Octane Blog – The official blog of the Entrepreneurs' Organization
The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is a global, peer-to-peer network of more than 12,000 influential business owners with 160 chapters in 50 countries. Founded in 1987, EO is the catalyst that enables leading entrepreneurs to learn and grow, leading to greater success in business and beyond.
When you think team building, what springs to mind? Embarrassing games? Trust falls? Facilitators who break into songs and cheers? It’s almost embarrassing to think that company leaders believe these activities could promote teamwork.
If this is your idea of team building, let me apologize. I’ll be the first to admit that these exercises happen every day at well-intentioned business organizations. But you should realize that trust falls and company cheers don’t (and shouldn’t) make up a complete approach to team building.
Far from it, actually.
The Team Building Stigma
Team building gets a bad rap for several reasons. It’s boring. It’s a waste of time. You can’t measure its effectiveness.
This might be why only 18% of employees agree that bonding opportunities actually improve their work life. Skepticism aside, team building is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make for your people.
Staff members need time to get to learn about each other. They need to build trust and learn to collaborate. Their success depends on it—which also means your success depends on it.
Here’s where many companies fail: Instead of focusing on specific goals for team building, they only know that team building is important and then rely on every stereotypical activity and expect it to work. This is exactly where that team building stigma comes from.
Everyone has their own image of team building in their heads, and it’s not always pretty. Overcoming the stigma is the hard part. But once you do, you’ll be positioned to fully reap its benefits rather than hoping for the best.
Don’t Force Team Building
Many organizations make participation mandatory because they think they’ll get the biggest benefit from it, but that’s not entirely true. When you force engagement, you’re going to have outliers who are going through the motions without gaining anything. They’re there because they have to be. And that does nothing for your team-building goals.
Taking the “participation optional” approach means you’re working with people who want to be there. They care about improving their team skills. Plus, if they see the benefit, they can influence those who didn’t join in—maybe even make them want to participate next time.
Get to Know Your Team First
It helps to understand your team members before you plan an event. What are they passionate about? What do they fear? What are their goals? What charities do they support? Are there any work issues going on that need to be addressed? Use this information to make the event more tailored to what’s meaningful to your staff.
Make Your Event Feel Less Like Work
Team activities should not feel like a day at the office. Take your event outside, around town, or even out of town. It doesn’t even need to be called a team building event! Be creative. Volunteer for a few hours at a local charity. Set up a grown-up treasure hunt in a local park.
The less it feels like work, the stronger your team can grow organically.
Team building is crucial to your organization’s success. You could have two, 20 or 200 employees, but you still need them to work together to help you achieve your entrepreneurial aspirations. You’ll never move forward unless everyone is pushing from the same side.
Once you conquer the stigma and recognize the value of team building, you’ll wonder why anyone ever wasted their time with the loathsome trust fall.
Written for the Entrepreneurs’ Organization by Rob Jackson, the owner of Magnovo, which delivers team building solutions anywhere in the United States.
The following is modified from a speech given by Jane to an audience of global women entrepreneurs at the 2017 MyEO Women of EO Summit in Athens, Greece.
I am a strong woman, I always have been. I grew up in Washington, D.C. at a time when it was white kids, black kids and occasionally Chinese kids. I’m Korean American. And it was 1975, so I had to figure out how to survive in my world. I decided to become strong. My mom would say, “Jane, so strong on the outside, so soft on the inside.” Moms are always right.
Physical strength was important to me. My parents didn’t get it. They focused on academics, and I wanted to play field hockey, lacrosse or soccer―but was only allowed to swim. Which I did, until my first day of college.
MyEO is one of the most popular member benefits of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). It’s a program that allows EO members to join groups or events that connect directly to their interests and passions. Here’s the story behind the creation of one of the latest MyEO groups: MyEO LGBTQ+.
Jeff Smith is a member of EO Los Angeles and CEO of JS2 PR. We caught up with him to learn what inspired him to create MyEO LGBTQ+. The new group will make its organizational debut during EO’s Global Leadership Conference in Toronto, 16–19 April 2018.
