Discovering EO (behind me every step of the way)

By James Rix - EO Member and Founder StreetPR UK and Harrix Group

I’m in the northern part of Thailand, in a place called Chiang Mai. After creating a successful business in London, I’d taken the decision leave it in the capable hands of my business partner to fulfil a dream and ride from the UK to Australia. It’s January 2012, and in the past 10 months I’d ridden through 33 countries.  

And there in front of me as I pulled up to the famous Rider’s Corner Bar and Restaurant for the annual Asia Horizons Unlimited meeting, thousands of miles from home, was a battered-looking Royal Enfield with British plates.  

A chance meeting 

So after I settled into the accommodation, I went down into the bar in search of the rider of this machine (which I discovered was called Batty), excited at the chance to meet a fellow Englishman who, like me, had ridden across a decent chunk of the world to get there. This amazing man turned out to be Harry Lyons-Smith, who I found out was also a successful business owner.  

A few drinks were had as we talked business and travel. He told me that when I got back to England I should check out something called the EO – the Entrepreneurs Organisation.  

When I did finally get back to London later that year, I met up with Harry again. We talked about work and he repeated his suggestion that I should look at the EO. 

Honestly…? 

I did – and I have to be honest, my first impression wasn't great. It seemed – and still does seem – very American, which kind of turned me off. But then I was asked to attend a training day, after meeting another EO member who like Harry seemed really switched on. 

That training day changed everything for me. In that room I sat with 10 other business owners, all of us running companies turning over more than £1m. We shared experiences and we discussed problems and how to solve them. We also shared experiences on positives, such as marketing resources or technology to make business easier.  

A lasting impression 

I walked out of the room that day having spent the past few hours both giving and taking. I’d contributed as a problem solver and I’d had some invaluable experience shared with me in a totally and utterly confidential manner. 

 This was four years ago now. The Entrepreneurs Organisation has been with me throughout the doubling in size of my primary company and the founding of three other companies. EO has been there for me during tough personal times and during times of celebration. 

 EO has won me business from Europe, Africa, America and the Middle East. Once, I had a EO member provide me with funds to fulfil a last minute project in London, before we had even signed an agreement. This wasn't a small deal, but the trust and respect among EO members is like something I have never experienced before or after. EO isn't a networking group, EO members are closer than that. 

And then some

The group has also introduced me to some of the world’s most amazing entrepreneurs and all round human beings. From the founder of billion pound software company Xero where 20 of us shared breakfast hearing his amazing store of growth and got to ask him questions – to the Iron Cowboy who did 33 Iron Man events in 33 days in 33 US states.

Because of my involvement with the EO, my business community has grown enormously and I now have contacts across the world, most of them people I’ve met at world-wide events the group has organised.

I’ve been able to take what I learnt – both from running my own businesses and from other people sharing their experiences with me – and pass it on to a new generation of entrepreneurs.

And the EO has been behind me every step of the way as I’ve built my company into a multi-million-pound turnover group.

And none of that would have happened if I hadn’t parked behind Batty that day in Chiang Mai…

 

2018 insights and lessons from EO members

In the spirit of experience shares and in keeping with the EO Value - “Thirst for Learning” we asked EO Members to share with us what they would take away into 2019 from “Two thousand and great-een”. Here are their thoughts!

  1. My best insight has been doing my daily list of 3 things I am grateful for (from one of the EO retreats). I feel more balanced since doing it. I email it to myself daily each morning from the previous 24 hours.
    Rob Croydon

  2. The first event I had with EO was life-changing. At forum training, I learnt the principles and benefits of gestalt communication. It has transformed how I interact with my team and my family.
    Chris Daniel

  3. Reading John Mullins’ book “The Customer Funded Business” on the recommendation of EO founder Verne Harnish. The ideas within fundamentally changed my cashflow and increased the value of my business in the eyes of investors by…millions!
    Richard Metcalfe

  4. Going to the Jack Daly event, some of the tactics and principles I learnt and put into practice immediately built a new sales training and process off the back of it, which led to the pipeline for our following quarter being the biggest we’ve ever had.
    Zoe Bedford

  5. My biggest takeaway is “eliminate, delegate or automate” from the Marcus Taylor talk. I love the concept and I’m trying to implement it every aspect of my life. The first thing to eliminate is people videoing me when I’m dancing at an EO party!
    Saab Jhooti

  6. One takeaway I got was from another member, who had the philosophy that “I never do anything that someone else could do.” It has informed/haunted me throughout the subsequent two months - especially when I'm doing things that literally anyone could do!
    Karl Banks

