Group offers support for struggling entrepreneurs
By Carol Cain
Detroit Free Press
By Carol Cain
DETROIT — If you think running your own company is difficult, try explaining your business pressures to friends or family members.
Chances are they just won't get it.
That's why a group called the Entrepreneurs Organization has made it its mission to counsel business owners through tough and confusing times.
Similar to groups like the Young Presidents' Organization, EO is made up of 6,400 entrepreneurs from around the globe. The 20-year-old organization has 40 chapters.
The draw: Business owners get a chance to rub shoulders and learn from other successful entrepreneurs.
"When you're with other entrepreneurs, you don't have to explain the pressure of making payroll or expecting a piece of business you thought was coming through and didn't, and the fallout of that, or even how to manage money," said Dan Glisky, who started Compsat Technology in 1995 and added Compsat Security five years ago. Together, the two firms in Southfield, Mich., have 80 employees and 2006 revenue of $47 million.
Glisky, 46, has been involved with EO since 2001 and is a board member.
To qualify for EO, a person has to be younger than 50, own his or her own business and report annual revenue of more than $1 million a year.
Once accepted, members pay an annual fee of $2,500 and meet periodically with other members and experts to talk about their issues.
While EO has been growing, its leaders decided it needed to branch out to younger entrepreneurs as well as grow in the communities it serves.
So the group recently launched its Accelerator Program, which is geared toward helping young people grow their businesses. Detroit was the first city to roll out the program in late October.
The program is for business owners 36 and younger with annual revenues between $250,000 and $1 million. As members of the Accelerator Program, young entrepreneurs will have access to the EO network and its contacts.
Mercedes-Benz Financial is the global sponsor of EO's Accelerator Program.
"These innovative business people will create jobs and stimulate economic development in their communities," said Juergen Rochert, vice president of Mercedes-Benz Financial.
Other chapters that recently added the program include New Orleans, Charlotte, N.C., Vancouver, British Columbia, and Minneapolis. EO plans to roll out the program to other chapters in 2007.
News of the latest program was music to the ears of Donald McCoy, who had hoped to join EO but fell short of the $1 million revenue mark.
"I'm trying to grow my company, and to be able to network with that caliber of entrepreneur and get good, sound advice is great," said McCoy, 35, who started Performance Restoration in Michigan two years ago.
McCoy's firm, which specializes in helping companies clean up after floods, fires and other catastrophes, has six employees.
Officials hope members of the Accelerator Program will eventually qualify for EO membership.