Gaining a New Perspective: The Benefits of Business Peer Groups


Running a business is a huge responsibility, requiring hard work, dedication and in-depth knowledge. Business leaders often find themselves facing problems or asking questions, but don’t always have someone to turn to. Friends and colleagues may be able to offer suggestions or advice, but they will never be able to give a wholly unbiased opinion, and they will often be working under the same assumptions and with the same knowledge base as yourself. Even other business owners in your industry will be working under similar assumptions and looking at your challenges from a similar perspective. As a result, you may be missing solutions that would occur to someone outside your organisation or industry.

So, what’s the best way to get an unbiased, outside-in view of your business and its challenges from people with different perspectives and outlooks? Well, one thing you can do is to join a Business Peer Group.

Get a fresh, unbiased perspective on your business

A Business Peer Group give you the opportunity to discuss your challenges with like-minded people from a wide range of industries and organisations that ordinarily you wouldn’t get a chance to meet. With different business experiences, different assumptions and different knowledge bases, they can provide fresh perspectives, advice and support, potentially providing solutions you would never have thought of yourself. Because they’re not personal friends or directly involved in your business, the advice they give you will be honest and unbiased, essentially providing you with a free consultancy service.

Chris Andrews, Director of Chris Andrews Publications, said of his experiences with a business peer group, “It’s like having a group of extra non-executive directors, because although we’re all friendly, we’re not personal friends, and we’re not in business together, so those with actual direct knowledge can make a comment on my business, which I found helpful.”

At the same time, you will be able to bring your own unique experience and viewpoint to bear on the problems they’re facing, and provide honest feedback and advice for them too. Not only is this extremely rewarding in itself, you will build up a network of valuable business contacts and trusted advisers who can potentially continue to provide help and support to each other for years to come.

Peer Networks

With new cohorts starting soon, now is the perfect time to join Peer Networks, a national peer-to-peer networking programme for SME business leaders that want to grow and develop their organisation for future success.

Managed locally by SEMLEP’s Growth Hub, the programme combines structured, expert-led learning with the opportunity to join with fellow business owners and managers from across Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire to collaboratively work through your common business issues.

The number of places on the programme are limited, so sign up as soon as possible to guarantee your place. A representative of SEMLEP’s Growth Hub will then be in touch to discuss further details about your eligibility, the cohorts and start dates.

There are some eligibility criteria for joining the Peer Networks programme: Businesses should have operated for at least one year with a turnover of at least £100,000, have 5 or more employees and have an aspiration to improve. If you’re not eligible, please contact our team of dedicated Business Advisers to find out about the many other ways in which we can support your business.

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