Team Effort

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Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Meeting
with a client to discuss different ways to improve the company’s
operations, Gary Vaughan, owner of Guident Business Solutions, soon
discovers an underlying problem – poor cash flow – that is hampering
what the business is trying to do. Instead of trying to solve the issue
himself or tell the client he can’t help, Vaughan calls in Tony Busch
of Priora Cash Flow Management LLC to provide his expertise. The
result? A happy, satisfied client.

That’s the idea behind a new
business collaboration among four Fox Cities area businesses. Guident
Business Solutions, which Vaughan launched earlier this year, teamed up
with BeneVentura, Priora Cash Flow Management and Epiphany Law to help
better serve the needs of area small businesses.

“We’ve all done
due diligence on each other and are comfortable with recommending our
clients to them,” says Vaughan, who most recently was associate
director at Fox Valley Technical College’s Venture Center. “We wanted
to be careful in setting this up because that recommendation reflects
back on me. If I send a client to someone I’m not familiar with – or
don’t even offer a reference to help my client – that’s not creating a
positive experience.”

Collaboration among the businesses can
only help clients, Busch says. “What it comes down to at the end of the
day is that we are providing better service to our clients,” he says.
“Two or more businesses benefit, as does our client. Everyone wins.”
Vaughan agrees. “The collaboration allows me to serve my clients better than I could by myself,” he says.

BeneVentura
owner Dan Schroeder says participating businesses complement each other
well. “We’re not competing with each other – we’re working together as
a team,” he says. “We serve as a network where we share abilities as
needed.”

When Vaughan launched Guident earlier this year, he
decided to tap into the expertise of fellow small business owners he
previously worked with: Busch and Kevin Eismann of Epiphany Law. From
there, he learned that Busch had a solid relationship with Schroeder.

“The
four of us got together and talked it out. When you pick partners for
collaboration like this, you need to have similar missions, which we
do,” Vaughan says. “I always tell my students that I’m smarter in a
room full of people than by myself and that’s the thinking that went
into forming this collaboration. We’ve pre-qualified each other and
have no problem handing off a client to another member of the group.
There’s a strong level of trust there.”

When first meeting with
a client, Vaughn says he is never sure what expertise is needed.
“Oftentimes, there’s a financial issue that gets you in the door such
as poor cash flow, but then other issues come up that we can address
through a referral,” he says.

Education is an essential part of
how the members do business, Busch says. “We aren’t just hired guns and
come in to fix something. We want our clients to understand how
something is done and will sit there, for example, and show them how
the cash flow software works,” he says. “In the end, that helps them to
better understand how their business runs.”

In addition to the
informal collaboration with BeneVentura, Epiphany Law and Guident
Business Solutions, Busch is also involved with The Business Resource
Center, a more formal business organization. That group, which was
founded last year, focuses more on education and holds monthly
workshops.

“The BRC members try to share topics we think are
of interest to the small business community and share our expertise and
sometimes referrals come from that,” he says. “This collaboration with
Dan, Kevin and Gary is more straight-forward and referral based. It’s
also more informal. We just meet to talk things over coffee whenever
needed. The important thing is that our clients are getting the best
service possible.”