Sites such as Vistage Connect are producing an entirely new concept: work advisory groups online for entrepreneurs and small business owners. On these websites business owners can turn to one another for support and advice. This is welcome news to small business owners who are in a plight and find themselves without peers to consulate, bounce ideas off, and produce solutions. Situations arise that a small business owner may find themselves without a sounding board. That is where Vistage Connect and other conferencing web platforms come in. Allowing entrepreneurs and small business owners to confer and advise one another in a variety of situations.
These groups are being called peer advisory groups and are popping up online all over the country. Most of these advising sessions are similar to group therapy, and have been utilized in the past. Business owners within the same area would meet and discuss personal business concerns. When physically organized, local business owners present their business issues to a group of other noncompetitive business owners. These outside owners ask extracting questions to delve into the central problem. They then work out a plan with the original owner to address these issues. But these physical meetings offer their own unique problems. Sometimes there is simply not enough interested business owners, or there are too many scheduling conflicts to even hold a meeting. And that is where the internet steps in.
Web platforms are being built to meet the demands of small business owners who want to access peer advisory groups but within their schedule and location often leaving the internet as the only sensible solution. The online platforms are not dependent on geography, and this allows one to meet at any time and with a variety of users; even going as far as allowing small business owners to meet different users with each log-in. It also allows small business owners to get the advice they need quickly because they no longer have to wait for their by-weekly or monthly meetings.
These online groups connect more business owners and open the door for small business owners to bounce ideas off one another. Though it is too early to tell these online advisory groups are making a splash and may change the way small business owners tackle issues and carry out their business in the future.
Mount, Ian. “In Meetings on the Web, Owners Turn to Owners for Advice and Support” Small-Business Guide, The New York Times. 5/23/2012. (5/29/12). http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/24/business/smallbusiness/business-owners-turn-to-the-web-for-peer-support.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&ref=smallbusiness&pagewanted=1&adxnnlx=1339131619-joQuZrqc9qn20xSy1eNKow