Startups: How Peer-Support Networks Can Help

Launching a startup is a substantial step and surviving in a hostile business environment is even scarier. But that doesn’t mean it eliminates the chances of survival and success. In the case of startups, due to lack of experience, a strong peer-support network comes to the rescue. A peer-support network refers to the term where people in the same situation/ experience help each other both practically and emotionally. In business terminology, a group of people/experts from similar business background and experience come together to help each other succeed in the business world. A well-knitted peer-support network offers a plethora of opportunities to grow together through learning, collaboration and exchange of data. It is like a strong tree trunk in the business world, around which the climbing plants (startups) can grow and achieve success. Here is an explanation of how it works and how it benefits any startup.

How does it work?

  1. Learning and sharing– A network of experienced professionals and experts are available to assist you as a business. These peers not only bring their experiences but also their expertise to help your startup achieve their business goal. It works like a wolf pack, each guarding its back and together taking down the competition. A strong peer-support group shares their best practices, knowledge accumulated over a period, some through trial and error and expertise.
  2. Business insight from industries experts- A sturdy peer network works on the basic fundamental of information sharing. In this nexus, there is easy access to some of the industry’s best experts. These industry experts guide you through various methods of practical business planning, skill management, economical resource management and more.
  3. Network of trusted supporters- A strong peer support group works on the element of trusted supporters. Each member of the peer support group builds trust and share knowledge. This network offers a platform of non-judgemental peers, having confidential information about each other, committed to working towards the growth and success of their individual businesses. This greatly helps a newbie startup as it offers a safer avenue with access to an extensive range of information and practices.
  4. Emotional Support– Doing a business is not always about calculations, numbers and pie charts. It also involves a lot of emotions and personal motivational factors for an entrepreneur. Having a strong peer support group on your side offers a great amount of emotional support. A peer support group benefits by boosting each other’s confidence, offering equality and importance to each member of the group.
  5. Brigade of business bodies– There are many local, government and private peer support groups which a startup can become a member of. These business bodies protect the interest of the business through by-laws, rules and regulations, regular meetings and sharing of information. These popular bodies can be Chamber of commerce, local authorities, informal groups, a federation of small businesses, etc.
  6. Sophistication of time and cost management- A peer-support group is always committed towards the goal of finding best solutions, efficient ways of running a business, time and cost management and growth, in every scenario of business. Through collaboration and insight; best practical ways are learned to save capital, time and cost of running a business.
  7. Quality Improvement and professional development- Every colleague of the support group focuses on personal and professional skill development. The group focuses on practical ways of dealing with the challenges faced both personally and professionally as an entrepreneur. It also explores the methods of improving the business quality.

How does it help?

  1. Nurturing the professional- A strong peer support group nurtures the inexperienced professional as well as the learned ones. As an entrepreneur with less exposure and experience, these old boy networks assist in nurturing the professional in you as an entrepreneur.
  2. A reliable and trustworthy network- A strong colleague group acts as a reliable and trustworthy network. Startups usually do not have access to core market information and resources. A trustworthy network of peers helps in collaborating, sharing information and learning the ways of accelerating the growth of a startup.
  3. Organisational or business development- By having each other’s back, a strong peer-support group helps in business development, which is quite essential for a startup. By bringing different experiences and expertise from different areas of the business to the table. These support groups enhance the capabilities of a startup. For example, an expert giving practical know-how of financial management will certainly boost the organisational development of a developing commerce.
  4. Trusted business alliances- To be able to share and connect with a set of professionals, having similar experiences promotes a strong alliance. A friend in need is a friend indeed. Trusted business alliances offer security from many unseen risky business aspects to a startup. To know how, when and what to do? Leaves some room for pragmatic business planning. These peer pacts develop strategies, business plans and through alliance aim at taking down the competition.
  5. Expansion of business appetite- When a constant dose of information, learning and experience are injected into the business system, the business appetite is bound to expand. And for a startup it acts as a fertiliser, augmenting the business growth and horizon.
  6.  Safer environment for startups – With a close-knitted network of colleagues, the business environment becomes less volatile and safer for startups. Networking makes the market less scary and more welcoming.
  7. Tried and tested business methods – With less or no experience to rely on, startups could take some help from the tried and tested methods of their peers. It not only saves them from committing errors but also reduces the level of risk and wastage.
  8. Encouragement and moral support- One of the biggest advantages of being a part of such a helpful group is that the atmosphere is always charged with positive vibes. A lot of encouragement and moral support is given to peers, especially startups. It works wonders for a startup and entrepreneurs, as sometimes they are full of uncertainty, confusion and self-doubt. Just like the big huddle before the game, boosting the morale of each player.

To put it briefly, a network of strong peer group helps create a pack of like-minded professionals, who help each other in the dynamic business world. This well-knitted group of peers is developed on the fundamentals of trust, sharing of information and experiences and guiding each other to develop and grow their businesses.

– Sumaiya Khan


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