Insight from your peers By David Smith on Mar 10, 2023
One of the challenges when running your own business is that it can be a lonely place. You’re making decisions based on your own experience and those of your partners if you’re in partnership. The insights and decisions you make can be self-reinforcing as they’re based on what is already happening and past experience in your business.
Yet, there are thousands of practitioners out there who have their own experiences and insights as to what works and what doesn’t work. They have scars and great learnings from the mistakes they have made. Perhaps leveraging this knowledge might be a great way to gain insight into how you can improve your business.
Many firms like to look at benchmarks to compare how their business is tracking compared to other businesses. Benchmarking only goes so far. It might highlight where your business may be performing better or worse than others but what is lacking is insight as to what is driving the performance.
For some years now we have been conducting “Online Collaboration Network” meetings (www.smithink.com/online-collaboration-network). These meetings bring together similar firms online every couple of months for 90 minutes. These meetings allow them to raise issues and to discuss with others the approaches they have taken. Before decisions are made they’re able to learn from others to understand successes and failures which can help more informed decisions to be made.
Outperformance can be driven by a whole variety of issues. Some might be more courageous in pricing, some might simply work harder, some are better at culling the BMW clients (per Mark Holton – Bitch, Moan & Winge). Some have better processes and/or technology just to name a few issues. Others may wish to have better work/life balance and are willing to trade it off for lesser performance. It is understanding these underlying issues that delivers true insight.
Bouncing around strategies to address the core issues being faced by everyone is also very helpful. No-one may have the perfect answer but merely talking about these issues with others can help clarify the best approach for your business. How to attract and retain star performers is of constant interest to everyone as is the experience of different firms with different technology solutions.
One of our groups has been running for over seven years. The members have found it invaluable in developing plans for their firm. Relationships have been built where firms interact outside the formal meetings when an issue arises.
By running the meetings online, costs can be kept low and firms from across the country can join together so that there is no issue in sharing information with potential competitors. Everyone these days is pretty comfortable with video conferencing. It works well.
The firms share their financial performance online which goes deeper than just profit and loss information. Information on salaries and productivity is also gathered and reported. This forms the basis of discussion to understand the drivers of any out performance.
If you’re interested, you can participate in an obligation free, free trial to experience how it works and the benefit gained from sharing insights with your peers.
This can be an invaluable resource to help you manage your business.