Vistage // Down With Us

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Fortune Small Business has an article about the seven things that kill small businesses, naming problems with accounting, pricing, hiring and firing, lack of standards and control, and finally, poor branding as the key culprits.

The diagnosis is spot-on, but the author incorrectly argues that entrepreneurs have no where to turn for help with these things, which sort of makes me wonder why they bothered to publish the article, but that's not the point.

They didn't know what we know about Vistage. The purpose of Vistage is to help members address exactly these types of issues. Here's how it works: You pay your membership fee and join a local group. Then you meet monthly with other business owners and senior executives in a similar boat to yourself. You ask each other tough questions and confront reality on business and personal issues that you consider important. It's a little like a board of advisors. Sometimes there's a little networking too, but that's not really the point. The point is that running a business is largely the same, no matter what business you're in. It's usually less about how special your technology is, or how amazing your hit record is, and more about how your business runs that determines whether you stay alive or not.

If you're wondering how in the world you would tackle some of these core business problems, maybe Vistage is for you. Let me know if you want me to make an intro.