Why was The Alternative Board concept developed?
Allen was asked to take over a struggling electronics firm in the Saint Louis market years ago; they required someone to help pull the company out of a downward spiral. They were hoping that Allen could simply tidy up the business and just help get them out of trouble. He proved far more beneficial to the company than that. Their growth was so amazing that the company ultimately went public on NASDAQ. That success and the financial freedom it provided Allen allowed him to retire. But just for a moment!
During his short retirement, Allen wondered what the “X factor” was which had helped them achieve such significant growth. He eventually realised it was the external advice of his peers! Thinking through the challenges and opportunities that any business encounters to make better decisions, fewer mistakes, and a greater level of personal leadership accountability.
This led him to create the first peer boards in the Saint Louis area in the USA. TAB was a franchise model from the start recognising that the best people to aid business owners, are other business owners.
Now 30 years on, TAB is operating in 25 countries, with thousands of TAB Members around the planet, and Members are benefiting from Allen’s ideal that was formed after successfully taking that initial company out of receivership (and into the public market).
What is the meaning behind the brand name “The Alternative Board”?
A lot of hours were spent trying to come up with a brand to reflect TAB’s main goal; to have an affordable alternative to a high-paid board of directors.
It was discovered that anyone who had a functional, high-performing board had to spend lots of money for this kind of talent. This level of advice was not available to privately held business owners at a price point that delivered value for money or was affordable. The Alternative Board provides an alternative to a high-paid board of directors. Thus: The Alternative Board.
What business need does The Alternative Board fulfil?
Being a business owner is exciting and rewarding but at times it can be overwhelming and stressful too. Having a board of peers allows owners to make quicker and more informed decisions and make business moves with confidence. The Alternative Board provides an invaluable collaboration of thought, comfort, security, and accountability – all the benefits that Members have been able to share for decades. The Alternative Board changes the lives of its Members; you enjoy your life more while operating your business more successfully.
Who is a typical TAB Member? Industries, sizes and positions?
Each board is carefully selected to ensure all TAB members on that board are at a similar level of business maturity but from diverse industries and backgrounds. They are privately held business owners; they are forward-thinking, and motivated. Motivated to be more productive, more profitable, and gain personal fulfilment.
Diversity of perspective around the board table is the key to the success of TAB Boards and TAB members. 75-80% of business challenges are similar, eg financial and people management are common to all businesses. Being on a TAB Board with diverse backgrounds and people allows every business owner to look at their own business through different lenses; making decisions after considering all the alternatives.
Are there any types of businesses not suited for a TAB Membership?
All types of privately owned businesses are suited to benefit from TAB Membership. All Members gain benefits from their TAB peers, and from the business they own. It’s a community, and every business field you can think of faces fundamentaly the same challenges.
How long do Members stay with The Alternative Board, and why stay for so long?
The average retention of a TAB Member is almost five years. Also many members have stayed for decades – some Members have been with TAB since its inception!
The bottom-line is, Members stay if they get value. This includes value to their bottom-line and value to their lives. It is very important to have a place where business owners can have a conversation with fellow business owners, which is unlike any other connection they will ever have.
Members can utilise TAB’s industry leading tools, processes and leadership where they are a part of a community where they can get advice, guidance, and business opportunities from other TAB Members around the world. Why would anyone let that go?
The Alternative Board aims to perform such that the only time TAB Members do leave is because they have successfully transitioned their business and sold it and are living the full benefit of what every entrepreneur strives for.
Explain what it's like to partake in The Alternative Board brand and culture.
The Alternative Board’s culture has been cultivated for decades across the globe. It operates on a belief in having strong corporate values illustrated by the word CALIBRE. Being a community is of upmost importance to The Alternative Board, and comprises the most talented and successful people from 25 countries who wish to help each other and cooperate as part of that community.
Sharing is the basis of all TAB Board Meetings as well as throughout the worldwide TAB community. TAB Connect is a global network of fellow business owners who are TAB Members, and who share opportunities, challenges, counselling and taking advantage of opportunities and challenges.
Why are franchise owners called TAB Business Owners?
Owning a TAB business is more than owning a typical franchise, so it does you justice to instead be referred to as a TAB Business Owner. You are a business owner, and you work with other business owners. It is imperative to have a peer-to-peer relationship with your TAB Members, and those Members are other business owners.
The Alternative Board believes that business owners are the most interesting people in the world because they had a vision to do something to make a difference. They went for it, and they strive for excellence. Thus, to be a business owner is a privilege; it is an honor. It is something that one should be exceedingly proud of, and that is why we call our franchise owners TAB Business Owners.
How does The Alternative Board differ from other B2B franchises?
Support. It can be challenging to start a professional practice. The Alternative Board has outstanding initial training, but nothing takes the place of real-world experience. TBOs starting their business take priority. The Alternative Board provides you with a field support trainer in the field with you for two weeks. Those trainers are experienced on Member acquisition, how to manage appointments, how to build pipelines, how to select Members, how to place the Members on what TAB Boards, and what coaching systems will look like. The Alternative Board also provides LinkedIn coaching and experts in social media.
