Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely job, often thankless and a non-stop roller coaster.
Explaining even that simple statement to someone that has never been one is more or less futile as much as explaining what it is like to visit space to someone that has never even been on an airplane.
After building and running companies for more than 15 years, I decided to seek out a group or organization of like minded individuals in order to discuss various business and personal situations only experienced by those that have founded and run a business of some significance.
I have never been the type of person to join networking organizations that have a primary objective of meeting, swapping business cards, soliciting business and/or seeking ways in which members can work together. I was not looking for a networking group, there are plenty of those out there.
Surely I can have conversations with colleagues, friends, my family, spouse or even my children about work related topics, but the feedback I can expect to receive will never be experience based nor will it be delivered within the context of business as a whole where each decision affects multiple areas of the business and not usually just the topic at hand.
For example, let’s say I find out that a senior level executive has been stealing from the company for several month, quite likely even longer. In deciding what to do, there are legal, financial, ethical, morale and operational impacts to consider, how to inform or not inform customers, vendors, partners and possibly even other employees. Do you react immediately or play dumb to gather evidence and catch them in the act? — I can talk about this to non-entrepreneurs and at best receive emotional support, but with other entrepreneurs I may receive a lot of comprehensive information in the format of “Wow, that happened to me last year and this is how I handled it…”
What to do? Where do I find these people?
In the search for people, groups and organizations of fellow entrepreneurs, I found the group to join in EO (Entrepreneurs Organization).
EO is a global collection of more than 7,600 members, all of whom have walked the walk and are in the organization to share and learn together. While not an invite only group, in order to be part of EO you must be the founder and/or owner of a business generating more than $1 million in annual revenue. For me, these basic requirements set the bar immediately and profiles the types of people I can expect to interact with. The organization also has a fairly strict set of rules as to how members interact in a non-solicitational, experience sharing, safe environment designed to help those that have all hopped onto the same roller coaster ride.
If you are an entrepreneur and find yourself, from time to time, seeking like minded individuals that can truly understand and help you run your business, I would highly encourage you to take a look at EO and all of the benefits available to its members.