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Support mechanisms key for start-ups

Friday, 11 March 2011 | By Michelle Hammond

Business leaders who engage in peer-group mentoring in times of crisis can grow their business rather than being forced to downsize, according to a new study.

 

The Executive Connection, a support network for more than 1,200 SME CEOs, recently surveyed its members about the impact of leadership training and development on their businesses.

 

The research reveals that during the 2008-09 financial year, amidst the global financial crisis, SMEs who participated in CEO leadership programs significantly outperformed their peers in both revenue and employment growth.

 

TEC chief executive Chris Gorman says while the national average of SME employment growth was -3.01% per annum over this period, businesses whose leaders engaged in peer-group mentoring actually grew their staff numbers on average by 3.3% per annum.

 

“At times of crisis, trying to lead a business on your own can be extremely difficult and for many it is an impossible task,” Gorman says.

 

“But sharing challenges with other business leaders, working through problems, building important networks or just having someone to talk to can make the difference for many business leaders.”

 

In addition to peer-group mentoring, business owners who are under pressure are being encouraged to visit business psychologists.

 

Peter Shallard, who describes himself as a shrink for entrepreneurs, says while entrepreneurs earn a living by their own rules, they also do it tough.

 

“Because entrepreneurs are ambitious, they keep pushing the boundaries and transcending previously attained levels of success,” Shallard says.

 

“Every time an entrepreneur busts through another plateau, they also have to bust through fear. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of judgment and a thousand other types of fear.”

 

Shallard says entrepreneurs should not underestimate business psychologists for their ability to help them reach their goals faster and more effectively, identifying sanity as the key to success.

 

“Entrepreneurs have voracious work habits and mere human bodies, and eventually something starts to give,” he says.

 

“Sanity keeps you sharp and creative, completely on top of your game and operating with optimal performance so that you can reach your goals.”

 

“This means you can up your game, take it to the next level and unleash your entrepreneurial spirit for more freedom, more wealth [and] more success.”