Business Owners Toolbox Blog Discussions and articles to help the small business owner solve the challenges they face as they grow their business.

April 14, 2011

How to sharpen your entrepreneurial skills

from a LI question by Lalit Bhojwani

My answer. Join or create a forum where you can match wits with other entrepreneurs.

My business is leading ongoing advisory groups of business owners. Just took eight of them on a three day retreat to a remote spot with no internet or cell connection. We took turns brainstorming on our vision, our opportunities, our challenges, our “elephants in the room.” Friendly and supportive but hard-hitting. People came away with business-changing ideas and plans.

This is a great way to sharpen entrepreneurial skills among people who are already entrepreneurial.


  1. I agree with everything you say and I know this to be very true. However, my question is — how do you convince others that they need to have these relationships and types of meetings. I ran groups like this in Washington, DC and they were very successful. Now that I’m back in the good ole midwest, no one wants to take the time off from working IN their businesses, and they have little money to spend ON their businesses, so it’s a hard sell. Really could use some insights. Thanks.

    Comment by Nancy Becher — August 1, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

  2. Nancy
    Very easy for you and me to see that others need us! The trick is finding those few who will value the input of a group of peers. I’m pretty sure they exist in the Midwest. (My roots are in Kansas City MO.)

    My specialty is working with those who want to grow their business. I target companies with 5 to 50 employees. (Solopreneurs are much tougher.) “The bigger I grow, the harder it is to grow yet farther.” “I work so many hours, I have to wear a nametag so my kids will recognize me.” “Lots more revenue, but I’m not putting any more money in my pocket.” These people feel the strains of growth, and are open to help if you can show them a way. And it involves changing the way they run their business, so many hard-headed entrepreneurs aren’t open to this. But when you talk with the right one, their reaction is something like, “Where have you been all my life?!?” But they’ve got to be willing to invest some time and money in growing their business.

    How to find them? Traditionally, to recruit for my business owner groups, my top 3 sources have been introductions from members, people buying my book, and speaking gigs to small business organizations. I’m trying to reach people via the internet (like I’m doing with you now) but this still has a ways to go.

    I’d be glad to discuss this more with you.

    Comment by mvh — August 1, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

  3. Pettinato
    For small business discussion sites, there are many options, e.g., LinkedIn and Twitter. Start a LinkedIn account if you don’t have one (it’s free). Then go to “Groups” and search for topics under “Small Business” or “Startups.” Many to choose from.
    Likewise, go to your Twitter page and click on Who to Follow. Do a search on “small business” and you’ll find many forums, such as #smallbizchat, which has regular weekly tweet chats.

    If you have a particular question, ask me. I’ll help you if I can.

    Comment by mvh — September 26, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

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