  7. My latest insight is that when dealing with staff or negotiations it is best to consider the business as a 3rd party you are serving, and refer to it as such, which takes away quite a lot of the ego and makes it all easier.
    John Busby

  8. As an EO board member I was able to be part of the London Chapter's Strategy Summit. We had a facilitator come in from Kenya who took us through the process of putting our plan together for the year.  The process was incredible, we took the ideas of a dozen board members and came out of it with a coherent and exciting strategy that everyone was behind.  I was able to use the process for a not-for-profit at which I'm a non-executive director.
    Chris Daniel

The Meaning of Christmas (Party)

By Richard Metcalfe, EO Member and Founder & CEO at Arkk Solutions

At our annual company seasonal get together, I realise more than ever the importance of making sure that you put on a great show for the team. Not only will they let you know that they appreciate it, but there also might be some unexpected results that give you a (hopefully pleasant) insight into their characters.

Following our holiday party (which we had in November) and with a clearer head, a few thoughts:

Having the party in November was an unexpected masterstroke

Show your team that you love them by making your event first before Christmas party apathy sets in. You’ll get the best reaction and it’s a great way to kick off December.

Don’t skimp on the quality of the restaurant and food. They’re giving you the best years of their lives – give them the best food and wine you can afford, and somewhere that you would spend your own money. And keep your credit card behind the bar too!

Deliver some good news before and during the festivities

November was a great month for us, and the party day of the 30th especially so, with 2 new deals and several client growth expansions being signed off during the afternoon’s festivities. We also launched our 3 Year Vision at noon on the party day with a glass of something fizzy to set the tone for the day. It’s what everyone wanted to talk about during the evening and as we know, if you write it down and share it it always comes true!

Book some live music

I completely underestimated the power of booking a live band and the bonding effect that a sing along can have on the team. Not anymore!

Getting your team to sing from the same sheet (literally) delivers amazing results! Get ready for a feel-good company moment.

Secret Santa delivers for the creatives

Everyone was stunned when a team member got a mini break to Oslo as his secret Santa present! The most creative use of a £20 budget ever – inclusive of 99p Ryanair flights and Hostelworld bunks!

Even Santa’s sleigh needed some repairs

When one of the musicians from our live act came back into the party after finishing her set and told us that her car had a flat tyre I was blown away to look out and see 2 of our team jacking up the car in their togs and replacing it for her. Given it was 11pm and the party was in full swing, this single act of unselfishness by two Arkk Solutions culture legends lifted the heart. Well done guys!

Roll on the Summer Party!

4 things I’m thinking about because of EO

I realised I had found a way to tap into a constant source of ideas, imagination and challenge.  

By Zoe Bedford, EO Member and Chief Executive at ZPB Associates

Since I joined EO 5 years ago, my business has grown by 40%, we’ve doubled the number of people we employ, and I’ve had three children.

Founding and running your own business can become pretty all consuming, and when you throw three young children into the mix it can feel like there’s little time for anything else.

When the lion’s share of our time is spent within our own business and market, we can become restricted in our thinking and ambition when it comes to our business and ourselves. And that’s a risk I didn’t want to face.

So, it came at the right time – my introduction to EO. A chance to avoid restriction  by spending time with (and learning from) a group of fellow business owners, all in different stages of life, business, careers.

Early on, I realised I had found a way to tap into a constant source of ideas, imagination and challenge.  

I’ve been considering what would be different if I hadn’t joined. I can remember exactly how, in many instances, it was an EO experience (a conversation, an interaction, an idea, a contact, an example, a show of support) that started me on a new path or trajectory to realising an ambition that had previously seemed too far-fetched.

There are four goals I’m working towards now that just wouldn’t exist, had I not spent time with fellow business owners and entrepreneurs through EO. None of them are classic business metrics, but all of them are about building value and impact into my business and me as an individual.

1% for the Planet

I learnt about Yvonne Chouinard’s venture to minimise our impact on the planet via an EO member, whose own business has just planted its 1 millionth tree. I am now currently working out how I can introduce this into my own business

How to build social purpose or impact into an established business

I had to learn how to do this, starting with my own business. This has always been important to me, but I have previously been too preoccupied with the short- to medium-term needs of my business to take a step back and consider what our impact and legacy should be.  Until now that is.

How and when to take time out of the business

Time out is valuable - and I realised how important it is to do so regularly Through EO I learned smart business habits that allow me to find that time and head-space – without risk to my business growth. An example of how it’s working - I have just (successfully) restructured my business around a value proposition that came to me whilst having a hot chocolate with my 3-year-old!

