By Heather Simonsen, a marketing strategist and blogger in Silicon Valley, California.
I had the pleasure of accompanying my husband last night to the holiday dinner for the San Francisco chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (or “EO,” as they call it). Having worked with entrepreneurs for the better part of the past 10 years and being married to one, I was surprised I had not heard of the organization until The Husband became a member.
Not only did they put on a cool event at The Old Mint in San Francisco, not only did I meet a bunch of cool people running cool companies, and not only did I get to meet my favorite wine blogger Alder Yarrow of Vinography, what struck me is that the organization serves a few really critical needs for those running their own businesses:
- First, it’s a member-only organization. You need to apply and there is a minimum threshold revenue requirement for those wishing to join. This ensures that your peer group is truly a peer group.
- Second, it’s a fairly formidable group. According to the Web site, there are 7,500 members worldwide; member businesses generate $124 billion in revenue and employ more than 1.3 million workers. Average age is about 40. I’m diggin’ it.
- Third, there are all kinds of resources for members to help advance their business leadership skills. One perk I find really interesting is that members can be placed into smaller groups called Forum. According to the Web site, these groups connect on a regular basis and serve as a “personal board of advisors” to provide each other direction and share the experiences of being a small business owner.
Why is this important?
As a leader in a larger company, you have a built-in network of peers and mentors you can choose to develop; however, as the leader of a small company, there’s you, your senior management team, maybe a Board of Directors, and your friends/family. For many reasons, you may not wish – or even be able – to share the challenges you face running your business with any of these cohorts. So, since I hadn’t heard of the organization, I know there are others who probably haven’t either and could benefit from checking it out. This blog post is for you.