I couldn’t have joined EO Accelerator at a better time.
In 2014, my co-founder and I decided to hire our first employees. It had been just the two of us up to that point — until we realized we couldn’t handle all the work required to run a growing business if we didn’t hire. Now we were about to hire fresh college graduates who were entrusting us with the beginning of their careers — and livelihoods!
We didn’t have a board, a business coach, or even the right books to guide us. We had to figure out hiring, on-boarding, and training. We wanted new hires to understand what we do — heck, we, the co-founders, needed to understand what we do, and get it out of our heads and actually write it down.
And we needed a “system” for managing the company — remotely. Our entire team would be remote, spread out across the USA, and traveling frequently for projects. When you can’t look over someone’s shoulder, how do you hold them accountable?
Thankfully, I was introduced to the EO Accelerator program because of David Carnes. His office hosted the first Learning Day I attended. An hour into that day, I thought to myself, “Where has this been all my life?” I found a community of entrepreneurs going through the challenges of building a business. We discussed questions and learned tools that I could see how I could apply to my business.
I had been considering business school for a while, and I felt like I found a better alternative with Accelerator. The event wasn’t an academic exercise where I needed to memorize every single concept and pass an exam. It was all about what was practical, what were one or two things that could be applied and have an immediate impact. I also couldn’t see myself running a company while going to school; in contrast, Accelerator’s quarterly Learning Days and monthly accountability groups provided a good balance between running a company and then pressing “pause” to do professional development. Accelerator was not only a better, more reasonable time commitment; it served as a timely reminder to work not just “in” the business, but “on” the business.
After the Learning Day, I got signed up with a mentor and joined an accountability group. I now had a mini “board” that I could go to for guidance. I appreciated how much we learned just by sharing each other’s experiences, as well as the direct advice offered by a grizzled mentor.
After joining EO Accelerator, I gained the tools I needed to manage a young but fast growing team. I developed an “Operating System” comprising the tools, concepts, and processes learned through EO Accelerator, which could be used to manage a purely remote company. I got the “right books” and made them required reading for my employees.
Three years later, my company more than doubled in revenue and size. I graduated out of Accelerator into joining EO as a full member. I continue to attend Learning Days and volunteer for the Accelerator program.
I often meet with entrepreneurs who run small but growing businesses, and who don’t know about Accelerator or EO. They share with me their challenges and I share my Accelerator experience with them. And when they ask me whether Accelerator is worth it, I just tell them: wherever they are with their business — there’s no better time to join.