How to cut the amount of plastics we use as a family

We started earlier this year and so far we’ve reduced the amount being sent to recycling by a third, and about the same amount saved for landfill.  Again, this idea was seeded by a conversation with one of my EO peers.

What’s different from previous efforts is that these goals - some personal, some business oriented, but all grounded in values important to me - stand a chance of actually turning into something and being sustainable, as opposed to yet another ‘great idea’. Because in amongst the noise and clamour of a business and a growing young family, I have a network of peers and friends who are quietly encouraging me to pursue them and will hold me accountable.    

And, it’s not only the support. Through my time with fellow EO members, I have learned to

  • Strategise how social good can help not only my business conscience but also our bottom line

  • Put the right structures (and people) in place and keep them accountable, so that I can focus on the longer-term growth of the business, and the next phase of its evolution

  • Think bigger, work smarter and enjoy myself on the way!

If you would like to know more about EO feel free to PM me.

The surprising side effects of becoming a member of the Entrepreneurs Organisation

by John Busby, EO Member and Cross Border Finance Land Real Estate Specialist

In July 2017 I was in a bad place. I was flat out dealing with clients, having to run faster and faster just to stay in the same place. A status quo had been reached with my business partners and we were on different continents and not aligned, which meant that growth was weak and sporadic. I was diagnosed with "laid back attitude", left lethargic, spending more time escaping the business, than growing it.

Getting on track

I was prescribed membership of the Entrepreneurs Organisation in London by my business partner. The thinking for this course of treatment being that the more time you spend in the company of highly motivated and inspirational people, the faster the dynamic in your own business life can change. I joined in July 17 and quickly underwent essential forum training so that I could join a group of fellow entrepreneurs, founders and co-founders of businesses turning over at least $1M per year, to meet and discuss the best ways to learn and grow.

Was I “cured”?

More than a year later, I can reflect on what a successful choice it was. An extremely successful period where my business has grown by a solid 30% and I have become a far more effective leader in my own now fully aligned business.  

Listening to other members of EO I would not say that kind of result is surprising or uncommon. Not unusual. A standard happening.

Side effects

There have however been a few unexpected side effects from my perspective which I have felt since completing my first year.

These have been an increased overall sense of confidence and enthusiasm, becoming less judgemental, more understanding and learning to speak from experience rather than giving advice. I have also learned a huge amount that I was not expecting to by joining the board of the organisation, a unique opportunity to work, co-create and learn alongside exceptional entrepreneurs, with some parties too in awesome international locations. 

Jim Rohn said you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, but I think it goes further as it also depends who those five people can introduce you to. Getting connected to other people running similar sized businesses in London has added me to an excellent network of 14,000 highly successful entrepreneurs internationally - who share the same values of trust and respect, to boldly go and make a mark with a thirst for learning. These are fellow members who are ready to share their contacts and experience to help each other learn and grow to find the next level up.

The prognosis looks great and am pretty much cured but as there are cool side effects, I'll be taking more of that medicine.

400% growth in my business in 3 years – How EO helped

By Richard Metcalfe, EO Member and Chief Executive at Arkk Solutions Ltd

If somebody offered to grow your business by over 400% in 3 years and then that person tuned out to be you all along, you’d want to know how right?

Well, that’s exactly what has happened to mine since I joined EO. Well, I say joined, but rather I was recruited.  The entrepreneurial armbands that I was wearing at the time must have been visible a mile away by my saviour.

I wasn’t quite clueless (we had reached the magical $1m, or as it was at the time £700,000 mark) but I was winging it…big time.

I’d had mentors and snake oil salesman attach themselves to me like a creature of desperation ready to listen to whatever wisdom they cared to impart (my instincts kept me from inviting them in as shareholders but there were a few close calls).

Winging it to where?

What was missing were people in my circle who didn’t have their own interests at heart – enter EO.  EO stands for Entrepreneurs Organization (see www.entepreneursorganization.co.uk for more info on it – or just talk to me!), but as I’ve got to know it’s purpose it may as stand for Each Other.

It turns out that there is a recipe for scaling up, and lots of people in EO know it.  My journey began in a monthly forum, tapping into the knowledge of 8 other entrepreneurs, some of whom had been through the challenges I was struggling to negotiate and some of whom were yet to get there, and I found that I could offer my experience to. 

First 6 months, I learned how to push back on a £25,000 telecoms bill and ultimately see the provider rip it up – all through the experience shares from forum!