What role did EO’s Global Leadership Academy play in the formation of MyEO LGBTQ+?
JS/ I’ve been an EO member for years and was honored to be invited to participate in the Global Leadership Academy in November 2017, a five-day immersive program in Washington, D.C. The learning we experienced was incredible, insightful and deep, inspiring each of us to further our paths of leadership within EO.
Each of the 28 participants came away from the experience with something, both professionally and personally. For me, after sharing my story of being a gay man in this organization, and taking inspiration from the vibrancy of the MyEO Women of EO group, I wondered: Are there other EO members who self-identify with the LGBTQ+ community or have close ties to the community who wish we had a group to share experiences, learn and grow together as entrepreneurs?
I’m not an activist, so starting this group is a major step out of my comfort zone. But that seems to be a natural result of GLA―the experience, the speakers and the immersive qualities of the program changed my life in several ways.
Why is now the right time to establish this group?
JS/ Actually, I’ve been thinking that we needed a group like this for a long time. I originally joined EO when it was YEO in 1996. At that time, one of my questions to the friend who encouraged me to join was whether there were other people who identified as part of the gay community in the organization. But, he assured me it wasn’t an issue because the organization is about peer-to-peer learning, so orientation or identity wouldn’t be a factor. So, I joined, and I agree: Being an EO member is a transformative experience and however you self-identify, you are a valued member because of the entrepreneurial experiences you bring and share.
That being said, aren’t we missing an opportunity? Since joining EO, I’ve only met two or three gay members. That’s an unbelievably low number out of 12,000+ members. I wonder if it’s because while EO isn’t an exclusionary organization at heart and every member knows it, without specifically being inclusionary to the LGBTQ+ community, we may risk being perceived as exclusionary to people who may otherwise want to join our organization.
I spoke out about this issue during GLA and was met with a lot of encouragement to take my idea for a MyEO group to the next level. Specifically, Mary Evelyn of EO Toronto, who was at the forefront of the MyEO Women of EO group, is my co-Champion in this effort. We’ve gotten invaluable input from Winnie Hart, Champion of the MyEO Women of EO group, and have enjoyed exploring the idea, establishing messaging and beginning our outreach.
When will the MyEO LGBTQ+ group launch?
JS/ We’re planning on officially launching the group in Toronto at an event during EO’s Global Leadership Conference from 16–19 April. GLC attendees will be notified of the details once a date is set. For those interested in learning more, I’ll be at the MyEO booth during GLC to speak with members about the new group. I encourage everyone to drop by and say hello.
MyEO LGBTQ+ is a MyEO group whose dual purpose is to embrace diversity and promote inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community, in addition to recruiting LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs to the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. By sharing our experiences, celebrating individuality and respectfully engaging one another, we affirm a richer EO culture. Whether you identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community or have someone in your life who does (family, friends, colleagues), this group is for every EO member.
Who is invited to participate?
JS/ Everyone in EO is invited to participate! Our vision is to build a diverse and inclusive group for all identities and orientations within the global entrepreneurial community. The spectrum is wide!
And let’s be clear: This initiative is not about tagging specific members who identify with the LGBTQ+ community. We’re coming at it from an inclusionary point of view that emphasizes how valuable diversity is within our larger entrepreneurial ecosystem. In EO, we value experience sharing from people from different walks of life, different countries and cultures. These groups bring extraordinarily unique observations to the conversation, and we all learn and benefit from them. The same is true for the LBGTQ+ community.
By sharing our experiences, celebrating individuality and respectfully engaging one another, we affirm a richer EO culture. Our hope is that we will give a platform to people who both identify with the community and also those who may have a business partner, friend, employee or family member who identifies LGBTQ+. Because, isn’t that all of us?
How will MyEO LGBTQ+ benefit EO?
JS/ It’s important that the LGBTQ+ community have visibility and representation within the larger EO group so that potential members who identify or have ties to the community will feel even more included and welcome into our amazing group of 12,000+ entrepreneurs worldwide.
