Entrepreneurial Lessons for Business Leaders in Utah: Find Your Peers

This article was published in the Winter 2020 issue

by Earl Foote, Founder and CEO, Nexus IT

Other companies in the Utah business community don’t have to just be your competition. In fact, in the right setting, they can help you do better in the business world. Are you working with your peers?

If you’re not currently in a peer group, you probably don’t think much of your peers — at least, not in a positive manner, right? So often, other businesses operating in the same industry or business community are reduced to that one, ugly word — competitors. In our zero-sum business world, every client your competitors get is one that you don't.

If that’s the case, then why think of them as anything other than the enemy?

The truth is that in the right setting, your competition can be your peers. What's more, they can help you do what you do better.

This is especially important right now, as businesses face ongoing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. As discussed by Nexus IT Consultants’ Earl Foote and Lester Keizer in a video earlier this year, businesses need to work together.

Lester explained that businesses need to be resourceful, and also act as a resource, even to other competitors. By working together, businesses are more likely to survive the economic effects of a crisis like this.

“I’ve seen a lot of people offer really great resources to the public, including their competitors,” said Earl. So why should you be working with your peers? Peer-to-peer cooperation provides a number of unique benefits to businesses in Utah, including:

  • Knowledge and experience: Starting up and growing a business is obviously no easy task, but beyond that is the fact that it doesn't necessarily get easier once the business is established. With each year in business, a company and its management will encounter new obstacles unique to its size, changes in the industry, and other factors.

    This is a key area where peers can help. Within your community are businesses at a range of sizes and stages of growth. Peers can share insight, advice, and first-hand knowledge about how to address an issue that another business is dealing with.
  • New leads: Your local and online business communities are resources that you can use to indirectly build your brand and support your sales efforts. By developing relationships through connections over adjacent media and content (such as blog posts on LinkedIn, pop culture on social media, and more) you can better network with contacts who may be prospects down the line.

“You build those relationships,” says Lindsey Ivie, Former Director of Strategic Partners, Nexus IT Consultants in our Entrepreneurship and Leadership Tips series. “It’s easier to get your foot in the door with an opportunity when you’ve already established that.”

  • Accountability: As the CEO of a business, it’s up to you to hold your team accountable to the work they’re committed to doing. But who holds the CEO accountable?

    Not just in terms of quarterly goals or standard metrics that may be considered by governing bodies (like a Board of Directors) either — what about new initiatives, personal goals, and other commitments a CEO or manager might make?

    Once again, your peers are a great tool to help you stay focused on the goals you set. By laying out your goals at one point and following up on them with peers later on, you're more motivated to actually see them through.
  • 1-1 Support: Often, the value of peer groups can come from the opportunity to talk to other members of the business community that know what your work life is like. Regardless of how much you can vent with family, friends, and staff members, there's no comparison to talking through your challenges with other people that do the same work as you.

    Whether it's as a sounding board for a new idea you have, or just to unload some frustration about the direction of the industry, spending time with peers can be highly beneficial in terms of social factors like stress management.

See your Utah business community as the resource it is. Now more than ever, businesses need to take advantage of every resource they have available to them. That includes each other.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to share operational insights on how you do business and help your colleagues in the Utah business community. You will be able to both learn from your peers and help teach them as well.

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