Further, The Alternative Board runs on a subscription model wherein every month, Members pay a fee to our TBOs, and because of the fruitful field support trainers and marketing support, TBOs can obtain Members rather quickly. Once you are on this subscription model, the money begins to build because of the structured model and the additional income opportunity. That allows TBOs to also consult and train in addition to more coaching. There is no other company in The Alternative Board’s space that does that.
Another source of support is the opportunity to be part of our world-class community of elite business owners and advisors. The customers we work with are some of the most interesting people that one could have worked with, each with a variety of ideas and thoughts and challenges and opportunities. The Alternative Board’s business opportunity is one that has enormous flexibility and great independence, while at the same time being part of a very supportive community. There are not many organisations like that.
What are the traits, experiences and skills that are well suited to becoming a TAB Business Owner?
You must have the right mind-set, the mind-set that “this is up to me.” You must be determined to be successful and resilient in your tenacity, both of which are attributes of any successful business owner. To succeed with The Alternative Board, you must also have an ability to connect with people, to coach, to enjoy not just helping someone through the bottom line of business, but also be motivated and inspired to help someone improve the bottom line of their life by running a more successful business. Finally, you must be knowledgeable about and understand the basics of business.
Business encompasses a lot of areas like marketing, sales, operations, finance. Do TAB Business Owners have to be experts in all these areas to be successful?
No, absolutely not. No one is an expert in all of these areas. One of the most powerful things about The Alternative Board is that the knowledge and experience in all areas comes from the power of the board or the broader community. For example, if a TBO is excellent at marketing, that is a tremendous benefit to privately held business owners – but if that same TBO knows nothing about finance or technology, that ‘s fine because they have the power of their Board Members, and the power of thousands of other TAB Members around the world who will share their knowledge of those particular areas.
The Alternative Board offers a protected territory – what is the typical size of the territory?
Territories vary in size depending on whether they are city or regional territories. A franchisee can select a territory that is the best fit for their experience and lifestyle.
What does a typical week look like for a TAB Business Owner?
As a TBO, you are running a business – it’s super exciting, but there isn’t necessarily such a thing as a “typical week.” When you are establishing your professional practice, there is going to be more learning, networking, more meetings, more appointments. More than coaching and facilitation, or even consulting. As you grow, it is not as important to invest that amount of time into building the business as it is to maintain the business.
What TAB Business Owners enjoy greatly is the opportunity to be working with the TAB Members, whether they are running a TAB Board meeting or meeting with their Members privately for coaching sessions. This brings about a level of accountability and support, which helps them stay focused on their strategy, and actually meeting prospective business owners to see if they qualify for a TAB Board. “Qualify” means finding new TAB Members, and is a mutual searching process; it is a privilege to sit on one of the TAB Boards – and that is absolutely part of the excitement as well.
What about marketing? How does a TAB Business Owner market their business?
The marketing team at The Alternative Board understands various marketing channels like social media, cross-marketing platforms, digital marketing, and the team even offers a LinkedIn coach. The Alternative Board has market leading strategies which we will share and train all franchisees in.
The Alternative Board has all of the bases covered when it comes to ways to market and assist the TBOs in lead generation and appointment setting.
How many TAB Members can a typical TBO serve?
It depends on the model and how many hours per week the TBO wants to work, as it’s up to them. The time usualy adds up to about 25 hours per month for a TAB Board of eight Members, so the formula is very simple. If you want to work 40 hours per week, 160 hours a month, or 60 hours per week or 200 hours a month, you simply subtract the number of TAB Board Members or Board meetings from eight that you have from those hours per week that you work.
The Alternative Board has territories around the world that are comprised of 50, 60, even over 100 Members, but those TBOs are not doing it by themselves – The Alternative Board’s model allows TAB Business Owners to have Contract Facilitators (CFs) to run TAB Boards and do coaching on their behalf within their protected territory. Most TAB business owners start bringing in a Contract Facilitator once they have hit that 30 to 34 Member mark.
What is the Contract Facilitator model?
The Contract Facilitator model has been very successful for The Alternative Board; it has been in use for almost 30 years now. It allows the TBO to do more training or consulting without having to reduce their potential income. In most cases, Contract Facilitators are paid through a revenue share model, not employees. The Alternative Board trains them on how to be a coach or facilitator in order to coach and facilitate TAB Members on behalf of the TBO. That creates a passive revenue stream for the TAB Business Owner, and it also gives an additional income to that consultant who is in the territory who is looking to augment their income. For example, a semiretired executive or a former business owner.
How long is the contract?
You have a choice on either a 7-year contract or a 10-year contract. You have the ability to renew a contract, and each business model can be sold. This provides a level of comfort in regard to how long you believe you want to make that commitment.
What does training look like for TBOs?
A huge amount of time is spent to discuss the training through our process because it is important, and The Alternative Board has pre-training to prepare new TBOs for initial training. The pre-training sets you up for the initial training. The Alternative Board trains you on the knowledge you need.
