Why Small Business Owners Need Peer Support More Than Gurus

CoCommercial is a peer support network for small business owners.

When small business owners look for support, it’s common to get tangled up in a web of free training, video series, and sales funnels put on by the “biggest names” in small business today.

These big names share tidbits of their signature systems with promises of solving your marketing, sales, or brand problems. Then, when they’ve decided you’ve had enough of a free sneak peek, they tell you about what they’re really offering.

Their signature system comes packaged as an online course, a 12-week group coaching program, or a high-end mastermind. Maybe it’s sold as a learning library inside of a membership site. Maybe it’s a one-day in-person event (where you’ll learn about an even more costly version of what they offer).

How do I know all this?

Well, aside from being shown the exact same ads as you’re shown and receiving the exact same affiliate marketing emails you receive, we used to produce and market the products we offered in the same way.

As our small company grew and more people used our products, I started to notice some patterns:

  • Small business owners who participated in group coaching calls were more likely to take action than those who simply consumed content
  • Those who asked about other business owners’ experience in our forum or group spaces were more likely to come up with creative solutions
  • Those who participated more in the social components of our offers were more likely to self-organize continued support even after the program ended

The small business owners who relied on the program to tell them exactly what to do and those who regularly came to me privately for support didn’t do so well. They were often slow to take action or experiment. They got (naturally) frustrated on the spots where they got stuck. They jumped off onto someone else’s program or course as soon as our program ended.

It became clear to me that, no matter how good a program or product might be…

…it’s not enough.

Gurus—no matter how smart and experienced they might be—and their programs—no matter how well-developed and useful they might be—can never be enough to make your small business a success.

Small business gurus are:

  • Leading from a limited perspective—most are teaching what worked for them and assuming it’ll work for you too
  • Banking on their agenda—their business models are based on you continuing to buy more expensive programs that solve your up & coming problems
  • Absent when you need them most—they can’t be there for you when you run into a challenge with the system or a day-to-day problem they didn’t anticipate

These gurus and the small business education they sell is, therefore, missing an incredibly important piece of the small business support puzzle.

So what is the missing piece of small business support?

It’s your peer support network, of course.

You see, the small business owners who engaged with my programs on group calls and in our forums were developing their peer support networks. That was why they were so successful—not just in terms of results but in terms of sustainability, quick action, and thoughtful experimentation, too.

Even when gurus and experts offer conversation spaces and community support as part of their signature program package, the emphasis is still on the system and the person in charge. The community–no matter how valuable it might be–becomes an afterthought or an add-on.

Successful small business owners regularly cite their peer support networks as the most influential and helpful support asset they have access to.

Writing for Inc, David Finkel says, “The myth of the ‘lone wolf’ entrepreneur is simply just that–a myth. The top business people all have a powerful peer group to help them succeed.”

Whether it’s a mastermind group, a regular local meet-up, a business friend they talk to once a week, or a coworking community, small business owners value being able to talk things through with people who get it. They want to hear first-hand experience and learn from others mistakes.

The problem is that most small business owners don’t have a reliable peer support network because they don’t know many (or any) people who are also building a business. They don’t know people who have made the mistakes they can learn from. They don’t know people who speak the same entrepreneurial language.

So, instead, they fall back on gurus, online business-building courses, and promises of a “simple blueprint for making 6-figures.”

A couple of years ago, I decided that I never wanted to be our programs to be the next stop in an increasingly expensive search for a magic formula or secret information…

…especially when that secret information was hiding in plain sight—inside peer support networks!

That’s why we created CoCommercial.

CoCommercial is your on-demand peer support network. It’s a platform for working together with other small business owners to overcome challenges, solve problems, and achieve goals using real-world experience. It’s the home for honest conversations about what’s really working (and what’s not) to grow a business today.

We don’t pretend to tell you how to run your business.

We make it easy to talk to people about how you want to run your business and ask them about how they run theirs.

Joining is easy. You apply for membership and tell us about what you’re currently working on–and where you’re running into trouble. Our team reviews your application and responds with concrete suggestions for hitting the ground running inside of CoCommercial. We’ll even give you some posts you can start with!

Once you’re in, you’re in the driver’s seat of your own small business support. Ask for what you need and tell us what you want to know.

Sound good? Click here to learn more and apply for membership.


Cover of What Works book by Tara McMullin

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