The What If? Forum is a unique peer group of experienced business owners and leaders who regularly meet in a comfortable and confidential setting away from the daily hassles of business and personal life.

The monthly agenda makes provision for you and your fellow Forum members to discuss individual issues and robustly question and challenge each others answers and thinking. It’s an ideal opportunity to collaborate and exchange ideas with other improvement-oriented members who’ve experienced the same strategic focusing and transforming process. 

How does it work?

The What If? mastermind group uses a Socratic approach, harnessing the power of questions, and asking the right ones to get to the best answers.  The ones that get way below the surface and home in on the core of the problem.  Combined with the skill of allowing the silence to do the heavy lifting – keeping quiet after the question is asked!

Most of us have developed a fast track process to identify and isolate problems and a series of questions to confirm the solution we’ve already formulated in our heads.  While this works in the short term it rarely provides a long term solution.  The challenge is to unlearn these techniques and become more strategic in our questioning and problem solving.

What’s the format?

There are two main elements of the What If? Forum.

The first is the monthly meeting day, hosted by one of the members at their premises or a nearby hotel, it follows an outline agenda modified to meet the needs of the occasion and members.

Meet and Greet over continental breakfast
Meeting Opens
Check In and What’s Happening.
Tour of the host’s Business and an Update by the host
Members Issues
Review of a member’s Rolling Annual Total
Specialist Resource Or Open Forum
(An afternoon break is included)
Sum Up, Key Action Points and Close

The other is the monthly 1-2-1 coaching /mentoring sessions where the following headings are addressed:-

  • Review current achievements and challenges
  • Highlight and select the issue/s to explore
  • Discuss the ideal outcome
  • Weigh up the options
  • Decide what to do next and by when

External visits are organised, these have included:

  • Nissan Manufacturing, Sunderland
  • The Advanced Manufacturing Centre, Rotherham
  • JCB, Rochester

We are also regular attendees at the Thinking Digital Conference at Gateshead

What gets discussed at a session?

Everything is open to be questioned, both your business and personal life.  Your successes and failures, your decisions and decision making processes, your relationships and performance, nothing is off limits.

During the past year some of the issues process include –

  • Business Investment strategies
  • Acquisition review
  • Senior manager underperforming
  • Personal networking strategy
  • A drug problem in the family
  • Restructuring a management team
  • Inappropriate staff behaviour
  • Personal development plan
  • New project capital investment plan
  • My next business project
  • Revising 2017/20 plan following business acquisition
  • Dealing with a panic attack
  • Talent search for senior managers to cope with rapid expansion
  • Developing a digital marketing strategy
  • What to do when fraud is uncovered in the business

In all our conversations Chatham House Rules apply,

“What’s said in the room stays in the room”

Who will I find in the group?

A wide cross section of SME owner managers from a diverse range industries and market niches such as:-

  • Vending Systems,
  • Building Products
  • Electronic Solutions and Design
  • Online Retailing
  • Metal Products Manufacturing
  • Order Fulfilment
  • Environment Monitor Systems
  • Property Development
  • Reputation Management
  • Private Investment
  • Building Materials
  • Integrated Textile Manufacture
  • Education and Entertainment Display

What skills, knowledge and expertise will I find in the room?

The five main things you will find in the room are:

  • A wide and diverse range of hands on knowledge and experience of developing and growing owner managed businesses
  • A wealth of experience and skill at asking the right questions, the ones that go right to the heart of an issue
  • A high level of critical thinking and analysis
  • Honest and objective feedback based on “what you need to hear, not what you want to hear”
  • An amazing amount of empathy and understanding – no one tells you what to do, they want to help you find the best solution for you.

“Carefrontational” is the watchword of the group

The What If? Forums is – a top level learning and development experience … Try For Free.

Established in 1967, the What If? Forums has been working with national and international businesses, large and small. In the last 10 years we’ve helped add £110m of wealth to a select group of business owners…

… And you could be the next one!


What Our Members Think