The value of small groups

By BOB VAN LOAN / Guest Columnist

Several months ago, Helena Business Association President Alan Farmer had the idea of launching a series of small group meetings in which local business owners and managers who have particular needs or concerns can get help from their peers.

Van Loan

Van Loan

Small groups are an effective tool that can be used for all types of business issues.

Over the past several weeks, we have observed the value of people meeting together to deal with their specific business questions.

Small groups are a way to offer information, education and support to people who are in search of meaningful business relationships.

Isolation is one of the major problems of the business world.

Many business owners need outside help but are hesitant to share information that could get back to their competitors.

Small group business meetings overcome this obstacle by insuring a good cross-section of non-competing businesses to discuss issues with, all with an implied sense of confidentiality.

They are designed to be a place for people to take a look at themselves and their businesses and focus on practical steps to improve both.

Small groups are not a new phenomenon. They actually started in the early days of the Christian church when people looked to others like themselves for wisdom, comfort and support in a threatening world.

The concept is easily applied to other life activities, to include the business environment.

Small business groups are carefully crafted to insure good information cross-flow in a non-threatening atmosphere.

They do not replace general organizational meetings; rather, they complement them. One of the desired outcomes is that knowledge gained in a small-group setting can often be shared with the larger group.

If you own or operate a business in Helena or are thinking of starting one, we encourage you to join the HBA and take advantage of our small groups programs, one of the many benefits of membership.