Virtual Groups

Virtual Groups for Business Owners Anywhere


(For our face-to-face groups, go here.)

Large organizations have a board of outside advisors. Small businesses often lack this invaluable resource. We provide it.

Our groups are limited to owners of established, growing companies who are dealing with the opportunities and challenges of growth.

As you grow, you may find that your company outgrows the way you run your business, and you can become the bottleneck to your own growth.

I help you break through the management habits and attitudes that keep you stuck at small. This frees you up to bring in more business, build strategic relationships, create the next things–and to get more time off.

Tackling these growth challenges is tough to do by yourself. If it was easy, you would already have done it.

“I have no one to talk with about my business challenges. II can’t talk with my employees or my spouse. I feel isolated in my decision making.”

You don’t have to feel like this. Growing and running your business is a lot easier if you get needed help. The best help often comes from your peers–other business owners. And they don’t have to be sitting in the same room with you.

WE HARNESS THE POWER OF A GROUP OF SUCCESSFUL OWNERS
— whether across the table or across the continent

While there are many groups for start-ups and sole entrepreneurs, our Business Groups draw companies with a handful to a hundred employees.

Join one of our groups of savvy business owners and you’ll get the support you need to tackle the challenges you face.

In our tel-online groups, you connect with us 
from your office or your home.

You’ll get:

• Problem-solving on your growth
and other challenges.
• Feedback and validation
• Goal setting and accountability
• Role models
• An opportunity to learn by teaching others


 

 


HOW THE VIRTUAL GROUPS WORK

For people outside the San Francisco Area, or who prefer to work from their office, I conduct virtual groups via conference call and web conference. (For in-person groups, go here)

Twice a month, everyone in the group phones in to a conference call number. These are not webinars, where you sit and listen to me drone on, but fully interactive sessions where we can talk with each other and share materials via Google Docs, Dropbox and other media.

These groups operate about the same as the in-person groups. Two major differences:

— Two 2-hour sessions each month, instead of one 4-hour. Just because being on the phone for that long is too much for most of us!

— Groups tend to be smaller (6 to 8).

The leader (that’s me) conducts the two-hour meeting. You give a short check in on your progress since last meeting, then we tackle issues the members bring up. You can bring up any business issue. “Peer to peer” problem solving is the focus and this leads to solutions as it develops learning and trust among the participants. Here are some that are familiar to any business owner:
“I’ve got this problem employee.”
“We’ve got more business than we can handle, and can’t find good workers.”
“Business is down, and we have high overhead.”
“Give me some feedback on our new website.”
“I’d like to groom my managers to take over so I can eventually retire.”

At the end, you submit your commitments for next time.  During some meetings, I lead an exercise to help you polish your management skills.

The verbal interaction among the owners is critical. Newcomers sometimes doubt that these groups can have the same level of interaction as our face-to-face groups. But visiting one session dispels this concern.  Some are concerned that everyone will talk at once, but this seldom happens.

1 on 1 Coaching. Once a month, you get an hour-long 1-on-1 with me by phone, where we dig into issues in greater detail.

Plan Workshop. Each year we hold a planning session, where each member (and guests also) puts together a practical plan of action for the coming year. (The virtual plan session works a bit differently from our daylong face-to-face session.) Members then present their plan to their group over the next couple of meetings. Your group then helps you stay on track with your goals during the year.

Advanced Retreat. Each year we also hold a 3-day remote retreat for our most experienced members, where we do intensive brainstorming and critiquing of expansion plans. Recently we’ve held these on the coast in Sonoma County north of San Francisco.

Prospective members are screened to make sure there’s a good fit with the group. We let in only those who are serious about growing their businesses.

I ask people to make an initial 6-month commitment and to pledge confidentiality. But people stay much longer than six months. And we’ve never had a breach of confidentiality.

Strong group cohesion emerges rapidly. These people are there to help you, and you them. We entrepreneurs realize we’re all in the same boat and we’ve got to support each other.

If you’re interested, we should talk. I prefer phone over email.

Tel-Online vs. Face-to-Face Groups

FACE-TO-FACE TEL-ONLINE WHY THE DIFFERENCE?
One 4-hour monthly meeting Two 2-hour meetings A 4-hour phone call is just too much!
10 members max 8 members max On the conference call, it’s easier for someone to hide, so the smaller group makes it easier for me to keep everyone involved

 

Members fill in a Check-In Sheet before the meeting to make sure they get what they want from it.


WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Achieve your goals of growth, profitability,
and desired work style

Want to see dramatic improvements in members’ business performance? Read their Success Stories. You often hear that 4 out of 5 small businesses go belly up within a few years. We turn that statistic on its head: 80% of our members achieve their goals.

WHAT SETS US APART?

  • Professional leadership
  • A variety of different businesses brings broader perspective
  • Focus on “eye level” immediate problems
  • A balance between strategic overview and ad hoc problem-solving
  • Ongoing group support
  • Cost-effective business problem solutions

WHY DON’T ALL BUSINESS OWNERS JOIN?
Some have the “Lone Ranger Mentality.” They say things like—

“Can’t afford help.”
“Don’t need advice.”
“Just need to keep working.”

What’s the impact of this thinking? They feel isolated. They make unnecessary mistakes. Stuck in molasses with constricted vision, many simply burn out. Alas, it’s the flip side of our slogan . . .
“How to go crazy without growing your business!”

Don’t be like the “Lone Ranger.” Talk with us.

Find out if one of our groups would be a good fit for you. Call us or e-mail Mike — I’ll be happy to invite you to visit a meeting!