Leadership

Peer-to-Peer: Who do CEOs turn to for advice?

Written by PROFIT-Xtra

Question

“Who do the owners, presidents and CEOs count on for management advice when their business runs into difficulties — cash flow, quality control, unhappy customers, unmotivated employees or unsustainable profitability?”

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Reader responses

Sabine Schleese, Schleese Saddlery Service, Holland Landing, Ont.

I have at one time or another belonged to many different entrepreneurial president’s groups. One of the most effective for me has been the Innovators Alliance, an association of fast-growth companies with certain criteria for joining. We have a CEO peer group meeting once a month, which is like an informal advisory board meeting.

Members bring forth issues, all of which are highly confidential, and are secure in knowing that nothing leaves the room. Member groups are put together in a mix that works — no direct competitors, all CEOs or presidents, and all are willing to share experiences and education. If necessary, outside resources are brought in for certain topics, but the focal point is member issues such as those you listed. It’s very effective; I have not left a single meeting without learning something I can apply to my business.

Aimee Lavallee, SBLR Acumen Corp., Toronto

Most entrepreneurial businesses rely on the outside services of their accountant for financial advice and planning. Because of their access to a company’s financial information, accountants are in a unique position to identify inefficiencies within a business. Some accountants have taken their skill sets to a new level and have undergone extensive training in strategic consulting and business coaching methodologies.

In particular, an organization called RAN ONE has hundreds of members worldwide. RAN ONE members are accounting firms who have uniquely differentiated themselves by offering business consulting services to their clients. Consequently, these member firms have access to first-class, global resources while continuing to operate at a local level.

As a long-standing member of RAN ONE’s elite Consulting Group, I am a consultant with SBLR Acumen Corp. Our consulting services range from business / executive coaching to business diagnostic reviews and strategic planning to profit improvement and cash flow management, to client focus groups and employee skills development.

In order to get the most out of a relationship with a business / executive coach, regardless of who that person / company is, the process will be a complete waste of time unless YOU, the business owner / president / CEO are absolutely committed to the process. In other words, you have to be willing to allocate sufficient resources — your time, in particular — to ensure that implementation occurs. One of the greatest weaknesses in business today is FTI — Failure To Implement. Most owners know intuitively what needs to be done in order to improve their company but they just don’t set aside the time to actually do it. An effective business coach will work with you and your team from start to finish to ensure that the strategies you have identified are put into place.

Stuart Oxborough, MBA, FCSI

Consider developing a relationship with a qualified Financial Consultant who is experienced in working with business owners who could introduce other owners who have experienced similar situations.

Most successful entrepreneurs have a financial consultant to provide financial and management advice. Ideally, the financial consultant will be working with other business owners and have the depth of “having been there before with another client” and be able to answer and address the concerns of the business owner.

In essence, the financial consultant is the quarterback for the team of advisors who has the education and experience to provide overall management guidance and refer the client to a qualified specialist if necessary.

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Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com