Starting and operating a business in today’s fast-paced market can be challenging for the owner. It’s tough to find enough time for sales, project management, production, billings, collections and client maintenance. And that’s not even taking into consideration managing a staff.
Being a small business owner is not only tough - it can be lonely. We at the Small Business Association of Michigan hear this repeatedly from our small business owner members.
When you are the only one in an organization responsible for signing the front of the paycheck, to whom do you turn when you need to discuss important issues like cash flow, compliance or disciplinary actions? Who is your sounding board when you need to brainstorm – or vent?
Enter the Owner-to-Owner (O2O) Network. SBAM has built regional networks designed exclusively for small business owners to come together to share experiences, gain knowledge and leverage the power of other small businesses.
SBAM member Sue Tellier, owner of JetCo Federal in Grand Rapids shares “SBAM as an organization gives me direct access to other small business owners. The fact that you really need to be a small business owner to be involved in SBAM makes it a very special place to be. And every time I'm at an SBAM event, I either walk away with something actionable and productive that I can do to make my business better, or I get inspired by somebody else that is killing it in their own business. Some days it can be lonely. And it's nice to have a network of people that are there and that understand that and it's helped our company grow.”
Each regional O2O meeting will feature components of networking, education, and small business advocacy awareness. Designed for small business owners to meet and connect, these gatherings provide a safe space for open conversation.
Small business owners are diverse, and every business owner in these O2O networks brings individualized experience to the group. Joining these meetings will grant you access to the best and brightest minds in your area, and will expand your network.
Kim Bode owners 8ThirtyFour, an integrated marketing and communications firm in Grand Rapids. She wrote “Anyone that tells you that running a business is easy, is a liar. You should probably stop hanging out with them.”
Kim also writes about the power of the ‘small business support group,’ and how she found her network. She shared “What has been my saving grace in recent years is the network surrounding the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM). The group consists only of business owners, which means you are in a room with others that experience the same pain points, frustrations, and hurdles. It’s therapy for my mind and soul.”
SBAM has hundreds of other members like Kim who use our O2O network to improve upon their business and leadership skills. Getting involved is easy, and any small business owner is welcome to join a regional network. Currently we have groups meeting in the following regions:
- Kent Region (Allegan/Barry/Kent/Montcalm/Muskegon/Ottawa/Newaygo)
- Washtenaw Region (Hillsdale/Jackson/Lenawee)
- Marquette Region (Alger/Baraga/Delta/Dickinson/Houghton/Iron/Menominee/Marquette)
- Oakland Region (Genesee/Lapeer/Oakland)
- Detroit Region (Monroe/Wayne)
- Ingham Region (Clinton/Eaton/Shiawassee)
- Kalamazoo Region (Cass/Calhoun/Kalamazoo/St. Joseph/Van Buren)
- Macomb Region (Macomb/St.Clair)
- Great Lakes Bay Region (Bay/Isabella/Midland/Saginaw)
To find out where SBAM will be next, visit www.SBAM.org/O2O.