But members who self-identify as a part of this community aren’t the only ones who will benefit. When I was exploring this idea and having conversations about it, an EO member from Canada shared, “I’m straight but my son is gay, and I want to know more about the culture. I’m in: How do I join?”
Our new MyEO LGBTQ+ group will embrace and promote diversity and inclusion from an experiential viewpoint. Our member experience in EO is enhanced by a tapestry of differing perspectives, and this will be another one of them.
In addition, it will help those who self-identify with the community feel more welcome in our organization and its programs. When people see that we embrace the LGBTQ+ community with a specific group that promotes diversity and inclusion, members of the community will feel more comfortable joining our organization. That’s what this is all about: expanding options. And growth. It will be just one of the many, many reasons to join the organization, but it’s a powerful statement of inclusion.
The only criterion for joining is membership in EO. We’re eager to connect this community and foster personal and professional growth by embracing each member’s individuality, thereby enriching our commonalities. You’re all invited to join us!
Any EO member with questions about the MyEO LGBTQ+ group is welcome to contact Jeff Smith directly by emailing email@example.com.
There’s a reason the term “growing pains” is one that entrepreneurs know well. Business growth isn’t easy, change is uncomfortable, and the future is hard to predict.
All new business owners dream of wild growth: overnight fame, fortune and popularity dropped on their proverbial doorstep. And it’s only natural that they do. After all, these things are indicators of success and potential longevity. However, the very thing you desire could eventually be your undoing.
Consider another familiar saying: “Be careful what you wish for.”
Back in 1997, We Take The Cake began as a modest mail-order bakery. In 2004, Oprah named our Key Lime Bundt Cake to her “Favorite Things” list. It seemed like an entrepreneur’s dream come true. Our bakery was launched into the public spotlight. Overnight, we became the success we had wished for. It was the kind of story that entrepreneurs might think ends with “And we lived happily ever after,” without ever considering the battles lost, dragons slain and villains fought.
There’s a reason the term “growing pains” is one that entrepreneurs know well. Business growth isn’t easy, change is uncomfortable, and the future is hard to predict. Explosive expansion can be overwhelming, in both positive and negative ways. Sometimes it’s best if you pace yourself—especially if you don’t have the components for long-term success.
If you don’t have the following three ingredients, you may need to work on perfecting your recipe for success before falling into the flames.
Our expertise was hard-earned. I was not a baker to begin with, just someone who wanted to buy a business. So we found an already established company for sale. We thought, “How hard can it be?”
Spoiler alert: It can be really hard.
Before scheming up ways to go viral or become a household name, take the time to research your industry inside and out. Don’t just know how to run your business (although you’ll need that too): Gain a solid understanding of all of the moving pieces, and how they work together to produce your product, plus how your product fits within the competition, your market and the world. Do research, network with related businesses, go to trade shows, read industry publications, and have a genuine curiosity about what you do and how you can improve your product.
You can achieve expert status in an intellectual way, without having actual experience or deep understanding. We Take The Cake reached a point where we believed we knew what we were doing. We had the public name, we had the big numbers—but we had absolutely no idea what our actual sweet spot was, which led to some failed attempts at franchising and pop-up retail locations.
The good news? Those missteps along the way become just the experience you need to rise through the ranks. The bad news? Perceived failure hurts pride, and possibly your budget, in the short term. Be humble and honest with yourself so that you can recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and then act accordingly to grow appropriately.
A lot of people consider assets to be financial, but they are actually anything that brings value to your business—from staff to equipment to work space. The greatest complications from our overnight fame were mostly related to the fact that we weren’t prepared for the onslaught of orders—and that was after our attempt to prepare. Our website went down, our hosting company quit, we couldn’t handle the call volume, and it became very apparent that our space was insufficient for our new business size.
Imagine the “worst” best case scenario and plan for it. It would have been far better to have found ourselves temporarily overstaffed than to realize we had three lines of voicemail filling up every forty minutes. And, remember, if you mess up on this step, you’ve gained valuable experience, so it all works out in the end anyway.
