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201 GREAT IDEAS for Your SMALL BUSINESS, Third Edition by Jane Applegate

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GREAT 15 IDEA: Join or Create a Peer Support Group

Tight budgets and soft sales during the recession pushed savvy business owners to turn to each other for free advice rather than hiring consultants. What began as a cost-cutting measure is still yielding invaluable benefits as business picks up, according to members of three informal, peer-to-peer business support groups.

Members say they look forward to their monthly gatherings to share contacts, tackle tough problems, and brainstorm together to dream up marketing strategies. They also rely on each other for motivation and inspiration.

“We always ask, ‘How can we help each other and what information can we share?” said Alison Raffaele, a makeup artist, beauty products entrepreneur and member ...

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