Business Owner Groups

San Francisco Bay Area

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. I 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.


This group includes an online retailer, a general contractor, chain of bakeries, insurance agency, print shop and others.

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.
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

View an interview with a long-time Business Owners Group participant, in which she tells how the guidance and inspiration she received from the group, helped her grow her business and eventually reach the point that she successfully sold her business and happily sailed off into the sunset!

Each group of owners (ten members max) meets once a month for four hours under my direction. During the meetings, you can bring up any business issue. “Peer to peer” problem solving is the focus and this leads to solutions, as it develops trust and learning among the participants. Here are typical issues 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.”
  • “We’re growing so fast, cash is tight, and the bank won’t expand our line.”
  • “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.”

These are not networking groups. More like hiring your own board of independent advisors. I discourage members from doing business with others in the group, since you don’t want to discuss tough issues with your best customer sitting there.

Who belongs. Owners from 1 to 100 employees, but most are from 5 to 25. Members span all industries—professional services, retail, manufacturing and distribution, contractors.

Some groups are reserved for larger companies, which tend to have more employee and management issues.

Groups vary, but we’ve been pretty close to 50/50 men and women.

Our members include every kind of business. Here are a few:

IT consulting firm
Veterinary hospital
General contractor
Auto body repair
Print shop
Architecture and design
Custom drapery and upholstery
TV production company
CPA firm
Gourmet food manufacturer
Office supply store
Engineering firm
Grant writing consultants
Bill paying and money management
Flower shop

1 on 1 Coaching. In addition to the monthly meeting, each member gets an hour-long 1 on 1 with me as well, where we dig into issues in greater detail.

Plan Workshop. Each year we hold a daylong planning session, where each member (and guests also) put together a practical plan of action for the coming year. Members then go 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.

Business Owner Group meeting in Marin County, CA, hosted by Yoshi Tome

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.

Why belong? Owners often stay with these ongoing groups for years, so the members get to know each other well, and become very effective advisors for one another. You may be able to fool your consultant, but you cannot fool nine other business owners! If you ask them why they keep coming, they’ll say things like,

“I have nowhere else I can get straight feedback on any issue.”

“These people hold my feet to the fire. I can’t wiggle out of my commitments to them.”

“I learn just as much by listening to the advice given to others.’

“It’s so valuable getting out of the office each month to attend to the bigger issues.”

“If I didn’t have the discipline of the monthly meeting, I’d never stay focused on big picture questions.”


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 at— we’ll be happy to invite you to visit a meeting!

INTERESTED?  We should talk. I prefer phone over email, just because it’s a more personal connection. Find out if one of our groups would be a good fit for you. I’ll be happy to invite you to visit a meeting.

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