The truth is that a comfortable pace allows your company to grow into itself as well as its potential. There will always be time for learning through trial and error—and there’s tremendous value in doing so— but getting that education in bite-sized chunks is more palatable, and practical, than plunging face-first into that which you (think you) desire.
Written by Lori Karmel, the president of We Take the Cake, an authentic artisan cake boutique located in South Florida. She is also a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization.
Nowadays, big data is more important to businesses than ever. The main reason? Big data can provide invaluable insight to help businesses make data-driven decisions that lead to big growth. What’s more, companies both large and small can effectively leverage big data in order to become more successful. That’s why many companies are eager to implement business intelligence (BI) solutions to effectively make sense of data gathered.
BI continues to evolve with every new trend and technological innovation. And there’s no sign of it standing still anytime soon.
Check out the top four BI trends for 2018:
Applying AI to BI
Modern technology is focused on the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI). While tech experts continue experimenting with AI, many businesses have found a way to leverage this technology and power up their BI solutions. One reason businesses have started adopting AI adoption is its machine-learning capabilities. Simply put, businesses are able to gather and analyze data much more efficiently with the help of AI.
Using AI in BI solutions might just revolutionize the customer experience in the near future. In addition, automated tasks and data flow in real-time will allow business to make more precise decisions, while improving their overall potential.
AI is still in its relatively early stages of development, which means that AI algorithms are optimized for specific and narrow tasks. Even so, businesses can leverage AI’s potential—such as machine learning and natural language processing—to drive specific business goals.
Breaking Down Silos
Initial applications of BI solutions were typically handled by IT experts and data scientists to generate detailed reports using data gathered on monthly basis. Even when BI moved to web solutions and reports became more frequent, there was still an issue of data being placed in a silo. That is, information was sequestered and not widely distributed within companies.
Today, data governance and self-service are an essential aspect of a modern BI workflow. With enough flexibility, a BI solution can be used by any member of the company, regardless of his or her background or technological savvy. Simply put, with the right workflow and tools in place, everyone ranging from data scientists to warehouse workers can leverage data to make more informed decisions. Eventually, BI can help an organization scale and develop efficiently.
Leveraging Multi-Cloud Solutions
Normally, BI solutions are hosted on site, at a company’s premises. But this option can cost a business significant money and time—with its hardware and maintenance requirements. That’s why many companies have moved to cloud-based solutions. Cloud solutions offer lower costs, and enable greater data analytics, computing power and data storage.
Choosing more than one cloud provider can boost a company’s flexibility, uptime and security even more. Additionally, businesses that opt for multi-cloud solutions can select the best providers for each individual need. While multi-cloud solutions are gaining in popularity, businesses that consider implementing them should consider if the overhead costs will add value and real benefits for their organization.
Welcoming the Chief Data Officer
Companies that adopted early versions of business intelligence probably had chief information officer whose responsibility was to oversee security measures and data management. However, modern data growth and the increasing need for more efficient distribution of information across organizations has given birth to a new role: chief data officer (CDO).
A CDO’s responsibility is essentially to empower data-use across all company sectors, providing actionable and easy-to-use data for all employees. Moreover, a CDO’s role is to distribute analytics on all levels, so that the company can improve its performance and gain a competitive advantage using its BI solution.
Written for the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) by , editor in chief at Technivorz blog, where he writes on innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing. Connect with him on Twitter.
As most HR and payroll professionals will attest, people are very particular about their pay as are the companies that pay them.
Believe it or not, some US companies still pay people exclusively in cash—presumably to get around paying taxes or to avoid having to document paying people who are unauthorized to work in the country. Other companies refuse to even cut paper checks, instead requiring all employees to be paid by direct deposit. This is perfectly legal as long as the employer does not control which bank or account employees use.
Other employers, particularly startup companies, pay their employees exclusively in equity. Others pay mostly in stock or in a combination of salary, stock, “cafeteria plan” benefits and fringe benefits. Freelancers may be paid ACH deposit to their bank accounts through sites like UpWork, Freelancer or even PayPal.