This was starting to work for me: and delivering proper return on investment that I could share with my co-founders.

It didn’t stop there

I volunteered for more leadership roles in the organisation I found myself becoming a “meeting ninja”, running tight business meetings in our organisation, leveraging all the tips and tricks learned in EO.

Our productivity as a company soared as my team started to copy my good habits.  As I read new books from world class authors and listened to similar speakers, my business acumen shot through the roof – prior to EO I would aimlessly scour the bookshop shelves for business books – now I have a curated reading list from the some of the best minds in the world.

Growth came from new sources

In that time, I have had new product launches and used an EO specialist who gave their time for free to help me refine messages and hit the ground running in sales – we netted over £1m in new product sales in 9 months after I presented my business plan to some EO members (and we are replicating that again this year).

When we set up our New York office (we are London based), we avoided all of the costly pitfalls normally associated with a transatlantic crossing thanks to the assistance of the New York EO membership chapters who guided me through the process of getting started in NY.

I estimated that I have spent about £30,000 on EO in since I joined 5 years ago – and in that time I have had 24 hour coaching and support from my forum when I need it. I have also had leadership experiences and training in Mexico City, Bangkok, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Dublin, San Diego etc.

What was the ROI then?

A friend asked me recently if I could quantify the ROI I have gotten from EO. I did a quick mental calculation based on the growth I have experienced (both financial and personal) as a direct result of EO. Trying to put EO into an obvious category like “business training” doesn’t even start to cover all I have gotten from it – the friends, experiences, and confidence I now have.

When it comes down to it, ROI for training is so hard to measure, so to take the easy route I look at the top line. and that top line has grown 433% in the 5 years that I have been an EO member.

I don’t believe in coincidence.

Of course, I could go on and on and give you a detailed list of all the knowledge and benefits EO has given me, but as it’s happened on a daily basis over 5 years, it would take you too long. I can honestly say that joining was best decision I ever made.

How a single training day with EO gave me 10x on annual membership

By Troy Barratt, EO Member and Chief Executive at Contract Engineering

EO: Scaling Up – “Cash” Day with Andy Clayton

A couple of weeks ago I attended a fantastic course to help members apply the CASH section of the Scaling Up book by Verne Harnish.  We had a great facilitator who knows the material inside and out, and we spent the day working the numbers to figure out where we can squeeze more profits and cash flow out of our businesses. 

In true EO fashion we went deep quickly (it was a members only event for a reason) and everyone shared their financials (often our least shared information!) so that we could get the most out of the coaching.

I spent most of my career in banking and private equity, so I like to think I have a decent grip on numbers and accounting. 

Turns out I was completely missing some great tools that are perfect for my business! 

What I didn’t have

The best way to describe it is that I knew I needed to get more out of my company, but I was grasping for the right tools.

That day, the 3 tools I was missing appeared (as if by magic!): EO training, The Power of One methodology and “Labour Efficiency Ratios”!

What made this day so immensely valuable was that my wife and I (we work together) went through our financials and shared them around the room. Now, sharing this level of financial information is definitely not something we would do in a normal training environment. However, by the time we left the training (and though the session took 7 hours, it actually flew by!) we already had our specific targets worked out!

So what specifically did we get out of it?

Well, we worked out our targets, which was incredible considering how little time we’d actually spent, and we benefited from some great “experience shares” by others in the training.

However there was so much more. I’ve realised we are getting a 10x return on the EO membership fees through increased profits from just one of the simple Power of One tools.  I expect to get at least 2-3x that amount as we work through the others.  To emphasize how powerful these are, NONE of the ones we are implementing require an increase in sales volume.  Our growth over the next year will simply amplify the results.

We also have a new way to measure our labour efficiency, a key financial driver in our company.  A simple equation can help reveal the efficiency of each department in your business.

We now have a better tool to use for monitoring our productivity, and it is easily shared with our team.  It flips the labour equation, so we discuss productivity with staff instead of their cost to the business.  A much more positive way to communicate!

Just one of the perks

Courses like this one are what get me really excited about EO. It’s great, straightforward training to help me grow my business done in an open, collaborative environment.  And to think, all this for around £70.00 for two tickets…it’s a steal!

The Cash day is one of four full “Scaling Up: Gazelles Training” days EO offers – out of a total of 30 social and business learning events throughout each year (The other three are “People”, “Strategy” and “Execution”. I’ve already booked in December’s full learning day on Scaling Up: Strategy and no doubt I’ll be at the final of the four on Scaling Up: People in early 2019!

Thank you EO.