Once you have been through that training, you can always come back to initial training with no additional charge, even if you have been with The Alternative Board for 20 years. It is all included in that initial one-time training fee.
How do TBOs keep their knowledge and skills up to scratch?
One of The Alternative Board’s central values is lifelong learning; as a TAB advisor and a coach to business owners, you should always be gaining knowledge. Attending initial training again is one great way, as it is constantly being updated as processes evolve. That “initial training” becomes new training when it comes to the use and operation of The Alternative Board’s latest tools and operating systems.
The Alternative Board also has great webinars and seminars of leadership which many of our Members utilise. Regular training on different topics and timely needs of business owners is of great help too. The Alternative Board’s ability to provide learning opportunities to TBOs is huge. Learning by being a facilitator is natural because you are around so many different scenarios and see why people are successful or unsuccessful.
How do your TBOs share best practices?
TBOs share best practices with each other and collaborate on a regular basis. Even operating in 25 countries around the world, the TAB community is very close in nature, and we regularly meet at international conferences around the world, in the US, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, and the UK. You get to share your best practices and experiences. There are group calls on a variety of topics where people phone in and share. There is a hotline where people can put out challenges, needs, and issues, and the Members of the community share their experiences and leadership. TAB also has very active social media leadership engagement, whether it be on LinkedIn or Facebook.
TAB Connect is also a powerful tool. If a TBO has a question or an issue comes up in their business, TAB is confident that one of their colleagues has already gone through that door. Why not share that wisdom and that knowledge? That is what happens through the TAB Connect system.
What is StratPro?
It is a game-changing programme for TAB Business Owners! The Alternative Board has been successful over the years, helping CEOs, business owners, and business leaders operate more optimally. These results also have to translate to the people they employ, and having a programme that is clear, easy to follow and collaborative, which involved the entire business leadership team, Stratpro takes the success a business owner has achieved through being on a TAB Board and elevates that success to a whole next level; the results speak for themselves.
Is there ongoing support?
Absolutely. Sometimes prospects aren’t looking for a franchise, but they are looking to invest in support, systems and back office operations. The Alternative Board is here and ready when you are interested in the opportunity, and where there is a fit. What you will experience when you come here is the opportunity to do exactly what you love to do: coaching, facilitation, consulting, training, and running a successful business. The rest is left up to The Alternative Board in terms of the accounting, IT support, marketing support, etc. – it is all done by The Alternative Board for you. This is the type of service that you deserve. When candidates see the website, the brochure, the work put into the quality of the materials -all of this is implemented by your support team here in Australia.
How much does a candidate need to invest to become a TBO in Australia?
The Alternative Board offers different franchise opportunities from a full franchise through to an optional franchise which require different levels of investment and ongoing royalties. During the franchise recruitment process we will work with you to identify which approach is most appropriate for you and ensure you have all the information you need to evaluate what option is best for you.
Our recommendation would be for you to talk to us about where you live, so we can come to a better understanding as to whether it is a very rural territory, or suburb, or a major metropolitan market. Then it is time to discuss the investment levels and reinforce that with the franchise disclosure document, which will provide an exact figure for the initial investment.
What is Zorakle and why should every TBO take this test before they consider becoming a TBO?
It’s natural that before you speak with The Alternative Board, you have certain goals and dreams that you want to obtain. You may also have some concerns and challenges you want to discuss, and we need to be sure you will be a good fit. An assessment of the entire community revealed characteristics of top performers and found it is all about the three C’s: Competency, Capacity, and Compatibility. Probably the most important would be compatibility because The Alternative Board can train and teach and coach on capacity and competencies, but compatibility is about fit, and underpins our values.
Zorakle provides a better understanding of how you fit with those top performers. If there are other items to discuss, it provides some facts and some data for a more in-depth analysis.
What are the steps to becoming a TBO in Australia?
The first step is to download the franchise prospectus and review the content and videos so you better understand what we do. We will then have an initial phone call to discuss what you are looking for in terms of your dreams, goals, and life – and if The Alternative Board can help achieve them. Most times, the answer is yes.
Next we go through a number of modules by zoom where you get to learn more about what we do, why it works, what you get for your investment and how you get a return on that investment. We both need to understand if we are a good fit for each other. Zorakle and other assessments are often part of the process.
For you to be successful, it’s important you are a good fit, and you must be passionate about what you do, because The Alternative Board is in the people business. You will get additional information, as well as the franchise disclosure document, and you will be able to attend a TAB Board Meeting. After that, you will be talking to as many TAB business owners as you would like. Once all of that is done – well, so far, so good. There is a fit!
Then, you will join discovery (in person or virtually) to meet the executive team. You will understand who The Alternative Board is and how we conduct business—having you immersed in this experience of attending a TAB Board Meeting with a TBO and actual TAB Members. Once this has been achieved, your data is collected and presented to you, then it is time for a decision. A decision on your part and a decision on The Alternative Board’s part. Then we would send out agreements, schedule you for training, and then also schedule you for launch.