The newest form of payment to emerge isn’t even “real” currency—that is, it isn’t tied to a country’s official currency. It’s called virtual currency, and its use as a payment method has important implications for payroll.
What Is Virtual Currency?
Virtual currency or cryptocurrency is “the digital representation of value that is issued and controlled by its developers, and used and accepted among the members of a specific (virtual) community.”
Unlike traditional currency, which has more of a stable value, virtual currencies are a hybrid that is best described as part stock, part cash. Because you can spend virtual currency online the same way you can spend pounds or dollars, it is like traditional money. And because transactions occur independently from formal banking systems and are untraceable, they are more like physical cash. The speculative nature of cryptocurrency, however, makes it more like stock. The number of people willing to use and accept the currency plays a large role in its value.
How many people use virtual currency? Since the appearance of bitcoin in 2008, cryptocurrency has slowly grown in popularity. Coinbase, a digital wallet used to hold, buy or sell your bitcoins, ethereums or litecoins, currently claims to have served more than 10 million users worldwide. Yet, many people don’t know what a bitcoin is. As of 2014, “76 percent of US residents were not familiar with bitcoin and 80 percent said they would rather own gold than bitcoin.”
Still, more and more people in the US are becoming aware of virtual currency, with the payment option available on the websites of several major retailers like 1-800-Flowers and Overstock.com.
Getting Paid in Virtual Currency
Getting paid in crypto currency is risky. After all, theft is impossible to detect and it cannot be kept safely in a bank account. While bitcoin is the notorious payment method of choice for nefarious online businesses, it’s also a form of legitimate payment for lawful work performed. In addition to security issues surrounding payment, there are also possible issues relating to employee benefits. Because cryptocurrencies are speculative, which can create valuation issues, there may be regulatory implications for benefits tied to compensation.
There are also practical administration issues with paying people in a currency that turns their rate of pay into a moving target. Does HR need to constantly adjust each employees’ pay relative to what it would be worth in US dollars? And how does a dipping pay rate impact minimum wage requirements? Could this hurt employees’ chance at a consistent living wage?
There are websites that show real-time bitcoin (XBT) exchange rates. There are also tools like People HR’s Living Wage Calculator that allows HR to see at a glance the minimum an employee needs to make to get by. But changing the amounts in a payroll system would almost certainly have to be done manually.
Recruiting and Retention
If your organization is considering virtual pay, how do you attract and retain employees when the value of their pay is subject to change? What does that offer letter even look like? Survey after survey has shown that, while pay is not the number-one factor in employees accepting or staying with a job, the pay must meet their personal salary requirements. And pay is still among the top considerations. Many employees also highly value stock options, but that is in addition to their desired salary, typically not in lieu of it.
Given these realities, a combination of virtual and traditional currency would likely work better to attract and retain top talent.
How are cryptocurrency payments taxed? According to the IRS, virtual currency is treated as property for the purposes of Federal taxes, including payroll taxes. This means that wages paid to employees using virtual currency are taxable to the employee, and the employer must withhold federal income and payroll taxes. All virtual currency payments must be reported on form W2.
In the UK, cryptocurrency is treated as an asset and is subject to either income tax or capital gains tax. It is not treated as income for individuals, so for the purposes of paying in virtual employees, employers in the UK do not have to worry about payroll taxes. The administrative burden is effectively put on the employee.
Payroll services using bitcoin wages, however, has not quite matured yet. While a few companies, including BitWage, claim to allow companies to pay their remote workforce, they say nothing about processing payroll taxes, garnishments or any other payroll requirements.
While virtual currency is still not a very representative form of payment yet, it is already a recognized form of payment with individuals, retailers, employers and the Federal Government in the US. HR professionals across the globe would be wise to plan for how this emerging form of payment will impact recruitment, retention and overall payroll administration.
Written for EO by John Crowley, editor at peoplehr.com, writes about HR, people management and cloud technology. He manages the People HR blog where he tackles topics ranging from building a strong culture to navigating HR tech.
Time is money, so start freeing up time to make room for growing revenue.
Business owners know all too well that smart business management means being able to get things done efficiently and not get bogged down in day-to-day operations.
