Risk & Business Magazine Cain Insurance Risk & Business Magazine Summer - Page 7

BUSINESS FORM “ Success stories are shared too BY: LUKE CAIN, VICE PRESIDENT, CAIN INSURANCE SERVICES S ometimes independent business owners can feel like they’re wandering alone in a desert searching for an oasis of advice and inspiration. Often, entrepreneurs face similar challenges and can benefit from the mentorship and counsel of their peers provided they have a network with whom they can meet and converse on everything they’re experiencing along the way. I am a member of a Fredericton-based group of eight business owners who provide one another with candid advice as we share similar experiences. These meetings ultimately lead to refreshing and inspiring outcomes as all of the members continue on the quest for business success. The group was started by Carle Publishing president Andy Buyting in 2008 to bring like-minded entrepreneurs together to discuss common interests and concerns. Other members include Stuart Blair, Vice President of sales and marketing, Covey Basics; Scott Targett, President of Targett’s Windows and Doors Centre and Global Windows and Doors Manufacturing; Paul Simmonds, founder of Robert Simmonds Clothing; Richard McGuigan, President of MECCA Corporation; Jim Gilbert, CEO of Jim Gilbert’s Wheels and Deals; and Doug Williams, owner of King Street Ale House. and provide encouragement and inspiration. ” Once a month we get together to talk about the best and worst things happening in our businesses and what we are anticipating going forward — both the positive and the negative — over the coming month. That creates a discussion. Everybody has had something they’re dealing that they’re able to share, and we then receive insights from other group members on how best to address it. It is a great forum for businesspeople who often operate in isolation. Members often discover as their peers offer solutions that the problems they’re facing aren’t as large as they initially perceived them to be. We have everybody from car dealers to window manufacturers and insurance company owners around the table, and everybody takes comfort in knowing that our issues are common. It’s refreshing and reassuring when you can have conversations that help you to see that everyone is facing similar issues as independent business owners. You can call it group therapy. You can go to a meeting and come away from it with potential solutions. There is strength in numbers. Business owners who operate in isolation never get an opportunity to speak to their peers in confidence. It’s worth seeking opportunities to do this, because there are a lot of intelligent people with great ideas to tap into that cost absolutely nothing. It’s invaluable. At the end of the day, you have confidence in the decisions you have to make when running a business, including everything from human resources and marketing to issues that arise when doing business in New Brunswick. The people who are around the table are small business owners who are fiercely independent. There are no multinationals sitting around our table. We are home- grown businesspeople. Anyone interested in starting a similar mentorship business peer group should be prepared to hear the unvarnished truth. If other group members think you are taking missteps, they will tell you. Conversely, they will wholeheartedly support your business plan. Everybody is invited to give their analysis, which can provide insights that can often lead to successes that might not have been realized without it. Everything is said in confidence. You can take this to the bank. The group has been around for ten years with its original members, and it’s still growing. We are seeking new members to grow a little more. For businesses owners located in other parts of the province interested in starting something similar, don’t be afraid to reach out to like-minded business owners and address the risk in business. + 7