It’s lonely at the top. Even with my wife as my business partner, and an amazing Advisory Board, my entrepreneurial journey has been at times a scary one.
Three-and-a-half years ago, I joined an organization which changed my life for the better — Entrepreneurs Organization (EO). I joined it to help grow my growing business, not knowing that I would meet my closest friends there and focus on personal growth and family growth as much as any business issues. I have no doubt that the formula works, though. Three years after joining EO, I am a better CEO, leader, father, husband and person.
Here is information about five organizations that every CEO should take a look at:
BNI is a great organization for the solo entrepreneur (solopreneur). Focused on lead-sharing and networking, I joined BNI after my wife and I started our first company six years ago. I met a great group of men and women, including solopreneurs and salespeople, who met weekly over breakfast and really cared about helping each other grow their sales.
After a year or so, as we began to focus more on national clients, I left the organization. But five years later, I still maintain some of the friendships I got from the organization. Even if you run a larger organization, consider BNI for your local salespeople.
Recommended for: Solopreneurs & Your Local Salespeople
I joined YEC just at the tail end of my qualifying as “young” — age 35 — but recently they upped the age requirement to 40. (Woohoo, I’m still young!) If you’re age 40 or younger and a founder of a company doing $1 million a year or more in revenues, this organization is for you.
I’ve found the number one asset of YEC to be online PR and marketing — there is also lots of networking and information-sharing through its exclusive Facebook group and LinkedIn group. Especially if you’re a young CEO in technology or a communications, this is a great group to join.
Recommended for: 40 and Under Founders/CEOs
I mentioned my love affair with EO at the start of this post. The truth is, if I had to choose just one of the five, it would be EO. For founder/CEO’s of fast-growing companies doing at least $1 million/year in revenues or having received $2 million in venture funding, EO includes great speakers, events and networking.
But the lynchpin of EO is the Forum experience: Each month I get together with eight close peers and we all confidentially share our business, personal and family concerns. One member each month, with the help of a peer coach, does a deep dive “presentation” on an area of concern.
If you’re not doing $1M in revenues yet but you’re doing $250,000, you may also qualify for EO’s Accelerator program.
Recommended for: Founders/CEOs of $1M+ Businesses
YPO is very similar to EO — the two key differences are that the revenue requirements for YPO are higher (depending on your type of business) and you don’t need to be a founder of the company, simply its’ current leader.
While I’m not in YPO yet, I’ve spoken for YPO Forums and met several great friends who are in YPO. And given its similarity to EO in terms of Forums and amazing events, I can whole-heartedly recommend YPO for those who qualify.
Recommended for: CEOs of companies with annual revenues over $12M
The only non-acronym here. I’ve only attended one meeting of Vistage, but I do know many CEOs who belong. It’s similar to YPO and EO in that all members participate in monthly Forum meetings with peers, except in Vistage, they’re joined by a paid coach/moderator who also does 1-1 business coaching with each member.
Also, with Vistage, the focus is strictly on business, versus EO and YPO which take a more holistic approach.
Recommended for: CEOs who want to focus on business and receive coaching
These five organizations will not only make it less lonely for you as a CEO and/or entrepreneur, they’ll help better prepare you for the challenges that lie ahead in a fun and social setting.
What professional organizations do you belong to as a CEO?