Why I chose to Invest in a Peer Team
At Bering McKinley, we have been running peer teams for years, but we often take it for granted as to why owners do or do not choose to participate in peer teams. Rather than trying to articulate the value, we turned to MSP and peer team member Phil Neuman of PDN Consulting to help us understand the value of a peer team.
True Confessions from a Business Owner
Moderator: What attracted you to a peer team?
Phil: Truth be told, I did not know what a peer team was. In fact, I was a one-man shop at the time, doing both tech and sales work and I wondered how or if I was going to grow. Today we are a team of nine employees. Still small compared to some, but going from one to nine has been steady and measured growth, and peer teams played a big role in helping me grow my business.
Moderator: Tell us about it.
Phil: Well, like most businesses I had a lot on my plate with limited amounts of time in the day. I was trying to grow from a single consulting business into to a “real” business. So, when I was contacted by a manufacturer whose product I sold at the time and asked if I was interested in peer teams, I was at the very least willing to listen. Besides, there was a lot buzz in the industry about peer teams and I was curious as to what it was all about.
Moderator: What was compelling to you about a peer team?
Phil: First of all, the idea of being around other businesses that were similar to me, had similar issues, and had been down a road that I was traveling was very interesting. They talked about putting tangible best practices into place and being held accountable before a group of peers for growing the business.
Moderator: Did you join?
Phil: Not initially. Remember, I was the technical person in my business, sales, and owner. Taking time off was difficult.
Moderator: What did you do?
Phil: I had to really evaluate what I wanted for my business. I had to be willing to ask myself the hard question, “Am I going to make this next step to grow my business or not?” It is easy to fall into the day to day trap of working in the business and being distracted. “Urgent vs. Important.” There are a lot of things that are urgent that need to take place, but they may not have the importance attached to it. Keeping that front and center helped me make up my mind to join and commit. I wanted to be focused on what matters most, growing my business.
Moderator: Sounds like a good choice. How long have you been a part of a peer team?
Phil: A little over five years. Sure, there are times I think, “gosh, I’ve learned enough and I could probably do this on my own.” But then I stop and think, this industry is constantly changing. There is no way I will be able to stay on top of everything. I need a team to help me stay on top of all the trends, changes and tweaks to my business that need to be made to be successful.
Moderator: So, what are the benefits of a peer team from your perspective?
Phil: Here goes…
- I now have a financial language about what to look at in my business.
- I have a solid business structure to help me grow my business.
- I have access to other people who are going through the same thing as me. These team members provide great ideas that have made a substantive difference in my business. And I can ask questions about what I am going through and what they have experienced.
- I also have the opportunity share and give back to others. This matters to me.
- At the end of the day, I ask a bunch of questions and suck in a bunch of information. It’s therapeutic.
Moderator: Anything else?
Phil: (pausing) Yes, I suppose there are the added benefits of getting the teams feedback on industry tools, marketing tips and real-life advice on sales.
Moderator: What’s your number one takeaway you would tell a non-peer member to consider?
Phil: From what I am spending and getting out of my peer team investment, I feel like I have grown and I am offering my clients more. That’s it in a nutshell.
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