At the outset of establishing a new business or shortly thereafter, many entrepreneurs come to realize the importance of connecting with other individuals like themselves. Often, they have questions or are looking for insight into their decisions, and they value the opinions and advice of people they see as successful. Unfortunately, these individuals aren’t always people within their immediate network.
The solution for many entrepreneurs is to join an executive organization or CEO group. These organizations are filled with likeminded professionals who understand the position of entrepreneurs and who have likely experienced and overcome the same struggles. More than this, however, CEO groups give budding business men and women the opportunity for inclusion in a capacity they might not find anywhere else.
One of the most fundamental benefits of joining a CEO group is access to others on the same professional and socioeconomic planes—or, access to individuals on the level an entrepreneur may aspire to achieve. Being able to interact in this capacity often drives confidence in entrepreneurs and can even be therapeutic as they connect with people they perceive as role models or mentors.
In communicating with C-level executives and other peers, it’s understood that an entrepreneur will be able to glean valuable insights and information from the experiences of other group members. The expectation is that members of a CEO group have faced a wide breadth of challenges and situations akin to what new members are facing. In passing on advice and sage wisdom, tenured members will be able to help younger CEOs and entrepreneurs avoid pitfalls on their way to individual success.
CEO groups are not exclusive to any one industry—rather, they cater to a specific level of professional achievement. This means peers can connect on a fundamental professional level, while also reaping the benefit of different industry opportunities. The CEO of a restaurant ownership group may connect with a budding entrepreneur who owns a tech analytics company, for example. This symbiosis isn’t limited to peer-to-peer connections either—often, members of a CEO group will share their services with all others in the group. This leverages the professional network into a practical one.
Mentorship is invaluable for entrepreneurs and can be a catalyst for their success on a grand scale. Mentors don’t grow on trees, though! Joining an executive group greatly narrows the search focus for finding one because it limits the pool of candidates to individuals who are proven successful. It’s often easy to find a mentor with a similar personality, business approach or industry-specific acumen. This alone justifies the time, cost and effort put into participating in a CEO group.
Opportunities abound from high-level professional groups and take numerous forms. It might come in the form of a chance to sit in on a council or join a niche industry organization. Other times, it may involve personal connections. Sometimes, affiliation with a CEO group can even yield business success via funding, acquisition or partnerships. Access to opportunity is granted by membership.
An AES Nation research survey cites approximately 14 percent of entrepreneurs as being members of a CEO group (see Exhibit 6). This low figure can be attributed to anything from group exclusivity to financial barriers to entry. It’s important to note, however, that while joining a CEO group may not be easy, neither is starting a business! Those who are driven will find a way to get involved with an executive group and when they do, they’ll reap the advantages that come with it.
*N = 759 entrepreneurs. Source: AES Nation, 2017/2018.
Content was prepared by an independent journalist under the direction of Molly Grubb AIF®, CBEC®. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date, but we do not guarantee its accuracy, and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of any subjects discussed. A professional advisor should be consulted before any investment decisions are made. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author on the date of post and are subject to change.