What started out six years ago as a monthly get together, held over lunch at the pub or breakfast in the office, has now morphed into a valuable fellowship for more than 20 people.
What we have learnt along the way is a lot different from what we expected, and so much more valuable.
The start of our ‘Board Room Sessions’ was born out of the need for three small business owners in a rural environment to create networking opportunities. Since then, our group has expanded well beyond businesses in the rural sector to include a raft of other business types and industries, from interior designers to caravan park owners.
While networking continues to be an important goal, it’s ‘perspective’ that has emerged as the unexpected and most valuable outcome of our regular ‘sessions’.
The power of community
Operating a small business and living in a rural or remote area often comes with solitude and more limited networking opportunities than our counterparts in the city. When you are operating alone it can be easy to lose perspective or not know which way to turn.
Our board room sessions have become our ‘community’ management team, providing advice and guidance normally only associated with larger businesses. This community approach not only offers important professional support, for us as business owners, it’s helped build our own personal resilience as well.
Our sessions, held monthly, are a professional outlet that enables us to take our nose off the grindstone and work ‘on’ ourselves and our business by learning from others and their experiences. It’s a place of no judgement and an environment where all questions are welcome. Our sessions cover everything – from tips for relieving stress, guidance for transitioning to the NBN and planning our business COVID response.
Reflecting on success
Among the important outcomes of our board room sessions is an appreciation of our own successes. It’s common for business owners to feel as though they are constantly ‘putting out fires’ and managing the day to day of business, and this can mean they sometimes lose sight of the big picture.
We can be our own harshest critics. As we’ve learned working together, stopping and stepping back from time to time to appreciate successes (as well as things that could have gone better) is important to future planning and keeping your longer-term goals firmly in your mind.
During our most recent session which celebrated the end of the financial year, Rosalie and I had the opportunity to reflect on our achievements over the last 12 months from an arm’s length perspective. It was a powerful exercise that has helped us move forward with pride, renewed energy and a positive outlook and allowed us to take the focus off what has been a difficult year due to the pandemic.
Create what you need
What we’ve learned is: If you have a need that isn’t being met, do something about it.
The solution can often be as simple as having a chat over a drink with a mate. The perspective they bring can set you back on the right track.
Setting up regular toolbox meetings to discuss major decisions or priorities, reaching out to your peer networks or establishing an advisory board to tap into a wider range of experience and knowledge are all options for addressing unmet needs.
Sometimes all you need is a broader perspective (or a new one!) that comes from the shared insights of others. For me, some of the most surprising and unexpectedly fresh perspectives and new ideas often come from those in completely different industries to my own.
Nothing’s off the table
The moral of this story is: A problem shared is a problem halved. While I’m fortunate to be able to lean on my local business community through our board room sessions, I also talk one on one with professions with particular skills and expertise.
As a business adviser (or as a financial planner) my role is to talk through often sensitive matters, in fact nothing’s off the table when it comes to providing support and creating a plan to achieve goals and be successful.
If you have a topic that you want to know more about, or you are looking for a broader perspective or diversity of opinions, I encourage you to get in contact. If you would like more information about gaining fresh perspective on your business, I invite you to contact me today on 08 8253 2906 or email email@example.com.
Phillip Dibben is a financial adviser at Active Financial Management. Active Financial Management and its advisers are Authorised Representatives of Fortnum Private Wealth Ltd ABN 54 139 889 535 AFSL 357306 trading as Fortnum Financial Advisers.
This information does not consider your personal circumstances (including taxation) and is of a general nature only. You should not act on the information provided without first obtaining advice specific to your circumstances.