The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Some small businesses prosper in tough times


MINNEAPOLIS, USA, July 11 — Since the 2008-2009 stock market collapse, the U.S. business environment has been struggling as small business owners, clawing their way back to recover lost ground, have attempted to grow their businesses.

This challenge has been increasingly difficult as the interconnected global economy contracted and forced waves of corresponding reductions in purchase orders, construction and business expansion. Nonetheless, some business owners have managed to grow profits and thrive even during these difficult times. What is their secret and how have they managed to beat the odds even in tough times? The secret is in the advice these business owners receive from their peers for suggested solutions to the challenges confronting them. Business owners worldwide are finding that the best advice often comes from their peers — other business owners who have faced similar experiences and developed real-world strategies to sustain or expand their businesses. One organization that offers these types of resources to business owners is The Alternative Board (TAB).

TAB builds boards of non-competing business with average revenues of $1 million to $100 million where owners meet monthly to tap into the wealth of experience and insight their peers bring to the table. Each peer advisory board is typically comprised of up to 10 business owners, CEOs and presidents.

According to a recent survey conducted by The Alternative Board of 300 small business owners, 60% of those who made a profit in 2011 were TAB members — or 1.5 times greater than non-TAB members. The same study further noted that 67% of TAB Members trust advice from their board versus only 29% for non-TAB members, or more than 2 times greater.

This peer think-tank format has been successful for tens of thousands of business owners globally since 1990. Pete and Helen Bosse independently own and operate The Alternative Board in the East Minneapolis-St. Paul area in MN. According to Helen Bosse, “We help small business owners achieve their personal and business dreams by bringing powerful tools and expertise to the table.” TAB facilitator/coaches help business owners spend less time in their business and more time working on their business.

This shift from tactical to strategic leadership often enables leaders to begin achieving what they originally set out to do as business owners. TAB tools include a gap analysis tool to reorient priorities and resources to the most important business areas, a personal and company vision tool to ensure dreams are captured and a strategic business leadership tool that provides a detailed roadmap for achieving each vision through establishment of goals, strategies and action plans.

Pete Bosse stated, “The way to survive and prosper in tough times is to surround yourself with smart, non-competing business peers who can help you see your business blind spots, navigate the treacherous competitive waters and emerge from the tough local commerce fight victorious.” The Alternative Board (TAB) is an exclusive, membership-based organization that helps business owners achieve profitability, productivity, and personal fulfillment through the use of peer advisory boards and private business coaching. Through a platform of knowledge and guidance, The Alternative Board delivers real world advice that provides a result-driven advantage to help business owners stay focused on what matters most.

(Business Editor noted: The creation of a Small Business Association in Sri Lanka with peer advice and guidance could be a good way to start in turning around struggling small businesses).

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