive edge in your own industry.
  • Avoiding Echo Chambers: It’s all too easy to get caught in an echo chamber, especially in familiar business networks where everyone shares similar experiences and viewpoints. A diverse peer advisory board can help you escape the echo chamber and allow you to think more critically and creatively.
  • Cultural and Global Insights: Understanding different cultural perspectives can be a key to expanding your business. Peers from various cultural backgrounds can provide insights into new markets and consumer behaviors.
  • Enhanced Creativity: Exposure to diverse perspectives naturally fosters creativity. When you’re regularly interacting with people who think differently, it stimulates your brain to think in new ways, leading to more creative business strategies and solutions.

2. Get Answers to “UnGoogleable” Problems

When you own a business, you’ll often find yourself dealing with problems you can’t just Google to get an answer to. And let’s be honest, even if you could Google them, there’s so much terrible advice on the internet from people who’ve never actually run a business.

Peer advisory board members benefit from discussions that provide specific, actionable strategies tailored to their unique business needs. These hard-earned insights come from your peers who have actually walked in your shoes and understand the intricacies of owning a business.

I often say that these insights are your shortcut to success as an entrepreneur, sparing you countless hours, effort, and common pains of business growth.

3. Challenge Your Ideas in a Safe Environment

The competitive landscape is often cutthroat. You can’t exactly ask your competitors for advice on how to overcome the challenges you’re facing.

The great thing about peer advisory groups is you’re in a safe space with other business owners who aren’t from your industry. This is a space where confidentiality is strictly adhered to and where there’s no need for safeguarding trade secrets or competitive strategies.

This openness creates an environment where there’s genuine sharing and total transparency. It’s a place where everyone can be vulnerable, allowing members to discuss their challenges and strategies freely without the fear of giving away a competitive edge.

It’s a unique setting where the focus is solely on mutual growth and support, unencumbered by industry rivalry or conflict of interest.

4. Maintain Accountability

Did you know that studies have found having an accountability partner increases your chances of reaching your goal by over 85%? This stat is a good example of the power of collective support and accountability, which is exactly what peer advisory boards offer.

Peer advisory boards create a space where accountability matters. When you have a trusted circle of peers, each member becomes an accountability partner for others, providing encouragement and motivation to stay on track.

The group setting only amplifies the effect, as you’re not just accountable to one person, but to an entire board of peers who are truly invested in your success.

This collective accountability goes well beyond basic goal-setting. It involves ongoing check-ins, constructive feedback, and a shared commitment to progress. It’s a dynamic where your fellow business owners don’t just remind you of your goals but also provide insights and strategies to help you achieve them.

This level of support and accountability is almost impossible to replicate in other settings and can play a huge role in turning your business goals into reality.

5. Pursue Professional & Personal Growth

I believe the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who are consistently pushing themselves to be better.

In a peer advisory board, you’re not only exposed to varied business strategies and insights but also to diverse life experiences and perspectives. This can be very helpful in achieving professional and personal growth.

As you engage with other members, you’ll find opportunities to expand your leadership skills, enhance your communication abilities, and develop a deeper understanding of different business cultures and practices.

Discussions can many times go beyond business metrics, touching on work-life balance, stress management, and personal fulfillment.

This holistic approach to growth means that as your business scales up, you as an individual grow alongside it. You’ll acquire all the tools you need to succeed in business and lead a balanced, fulfilling life.

6. Learn from Shared Experiences

You might believe you’re facing challenges that no one else is, but as the old saying goes, there’s nothing new under the sun.

If you join a peer advisory board, you’ll quickly discover that many of your struggles aren’t unique to you. Other members have likely faced similar situations and can offer actionable insights based on their experiences.

I can’t overstate just how valuable this shared learning environment is. Instead of trying to work your way through problems on your own, you can learn firsthand from the successes and mistakes of others. This can save you time, resources, and the stress of trial and error.

A lot of Six Figure Dinners members also talk about how reassuring it is to hear how others have navigated similar challenges. You realize you’re not alone in your journey which can be a powerful morale booster.

The collective wisdom of a peer advisory board is such an amazing resource that can move your business forward in ways you might not have imagined on your own.

7. Build Useful Connections

First, let me say that a peer advisory board isn’t a networking group (that’s a common myth I often debunk). In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Networking groups are there to sell your products or services, so everyone is putting their best foot forward.

In a peer advisory board, you can relax and be honest. This space is for you to show weakness and be okay with that.

