Posted in Cleveland Crain’s Business- July 23, 2013
Businesses can succeed in Northeast Ohio and help each other at the same time.
I learned that important lesson a few years ago when my recruiting and employment company was hit hard by the recession. Like many others, I was struggling.
That year, I attended a meeting at a local business group I belong to, called the Entrepreneurs Organization, and got the boost I needed.
EO Cleveland is all about collaboration and peer-to-peer learning. In small meetings called forums, the members, all of whom are Northeast Ohio business owners, share experiences with each other. The goal is to learn from someone else’s success — or mistake.
In late 2008, one of the business owners in my forum openly discussed a strategy around social networking and social media. He had paid to have an expert come to his company and teach this strategy and now, he was sharing it all — for free — with us.
He could have easily said, “I paid this money, it’s no one else’s business.” But instead, he was very visible and transparent about what he learned.
I really took a lot of what he shared and applied it to my business. We went from losing money to making money. I really think it’s what saved our business during the recession.
With the proliferation of mid-market businesses, there are a lot of really smart people running businesses in Northeast Ohio and there’s no reason we can’t work together and share what we’ve learned.
And it doesn’t have to be in a purposeful setting like a forum. It can be during a routine visit to a customer or over a drink at a networking event.
Traditionally, business owners look at what they’re doing as a competitive edge. They worry about losing that edge if they provide too much information about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.
But today, I think there’s been a shift in business: It’s not so much about what you do and how you do it, but why you do it that takes good companies to great. And why you do business is really hard to replicate.
It’s easier to collaborate in this environment because you can’t take away the passion someone has for why he’s doing business.
We can all help teach each other how to be better business owners. This type of collaboration will ultimately create better business owners–and better businesses.
By: Aaron Grossman, President of Alliance Solutions Group
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