Retired as president and CEO of the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, David E. Nash is still doing his best to promote business development. He’s the founder of the Rhode Island Small Business Recovery Program, which he began in January 2011. The free program is designed to move the unemployed to self-employment and last year trained 2,400 people.
Nash also holds “Team Works Mastermind” meetings, which bring together business owners who serve as a board of directors of sorts for each other, solving problems and offering advice on growing their businesses.
PBN: Recently you have been promoting “mastermind” groups in several municipalities. What are they?
NASH: The mastermind groups aren’t new; I’ve been holding them since about one year after I retired from the Chamber, perhaps 2002 or 2003. What’s new is that we’ve been expanding them. We have found that they work best if there are 10 business owners in each group; that gives everybody time in a three-hour meeting to be heard and to participate.
When it’s filled we start another group, usually in a different location. A closer location benefits a different set of participants, plus we need different facilities. We have met at the Northern R.I. Chamber, New England Tech., Lincoln, East Greenwich and the chamber of South Kingstown.
PBN: How does the mastermind team work?
NASH: The concept is very simple. People sit around a table and help each other grow their business. It’s like having your own board of directors. It doesn’t help one person grow, it helps everybody grow. Someone brings up a problem they are having and all of us talk about it and try to help. Then we talk to the next person and continue all around the table. It’s all confidential, and there are a lot of conversations that go on between the meetings.
In this day and age you cannot successfully run a business as a rugged individualist. It takes a group. In small business you can’t always afford consultants. The owners in the team get together and they are a very diverse group. We may be very different but we all have the same problems.