George Lianos is an Accredited Associate of the
Institute for Independent Business
The Institute for Independent Business (IIB) is a research and accreditation organisation. It was established in 1984 to give independent businesses direct access to top business people by providing practical advice that works.
The IIB is the largest organisation of its type. With over 5,000 Executive Associates having been accredited by the Institute it has one of the most comprehensive support infrastructures for business in the world.
IIB Associates work with businesses in the 'small to medium sized' (SME) sector, placing at their disposal mature senior executives to:
- Act as 'sounding boards'
- Provide support and mentoring as required
- Address any aspect of the business where help is needed.
It addresses independent businesses that often operate in isolation without the networks of contacts and information services available to large companies.
Research, both by the Institute, and more importantly by several academic institutions, had indicated that the SME sector requires not only information and advice in order to survive and grow, but also practical assistance in the form of expert business support. To be effective, a practical implementation phase is also required.
All IIB Executive Associates are mature business people who have been Chief Executives, Managing Directors, very senior managers or Executive Board Directors themselves, and have thus experienced first hand the pressures, stresses and joys of running a business.
Many have started up, run and eventually sold their own businesses and others having run some of the best known businesses in the world. In short, the Executive Associates have 'been there, seen it, and survived to tell the story'!
How does it work?
The Business Support Program (BSP) requires accredited Associates who carry the Institutes accreditation to give a certain amount of time each month to businesses to discuss future plans, ideas, concerns and issues. This is completely confidential.
It is recognised that prospective clients may be hesitant to have an external person, no matter how mature, experienced or skilled, to come and assist with the challenges they face. The Associates understand the need to develop a relationship based on trust and respect.
The Institute hand-selects Associates who are mature and capable of working with clients on every aspect of their business and have done it all before.
The Business Support Program (BSP) is designed to assist the client in any way that the client requires assistance. The number of days/hours per month is agreed at the beginning and then a program of visits is established to work on the areas of the business that are in need of attention.
The BSP can be an on-going coaching or mentoring program, or targeted to specific projects. Some projects allow the MD to implement those special programs that they are unable to find the time to do while running their business on a day-to-day basis.
In some cases the motivation that drove the initial success may be waning. Some fresh ideas and all round business support is all it takes to get the business into another growth phase. Regular meetings with an independent experienced person are a way to help the business grow and management develop.
Some businesses want to introduce new products or services and lack the internal expertise to plan and implement such programs.
The Associate is able to draw on the total resources of over 5,000 Associates worldwide to assist with any project. The network is powerful and time and time again can prove its value to clients.
Where an Associate needs to co-opt another Associate on a specific matter there is no additional cost for time. That is all part of the successful concept of the IIB.