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Insight #1: Surround Yourself with Like-Minded Entrepreneurs

Five people stand in a conference room and network with each other

As an entrepreneur, you may seek out business advice from any number of sources. Trade publications, industry journals, online courses; however, the most impactful business advice for entrepreneurs comes from other entrepreneurs. 

Five EO members were asked what lessons learned or best practices they would share with other small business owners. Read on for business advice for entrepreneurs from the perspective of someone who’s been in your shoes. 

1. The CEO is the limit of any business.

Over the last 15 years, I’ve had to alter my business model and pricing structure a few times to adjust for rising overhead costs, client needs and staffing requirements. Our business has grown at the speed of cash, slowly and steadily. My EO membership has helped me continue to grow to the next level as my company surpassed the 7-figure mark. Never did I dream that we would be in such a position, but our online auction offering sent revenue skyrocketing. That kind of business growth requires growth on behalf of the leader; EO has been a big part of that. The support of my EO Forum mates — who have experience beyond my years — has expanded my capacity for success and taught me to look at business in a new way.  

Being a small business owner is both art and science. My biggest, vital pieces of business advice for entrepreneurs are to: 

  • Keep a close eye on the numbers and analyze what those numbers mean 
  • Anticipate the needs of your industry 
  • Appeal to clients 
  • Hire and keep exceptional staff members  

I am constantly learning, growing, and getting better as my business grows. The CEO is the limit of any business, so I’ve learned that I must grow and continue to grow if I want my business to evolve and succeed. Personal growth, intellectual growth, and self-reflection are a must for any business owner interested in continued success.  

— Jeannine Bryant, EO Nebraska, Owner of Changing Spaces SRS

2. Your company must evolve with the market.

Keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive is critical for continued growth and success in a crowded field. That requires constant monitoring of industry trends and competitors, and regularly taking the temperature of clients, team members and other stakeholders. If you’re not creating ways to serve your clients more effectively, someone else will. The real danger lies in failing to evolve as clients evolve and define their “better world.” 

— Frank Fantozzi, EO Cleveland, President and Founder of Planned Financial Services

3. Surround yourself with other amazing entrepreneurs.

Every small business owner faces challenges. EO Forum has created a unique opportunity for me to share those challenges with my Forum mates and get help based on their past experiences rather than opinions. As business owners, we often feel that our challenges are unique to us. In reality, we all face very similar situations throughout our business journeys. This allows other members to share their experiences rather than give a “what I would do” opinion.  

My biggest piece of business advice for entrepreneurs is to prioritize a continuation of your learning journey. To me, this means surrounding yourself with other amazing entrepreneurs who can relate to you and have gone through similar business situations to what you are currently experiencing. It’s incredibly valuable to have overall support from likeminded people. 

— Andrew Cohen, EO Los Angeles, Co-founder and CEO of Work Better Now

4. Entrepreneurship is a team sport.

Your reputation is the backbone of your small business, especially in a small community. It’s important to stay active in the community and build relationships with other business owners, non-profits, and community leaders in the public sector. The relationships and reputation you build will create a foundation for your business. It’s these relationships that you can also rely on for guidance when you get stuck or need help in some way. Asking for help, and also reaching out and helping others, goes a long way. Support the people who support you, and know that you are not in this alone. Entrepreneurship is a team sport and there are others out there on your team that want to help, and others out there cheering you on. 

— Tom Rauen, EO Iowa, Founder and CEO of

5. Learn from the mistakes of others.

Having survived multiple boom and bust real estate cycles, my EO Forum has been incredibly valuable during difficult times. During the 2008 housing crisis, my company was on the verge of bankruptcy. The experiences shared by fellow EO members helped me manage through the crisis without going out of business, and we’ve had incredible growth since then. 

My best business advice for entrepreneurs is to surround yourself with like-minded people who care about your success, have more experience walking the path you’re on, and can help you not make the same mistakes they did. 

— Jeremy Brandt, EO Fort Worth, Founder and CEO of Fast Home Offer 

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Entrepreneurs' Organization

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