One of the biggest ways modern business owners are streamlining business operations is by utilizing automated software solutions to take care of essential tasks quickly and accurately. Here are three software automation techniques that can have a big impact on how you do business.
#1 E-commerce & inventory management automation
If you run a business that involves selling goods or services online, it’s likely that you spend a significant amount of time managing everything from purchase ordering and inventory management to shipping and fulfillment. Utilizing dedicated e-commerce and inventory management software can positively impact your entire sales process by enabling automatic reordering, payment processing, stock updating and a host of other benefits.
Taking it one step further, some e-commerce and inventory software solutions like TradeGecko and Shopify can be integrated with other software, so you can manage your entire sales, ordering, accounting, and fulfillment process from the one place. This has huge time-saving potential that smart online merchants can’t afford to overlook.
#2 Digital marketing automation
Regardless of your type of business, having a defined digital marketing strategy is key to getting ahead. But for many businesses, especially new ones, there isn’t much spare time or manpower to dedicate to marketing. That’s where automated digital marketing solutions come into play. Tools like Hootsuite, for example, can be used to manage and schedule all your social media posts from a single dashboard, while a solution like Needls enables automated ad creation and targets prospective customers for you. Depending on what you want to achieve, there’s a tool to manage virtually every component of your digital marketing strategy. It’s just a matter of finding one that has the capabilities you need.
AI is a hot topic nowadays and while it may seem like a far-fetched concept, the fact is that it’s becoming more widely used in day-to-day business.
One of its major uses is for automated chatbots, which provide customer service and answer questions based on keywords input by the customer in a chat window. Although this technology isn’t yet perfect, it’s already revolutionizing the way businesses connect with customers by enabling 24/7 support in real time. Not only that, but it cuts out the need for a customer service team to answer the same or similar questions time and time again, which means money can be invested elsewhere in the business.
Likewise, email marketing solutions like MailChimp allow you to set up automated emails for your subscriber base. So, any time customers want to know something (for example, “When will this item be back in stock?”), they can click a button that triggers a personalized email response.
While these three software automation techniques can be beneficial to business’s efficiency and revenue, there are a huge number of business automation solutions out there to suit different needs. It’s all about finding the right one to help you meet your goals.
Written for EO by Neeta Nelson, content marketing manager at TradeGecko.
The right data lets you personalize your message, no matter what your market. Consider this example out of the tourism industry from Morgan & Co., a media agency owned by EO Lousiana member Eric Morgan.
A Millennial, a Gen Xer, and a Baby Boomer walk into a swanky hotel bar. They sidle up to the three feet of marble that separates them from the smooth-talking bartender and order the house special. Let’s call it a martini.
Waiting for the punch line?
This isn’t the beginning of an old joke. It happens all the time in New Orleans, Savannah, Los Angeles, and any number of other tourist destinations. That’s because there’s a lot of crossover among generational demographics when it comes to travel.
There’s also a lot of competition among hotels, bars, restaurants, and other hospitality industry businesses. How many bars in New Orleans offer “the best” martini in town? Logically, there can be only one. So how does a tourist—whether a Millennial, a Gen Xer or a Baby Boomer—decide which business to trust?
The obvious answer is advertising, but that’s not the whole answer. If it was, those thirsty tourists would still be standing around scratching their heads because all of the bars made the same blanket claim: New Orleans’ Best Martini.
How do successful travel industry advertisers attract and convert tourists?
The more sophisticated answer—the one that savvy tourism marketers understand and act on—is hyper-targeted advertising campaigns.
Experienced tourism and hospitality marketers are able to attract their ideal clients by grouping broader demographics into narrower, more swayable market segments. They use data on these market segments to craft campaigns that will speak directly to the unique desires and fantasies of each segment.
Let’s get back to those three tourists. How did this particular bar appeal to each demographic?
Did the marketing manager use a blanket campaign to target all potential visitors the way that masked Mardi Gras krewe members sometimes chuck out bags of beads toward the end of their route?
Or did she look for particular people who were already excited about something specific and more gracefully lob a very special set of beads in their direction?
