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.