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Online Advisory Boards and Business

Posted On: 2006-10-23

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Hello and welcome to another edition of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is your host John Jantsch, and my guests, that's plural today, are Andrew and Steven McGill, the cofounders of Peersite online, and also father and son. And Peersite is a, what I would call, an innovative membership organization, and it is poised to serve the growth needs, I need to learn how to talk today, of CEOs, presidents and owners of small businesses, so Andrew and Steven, welcome.

Thanks for having us, John.

All right, so give me the macro level, we're going to get down into some of the details, but I think Peersite's unique enough that I need to just say, what the heck is it?

Do you want to take that one?

Sure. Peersite at it's core is an electronic version of the traditional peer advisory board. For your listeners who aren't familiar with peer advisory boards, they go back nearly a 100 years and were used by Andrew Carnegie and made famous by Napoleon Hill in a book that he wrote, and it's basically where you bring together, you know, five, ten, twelve, whatever the magic number is, people who are in similar business situations as yourself. Not necessarily industries or in the same business, but they are in stage one entrepreneurs, or stage two entrepreneurs, meaning they're all start-ups, or they're all in their growth phases, but they're entrepreneurs, so they share the fears, they share the behavioral characteristics, a lot of the risk-taking characteristics that all entrepreneurs have, and they get together, non-competitors, they get together, and like I say, they've done this for hundreds of years on every continent, and thousands of executives have done this, they get together and they challenge each other. And they test each other's ideas, and they help each other gain perspective and hold each other accountable and just all the things you would think would happen in a very tight, confidential community of entrepreneurs and small business owners. But what we've done in Peersite is, we have taken that what we believe is a step further. One of the things that the live boards are constantly challenged on are the costs of them, is somewhat significant, and then secondly, the time commitment. They usually take about a day a month. So we look for ways that we could possibly take that and reduce the costs and reduce the time commitment, while not losing any of the quality of confidential advice that exists between peers. And so that's what Peersite is. We meet by phone, so the flexibility is there, the time commitment is much less, because you don't have the travel time, and a lot of the setup time, so the flexibility in time is there, and we've reduced the cost by probably 50% to even 60 to 70 percent of what you would find in a live, traditional board. We've had one final benefit that sort of surprised us...

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