If you know anyone who rides in a Mardi Gras parade, you know how expensive those plastic beads are. And all you have to do is walk down the neutral ground after any parade to see how many of them are left in the dirt by over-saturated bead-seekers. For budget-conscious krewe members, being selective with throws prevents waste and ensures costly beads go home with someone who’ll appreciate them.
Segmented tourism campaigns save money and improve client satisfaction
Like careless bead-throwing, blanket marketing tends to cost more because your possible audience—everyone who might consider visiting your establishment—is already being inundated with similar sweeping marketing tactics from your competitors. Another, often-overlooked side effect of blanket advertising is drawing in tourists who aren’t your ideal clients. This, in turn, may lead to dissatisfaction and negative reviews.
By using segmented data, you can spend your hospitality business’ advertising budget more strategically, targeting those groups who are more likely to appreciate what you have to offer. This creates several benefits for your business, including:
Greater change for conversion
Improved advertising budget ROI
Increased likelihood of client satisfaction
Increased free, word-of-mouth advertising
Making tourism data more personal through analysis
Numbers don’t mean much without a context. That’s why we work with our client to uncover what the numbers say about key cultural and demographic insights. We use the data to gain a better understanding of what different groups of travelers are thinking about and what they’re looking for in their travel experiences.
That empowers tourism and hospitality marketing managers to develop hyper-targeted, cost-effective advertising strategies that capture customer interest. And maybe it’ll bring a few like-minded travelers together in the process.
Eric Morgan has spent 20 years focused on media strategy and promotional advertising tactics, and he loves what he does every day as the founder of Morgan & Co., a media agency based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Eric joined EO in 2008 and has written for EO’s Octane magazine about Hurricane Katrina.
It happens: You build a successful organization and business is humming along. Suddenly you realize: You’re bored and you want more. Not more money necessarily, but more personal and professional fulfillment. More enjoyment, more opportunities, more challenges. Entrepreneurs with an ongoing thirst for learning often turn to executive education programs to expand their knowledge base to tackle new challenges and opportunities.
The Entrepreneurial Masters Program class of 2016.
Core to EO’s mission is an unrelenting commitment to helping both first-stage and experienced entrepreneurs learn and grow to new levels of leadership, in business and beyond. Continuing education is important, especially when you’re trying to challenge the status quo. One way is executive education, offered through university programs and other professional organizations and institutes.
We asked EO members about their experiences pursuing executive education, specifically the Entrepreneurial Masters Program (EMP) at the MIT Endicott House, located in Dedham, Massachusetts. Here’s what they said.
Why, as a successful entrepreneur, did you seek additional education?
Michele Hecken, CEO of Alpha Translations Canada: “I sought additional education for the same reason professional athletes need a coach: To grow my potential and create the best company I can―to win when I compete. Surrounding yourself with successful peers from different industries and walks of life provides some of the best learning opportunities and provided a significant competitive advantage.”
Hao Lam, CEO of Best in Class Education: “There is a Chinese proverb that resonates with me: ‘One must keep learning as long as she lives.’ So, when I discovered the opportunity to enrich my life through additional education and connect with other like-minded entrepreneurs, I knew I had to take it.”
What did you gain from executive education?
Hecken: “EMP provided some of the best speakers, tailored to entrepreneurs’ most pressing challenges, who provided concrete, actionable insights and advice which we could implement in our companies immediately. Those learnings, tools and metrics have provided a foundation upon which my company continues to grow to this day.”
Lam: “Not only did I learn vital information from fantastic speakers, but I walked away with invaluable lessons and tools that I could apply both personally and professionally. Most importantly, I formed bonds with 66 other lifelong learners. We became deeply connected to each other both inside and outside of the classroom. We still share good and bad news with each other and provide much-needed support if one of us hits a wall–it’s priceless.”
Hao Lam is an EO Seattle member who joined the organization in 2014. He has written for Octane on the power of persistence during his escape from Vietnam. He is the CEO and founder of Best in Class Education, an education center designed to help students and teachers grow.