If you haven’t joined a peer group yet, chances are you’ve heard about them. Groups of technology solutions providers and VARs getting together a few times a year to chat about what makes their businesses tick, right? They meet to discuss what’s going on in the industry and trends to look out for. But what are you really getting? What’s the real benefit behind joining a solution provider community?
With about 50 percent of my time spent on the road chatting with the industry’s solution providers, I’m lucky to have the opportunity get candid feedback on their business best practices and what they’re implementing to achieve success. The overarching theme no matter what city across the globe I’m in? Peer Groups and networking events. Time and time again I hear, “I come for the networking. I want to see what other people are doing.”
I’ve witnessed firsthand the effectiveness peer groups and networking events can have on a business and company as a whole. They are so important because of the value they offer. Partners are getting the chance to interact with each other face to face and discuss their business challenges. Learning from one another is key here.These business owners aren’t looking to reinvent the wheel; rather, they are looking to connect with their peers to see what their best practices are. They want to bounce ideas off one another to see what works and what doesn’t. And at the end of the day, they want to know the processes they’ve implemented in their companies are on trend with the rest of the industry.
Another important benefit of peer groups? Accountability. If you meet with your peers bi-monthly or quarterly with set goals, you better believe you’re going to make an action plan to achieve those goals. Saying your goals out loud and sharing them with your peers will give you that drive you need to accomplish them. It makes them real and tangible. Plus, your peers are there to offer you guidance or advice so you’re not tackling major challenges on your own. You have a support team.
With anything, you get out of a peer group what you put into them. If you truly want to transform your business for the better and achieve success, take your peer group seriously and devote the time and effort it takes to make them valuable.
Heartland Technology Groups (HTG) is a great example of one of the industry’s peer groups. HTG digs deeper to really take the value of peer learning and collaboration to the next level. HTG is standardized on the ConnectWise PSA platform. Having this standardization not only allows for best practice sharing but it really brings together these best practices with practical application making the sharing and collaboration much more efficient and repeatable.
There are countless opportunities to connect with your peers throughout the calendar year. From trade shows, to user groups to workshops and more, there is bound to be a right-fit event for you. Right now, we are on the cusp of the industry’s largest event, IT Nation 2013. With more than 2,000 solution providers under one roof, you better believe there will be plenty of networking time and idea-sharing. Plus, it’s an event open to everyone, for everyone offering training and breakout sessions in all areas of business. For more information on IT Nation 2013, visit TheITNation.com.
Andrea Caby is the community senior project manager for ConnectWise, the industry-leading business automation software for technology service providers. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy's annual platinum sponsorship.