Spotlight: Presidents’ Leadership Council Fills an Important Need for SMB Leaders

important need for smb leaders

Many small business owners and leaders feel like they have to do everything on their own. However, surrounding yourself with other entrepreneurs can provide major benefits. Even if you usually work alone, organizations like Presidents’ Leadership Council may help.

The organization’s founder saw a gap in the market years ago. So she jumped in to provide important insights for small businesses. Read the full story below in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Operates a peer advisory group for small business presidents.

Founder Lori Dann told Small Business Trends, “Running a small business can be lonely and isolating. Additionally, most small business leaders are great at the core business. But a lot of other activities go into running a business. We are a membership organization – each member participates in a small group of up to 10 peers in non-competing industries that meets monthly in a confidential environment to work through challenges and opportunities together. We also bring speakers in monthly to address issues relevant to small business.”

Business Niche

Creating an affordable yet professionally run organization.

Dann explains, “Our competitors are groups like YPO, EO and Vistage. PLC works with businesses that either don’t qualify for those groups or don’t want that kind of monetary commitment. We are a no frills, roll-up-your-sleeves organization.”

How the Business Got Started

After seeing a missed opportunity.

Dann says, “I was part of a company in the 80s and 90s that participated in YPO. It was an amazing, enriching opportunity. Years later, while selling employee benefits programs to small businesses, I realized that they needed something like YPO more than anybody.”

Biggest Win

Helping small businesses.

Dann explains, “This business is here to provide an important service, help small businesses achieve greater success and perhaps create some jobs. It is a win for us every time a member feels like they’ve gained important insight or information.”

Biggest Challenge

The onset of the pandemic.

Dann says, “Our revenue comes from annual membership fees. When the pandemic hit, everyone I spoke to said some variation of “I’m just going to hunker down and not do anything until this thing blows over.” It was pretty concerning, but after 3-4 weeks, people realized they were going to have to get back to work.”

Biggest Risk

Self-funding the business.

Dann adds, “This business is boot-strapped, and I went all-in to make it happen. It could have gone sideways a number of different ways.”

Lesson Learned

Find the right members.

Dann explains, “Early on there were a couple of members that joined that were really looking for a networking group. I should have been less concerned about butts in seats and more about recruiting the right people.”

Favorite Quote

“Fall seven times and stand up eight.” -Japanese Proverb.

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Image: Presidents’ Leadership Council, Lori Dann

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.