Thriving in Troubled Times: With a Little Help From My Friends

"No man is an island," wrote John Donne, the great English poet, and that's also true for businesses. Active involvement, say many jewelers, in a group of fellow jewelers or other businesspeople is important to their businesses and to them personally. A recent JCK poll of hundreds of independent jewelers finds two in five are in a business group of three or more jewelers (excluding national trade or buying groups) that meets periodically. Those groups share some common threads: Member businesses are comparable in size and have similar challenges, and sometimes they swap slow-moving inventory. Groups are often circles of likeminded friends, which is just as important as business considerations. Membership costs vary from nothing for informal groups to thousands of dollars annually for business-mentoring groups. Whatever the cost, many independents have high praise for business group

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