When you talk to seasoned entrepreneurs and ask about their most important life habits, you notice that many of them belong to an entrepreneur accountability group of some sort. Usually, they’re groups of 4 – 10 entrepreneurs who meet monthly to share in their personal and professional lives.
But for some reason, successful entrepreneurs don’t often talk publically about these groups. Perhaps it’s cause they’re often extremely exclusive, where the groups meet at exclusive golf clubs or elite clubs like Soho House…or the groups are highly restrictive, like EO, YPO, and Vistage, where the membership qualification requirements and annual fees are a huge barrier to entry.
Whatever the case, this practice of meeting in entrepreneurial accountability groups is a life habit that many successful entrepreneurs practice religiously. To entrepreneurs who don’t practice this, these groups may seem like extracurricular socialite behaviors for the ultra-successful, or maybe just another form of professional networking. But the truth is, these founder accountability groups provide invaluable benefits to the growth of all levels of entrepreneurs.
In this article, we’ll dive into 6 reasons why these entrepreneurial accountability groups provide tremendous value to every founder.
1. Peer Accountability
It’s common knowledge the effect social accountability has on creating positive results and outcomes. To illustrate it simply, let’s say you have a specific goal for your business: to make 2 critical hires within the next 3 months. If you keep that goal in your head, there might be a 10% chance you’ll actually do it. If you write the goal down, you might increase your chance of doing it by let’s say 20%. If you actually share your goal with an accountability group of other entrepreneurs, your chance of achieving that goal would swing much closer to 100%.
This is the power of peer accountability. When you share personal or professional goals with a group of peers…there are elements of social pressure, encouragement, and even competition at play that can have positive effects on your goal setting and results. There are people in your life who are now invested alongside you in your goals, and who you have to answer to the next time they check-up on you with those goals.
2. Knowledge Sharing
When you’re in a founder accountability group, you get to tap into the collective wisdom and experience of other smart entrepreneurs just like you. This collective wisdom is very different than the knowledge of let’s say, friends, board members, advisors, or employees. All these other people in your life have their place. But, the collective knowledge of fellow founders is unique.
Founders have the shared insight of what it means to be in your shoes, they’ve run into similar problems and challenges of running a company, and their understanding of the context of various situations you’re going through makes their perspectives invaluable. Knowledge sharing amongst founders is hugely important to both the growth of the company and the growth of the founder.
I’d consider this benefit 1 part inspiration and 1 part healthy competition. When you meet with a group of other ambitious founders, you can’t help but be inspired when other entrepreneurs in your group are making progress and hitting goals. When you hear first hand from your peers about their accomplishments, and you intimately know the context of their journey, you not only get inspired by their journey…but are deeply encouraged to achieve your own personal and professional goals.
And as I alluded to earlier, when you put ambitious entrepreneurs together, there’s always an element of friendly competition. When you see one person in the group succeed…your own drive to also succeed increases dramatically.
Businesses are often more similar than different, even when they’re in different industries. Often, they run into similar challenges in areas of financing, operations, employee management, revenue, etc. Think about it this way, every member of your group comes with a lifetime of knowledge and experience you can instantly tap into.
The ability to share knowledge and resources with other business leaders is critical. There’s a high likelihood other founders have already faced a similar challenge that might be keeping you up at night. A peer group of founders is often the best sounding board or source of knowledge you can turn to for advice.
We all know how important it is to network. We learned it in all the classic business books, from every entrepreneur blog and podcast, and probably every time we visit LinkedIn or Twitter. But, often, we just don’t have the physical time to nurture and expand our professional networks.
When you engage in a small entrepreneur group…you can almost consider that every group member’s network is an extension of your own network. Immediately, your network-reach practically expands by the number of members in your small group. This could be one of the best professional lifehacks when it comes to networking.
Notice though, that I emphasize “small” groups. In order for any 2nd hand connection to be practical, you must have a trusted connection to your connector. Professionals are often guarded about their established connections and usually need to filter these connections before making introductions. When you’re sharing life with a trusted group of founders, these connections and introductions are painless.
It’s often said that entrepreneurship is a lonely journey. You may have an incredibly supportive family, dozens of close friends in your social life, and hundreds of employees…but life as a founder could be surprisingly isolating.
Often, the only other people who can understand and empathize with the journey you’re going through, are other entrepreneurs. Although this is the last item on the list, it’s certainly not the least. We often hear from founders that this is the most important reason they crave their founder group meetings. The therapy and catharsis these groups provide is often what gives founders the mental and emotional wellness to keep healthy on their entrepreneurial journey.