Does the input of your fellow entrepreneur matter to you very much? For some, sitting in conferences and listening to Powerpoint presentations is just a distraction from the real work of running a successful small business. But for others, the input of another franchise owner can be of great value.
This might partly explain the rise of recent the business group. The advantages of this trend were laid out in a recent article on the New York Times You’re The Boss blog. Jay Goltz, the post’s author, knows a thing or two about running a small business, as he’s the owner of 5 businesses in the Chicago area. He blogs that business groups, while involving a serious invesment and money and providing a 'mixed track record' of results, can provide the entrepreneur with a great range of rewards.
The business groups that Goltz's refers to provide "a forum for noncompeting businesses to share experiences and compare notes". Obviously, these business groups will connect entrepreneurs directly with other like-minded business owners. But often times, it’s not the operational similarities that will prove enlightening, it’s the differences.
“Sometimes what you can get from a group is not advice or a lesson. It might be an observation, a different perspective, or just a better understanding. Here’s an example: In all four of the groups I’ve joined, I’ve been the only retailer. I’m not sure why. Maybe most retailers are too small, maybe they don’t want to spend the time or money, or maybe no one is calling them to join. As I was exposed to the inner workings of other businesses, I came to realize that while we did have things in common, there were some stark differences.”
If you're looking to get closer to the small business community around you, this guide of upcoming events will from Small Biz Trends is quite helpful. Beyond that, you’ll find all of the relevant dates on the national and international franchise calendar at the Franchise Direct Expo Guide.