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My Board Experience at The Alternative Board (TAB)

About two years ago I was invited to visit a Business Owner Advisory board, hosted by Art Miller at The Alternative Board (TAB). These meetings are where owners who don’t have a full board agree to meet monthly for half a day with each member bringing one business problem or goal to discuss with the group.  Everything shared in the group good or bad remains confidential, like Vegas in a good way. The members are not in competition with each other and the goal is not referrals like some other groups. The goal is to learn from the commonalities between businesses.    Every business has some basic model that includes marketing, gathering resources, some business process and some business outputs.

When I joined, I was struggling with sales and marketing.  They taught me the different roles of an entrepreneur include being the administrator, the sales person as well as the technician doing the work.  Just because someone bakes good cupcakes (technician) they may need help with the book (administration) or selling the cupcakes.  Every member of the group had different experiences with marketing and different processes for sales.  They and my TAB advisor encouraged me to work on a marketing plan as well as pursue some specific sales training.

Throughout the years, other members brought issues which included process improvement,  business cycles, marketing, supplier issues and resource management (people, capital and materials).  Even though their industries and markets were very different, I learned as much from the group’s advice on their issues as I did on my own.

My advisor provided one-on-one coaching sessions each month.  He provided additional resources along the way including Sellability Score, DISC analysis and other tools as needed.  He and the group also provided monthly accountability so I would stay focused and get things done.   It was always tough to come to group and not have finished addressing an issue that was pressing the month before.

Among our group there developed a great comraderie and long term friendships.  We shared in each other’s struggles but also celebrated together by starting our montlly meeting with a piece of good news from every member.  As I depart ‘my’ TAB group to start a new venture, I have great respect for each of my fellow members.

If your small or medium sized business could use the expertise of others who have travelled the entrepeneur’s road, I highly encourage you to visit a TAB group.  Call Art and tell him I sent you.

Wishing you the best of success in your venture!

Allen Smith

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