Lewis & Clark Bank Presents

STRATEGIC INSIGHTS

Why You Should Belong to a Business Forum





I’m an entrepreneur. I vividly recall our formation efforts in 2005, our doors opening for business in 2006, and all the work since then to build the healthy bank you see today. These real-world entrepreneurial experiences have given me a keen appreciation for the satisfactions – and frustrations – of starting and running a company.

While I’m all for learning in a formal way – reading, taking courses, attending conferences – some of my most important and pragmatic education has taken place through strategic business forums. Mine happened to be Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Vistage and Strategic Coach, but there are many others. Finding the business forum that fits you may take a little research, but it is without a doubt worth the time and effort.

Here’s why I belong to strategic business forums – and why I think any business owner or top executive should belong to one (or more):

1) Become Energized: Running a business can be fatiguing. You carry a huge load of responsibility, and sometimes that drains your energy and the idea bank. Meeting and talking with other business owners refreshes me, gives me new energy and helps me see possibilities I might not see on my own.

2) Find a Better Way: Sometimes you do things a certain way because that’s what you fell into - but it may not be the most efficient, effective or profitable way. Other business owners can help you by sharing best practices they’ve tried and found effective. Just as importantly, they may alert you to mistakes they’ve made in the past so you can steer clear in your own business.

3) Stay Strategic: You spend a lot of time with your head down in the details when you own or manage a business. Talking to other business owners usually (actually, nearly always) gets me thinking more about strategy. That helps me decide whether the details I’m spending time on are really the right details – and prompts me to change if they’re not.

4) Help Others: Others will benefit from your insights, experiences and sharing. There’s something really satisfying and invigorating about helping another entrepreneur un-stick himself or herself. It gives you a surge of energy and oftentimes new ideas to consider for your own business.

5) Extend Your Strategic Network: Old-fashioned business networking helps everyone grow. Sure, you might end up meeting someone who will be a client in the future – but that pales in comparison to the quality of strategic referrals you’ll receive to advisors and other business people who are a good fit for you or your company.

We’re so bullish on small business forums, we’ve starting one here at Lewis & Clark Bank – the Strategic Business Forum. This group of non-competing business owners meets every month to share ideas and experiences. The meetings are led by an experienced business strategist, to focus the members on strategic planning and ensure they are familiar with best practices for forums.

Interested? You’re eligible if you are:

     A business co-founder, owner or principal
AND
     A client or friend of Lewis & Clark Bank

The pilot group has already filled up – and quickly. But, we’re thinking about starting a second one. If you are interested in participating, let Colby know at cschlicker@lewisandclarkbank.com.

Here’s to helping Pacific Northwest businesses succeed and grow!

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