It all started at SOBCon08. I met, in person, some online friends and made some new ones. After that conference, I started contacting a few people, drawing them in for a very business minded group. I was looking for people that were approximately my peers, not way ahead or way behind in knowledge. Everyone had to be unanimously approved by the other members, so we could start with a cohesive group.
We have five members; me, plus:
- Rick Mahn
Social Media and The Enterprise, Personal Branding, IT Infrastructure
- Sheila Scarborough
Writer, Web 2.0 Tools workshops
- Chris Cree
Blogging and Social Media, Online Marketing
- Todd Jordan
Social Media/Networking, IT Programming
So we are an interesting group, with some commonalities and some differences.
In our first discussions, we set a scope and mission for the board.
“Focus on helping each other grow our biz by providing honest and open feedback and advice.”
We didn’t try to polish this up too much; just to set down our thoughts. Our bullet list of our purpose was:
- Idea Farm
- Biz Plan Critique
- Integrity in business ethics
- Feedback and Advice
Each month, we meet via Skype, voice only. I think video would be too distracting, as we try to focus on person at a time. We talk about what’s going on in the last month, and where we are headed. We check our accountability items from the last month, and add new ones in a shared Google Doc.
We’ve met since June 2008. We’ve bounced around ideas, gained perspective, and been reminded to think big picture. Sometimes, we don’t like the advice we’re given, but we always seem to benefit from it. Sometimes we share a breakthrough. We have our ups and downs, and having the group helps to deal with it.
You can do the same with a group of your peers.
You can also make great connections at SOBCon 09.
This article is part of the Small Biz 100, a series of 100 practical hands-on posts for small business people and solo entrepreneurs, whether in a small town, the big city, or in between. If you have questions you’d like us to address in this series, leave a comment or send us an email at email@example.com. Get the whole series by subscribing to Small Biz Survival.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.