Now, having said that, the connections you build within a peer advisory board are often more profound and valuable than the ones you might make in a typical networking setting.

That’s because these connections are based on mutual understanding, shared experiences, and genuine support. As you engage in deep, honest, and vulnerable discussions about your business challenges and successes, you naturally form strong, meaningful bonds with other members.

Moreover, these connections often extend beyond the board meetings. Members frequently find themselves reaching out to each other for entrepreneurship advice, support, or just to bounce ideas off someone who understands.

8. Leverage Resource Sharing

Following up on my last point, resource sharing is a natural part of being a peer board member. Tapping into the collective resources of the group can be of great benefit to each member’s business.

When you’ve chosen the right peer advisory group, you gain access to a valuable pool of resources that can be pivotal in addressing your business challenges. This could range from sharing trusted vendor contacts to recommending software tools for certain applications.

The idea is that each board member brings their own unique set of resources to the table, which can be used by others.

For instance, one member might know of a great digital marketing agency that could help another member looking to boost their online presence. Another member might have experience with a particular business process or technology that could streamline operations for someone else in the group.

This kind of resource sharing is particularly beneficial because it comes with the endorsement of trusted peers who have already experienced the value of these resources.

9. Avoid Expensive Mistakes

Making mistakes is part of being a business owner. It’s only natural. But when you’re a member of a peer advisory board, you can greatly limit your mistakes by getting quality advice from others and by learning from the mistakes of your peers.

You’re not just gaining insights into what works, you’re also learning what doesn’t. Often, the most valuable lessons come from understanding the missteps and errors others have made in their business journeys. By sharing these experiences openly, every member of the group can avoid repeating the same errors, saving time, money, and potentially even their business.

Remember, mistakes cost you money. So, every mistake you can avoid represents increased profits for your business.

10. Become More Proactive

Too often we’re stuck playing defense as business owners, being reactive to issues that pop up. Wouldn’t it be nice to switch gears and play offense for a change, being proactive in our approach to business challenges?

A peer advisory board is an environment where proactive strategies aren’t just discussed but encouraged and refined. You’ll learn to anticipate potential challenges and develop strategies to address them before they become problems.

This shift from a reactive to a proactive mindset can be transformative for your business.

The collective wisdom of the group can also guide you in implementing these strategies effectively. You’ll gain the confidence to make bold decisions, take calculated risks, and capitalize on opportunities with a clear vision of the future.

This approach can lead to a more robust, resilient business that’s better equipped to handle whatever the future holds.

11. Give Back to Other Business Owners

A key characteristic of the peer advisory board concept is the commitment to reciprocal growth. It isn’t just a forum for receiving advice, it’s a community where each member is both a learner and a mentor.

Members aren’t just seeking guidance for their own challenges but are equally dedicated to offering their insights and experiences to help their peers.

This aspect of giving back is incredibly rewarding. You have the unique opportunity to help fellow entrepreneurs navigate challenges you’ve already overcome.

Your insights and advice can be the guiding light for someone else struggling with a similar issue. It’s a way to pay it forward, contributing to the growth and success of other businesses.

To me, this is the real secret ingredient, and it’s what makes a peer board of advisors like nothing else.

I believe that the most fruitful relationships in business are those where knowledge and experience are shared freely and generously. That’s why I seek members who are enthusiastic about being part of a collective advisory board, contributing to the success of others as they also grow their own enterprises.

Ready to Join a Peer Advisory Board?

If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, to learn from the collective wisdom of successful entrepreneurs, and to contribute your own experiences to a supportive community, then Six Figure Dinners is the place for you.

Explore what Six Figure Dinners can offer and see how being part of a peer advisory board can transform your business and personal growth.

Click here to learn more and join us as a guest at an upcoming event.

Andrew Martin

Andrew is Founder and CEO of Six Figure Dinners. He's also a co-owner of JARA Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in and operates businesses across various industries, including financial services, recruiting, digital media, and real estate. Prior to this, he owned and managed 11 Menchie's Frozen Yogurt locations and a Menchie's Food Truck, which he sold in 2014. Andrew's other investments mainly target small to mid-sized consumer industries.

He earned his MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management, specializing in Brand Management. Before pursuing his MBA, Andrew led a sales territory at The TREX Company in Boise, ID. Throughout his career, he has volunteered in various capacities, such as offering pro bono mediation services and assisting underprivileged families in improving their living situations.

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