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

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 Ark 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.