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Accountability Groups for Boostrappers?

I've been lurking here for months and am thoroughly impressed with the
quality of work and insight coming from this group. I run
TheAbundantArtist.com, which is doing rather well for a bootstrapped
company, and I've reached the point where I realize that I need to find
different business peers to spend some time with if I'm going to raise my
game. I have some pretty exciting new products coming down the line, and I
want to make sure I deliver them well.

Do any of you have a similar problem? Have you founded mastermind groups or
accountability groups? How did you go about it?

12 Replies

Vijay Goel, MD
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Vijay Goel, MD Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder Chefalytics, Co-owner Bite Catering Couture, Independent consultant (ex-McKinsey)

I've done something similar for short stints (Founders Institute, meetup
group, small biz CEO forum) and the biggest takeaways for me were:

   - Conversation had to be completely transparent.  Written better than
   oral (I really liked PBWorks/ wiki in making this transparent and linkable)
   - Requirements around assignments (not necessarily achieving
   deliverables, but at least doing the homework/ creating plan) needed to be
   enforced otherwise group performs to LCD (lowest common denominator).
    Seeing others deliver work quickly was a good spur to get it done yourself
   -- pbworks was great for this as you could see who was updating and how
   often
   - Helpful if group has people from different functional background
   (e.g., strategy, technology, marketing, operations, etc) with a mix of
   quants and bigger picture people (but NOT BS quals -- those people just
   waste air space with generic/ vague statements not rooted in any insight)
   - Group members need to move at similar speeds -- very frustrating to
   tie aggressive people with lifestyle people

Mismatch of group members caused most of the groups to fail -- my
recommendation would be to spend more time/ effort on putting together a
sustainable group with a nice mix of members and clear ground
rules...rushing through this part is often what makes these groups fail.

Cynthia Schames
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Cynthia Schames Entrepreneur
Founder & CEO, AbbeyPost

Those are fantastic points, Vijay.

Cory Huff
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Cory Huff Entrepreneur
Digital Strategist for Creative Beings and Businesses

Thanks Vijay.

I've had one successful group in the past that disbanded after 9 months. In
the two years since, it's been a slog to put one together.

I've considered that perhaps being in a small city like Portland may put me
at a disadvantage for finding like minded people, so I've considered
assembling an online only version, using Google Hangouts or something like
that.

Anyone have experience with this? Anyone interested in exploring something
like this?

On Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 10:12 AM, Cynthia Schames
<cynthiascha...@gmail.com>wrote:

Chris Raniere
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Chris Raniere Entrepreneur
President, 46Mile | VP, Hearst Corp

Hi Cory,

I  have tried a few different CEO groups and the very best was/is Vistage.
 They typically require a pretty sizable revenue run rate but if you find
the right group and group leader you can get in.

The group I was part of hit all the great points Vijay mentioned and it's
already organized.  That said interview with the groups first.  I was part
of an amazing group but they are not all perfect.  In fact we had a few of
our group members that quit their group to join ours.... It's just like
anything else.

They are a pretty big organization so just go the website and give them a
shout to find a group leader in your area.

Chris

Alexander Laszlo Ross
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Alexander Laszlo Ross Entrepreneur • Advisor
Head of Business Development at Verifide

I have a similar issue that I've been currently sitting on. If you (or others) were thinking of putting a group together I'd be interested. Feel free to contact me off list.

Cheers,
Alex

Alexander Laszlo Ross
Founder, Presentista
Presentations completely reimagined.

e:      a...@presentista.com
t:      @presentista
m:      +[removed to protect privacy]

On Dec 21, 2012, at 7:15 AM, coryhuff <coryh...@gmail.com> wrote:

Michael Brill
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Michael Brill Entrepreneur
Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products

+1 on Vistage... my last group ranged from $2m to > $500m companies.  As Chris said, it is a function of the group/leader and the nice thing is you have a broad range of industries, not just 15 people building software.  A lot of help with organizational issues associated with growing a company... less so with pre-funded tech company.  The biggest downside is $1500/month.  

On Dec 21, 2012, at 2:06 PM, Chris Raniere <ch...@raniere.com> wrote:

David Hauser
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David Hauser Entrepreneur
Young Entrepreneur, Speaker, Founder of Grasshopper and Angel Investor.

EO (Entreprenuers Organization) is 100% founders with a min of $1M
business.

Nick Fassler
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0
Nick Fassler Entrepreneur
Product Manager at Yammer

A quick plug for FoundersNetwork -- about 250 founders from early stage
(angel to series A) tech companies. I think it skews towards the Bay Area,
but there is definitely some geographic diversity. I just joined last
month, and have gotten a lot of leverage from connecting with other
founders online and at gatherings. Cost starts at $250/year depending on
your fundraising stage. Might be a good choice for earlier stage folks
before looking at Vistage, EO, or YPO.

http://www.foundersnetwork.com/

Eric Rogness
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0
Eric Rogness Entrepreneur
Technical Product Manager

Hey Cory,
For accountability check out nReduce. It's a virtual accelerator -- takes no equity -- that provides advisory and mentorship based on your record to follow through on commitments to grow your business. I cannot personally vouch for them, but I have read many good things.
For support and energy, check out a local Lean Coffee group -- there's probably one in your area. It's sort of like AA for entrepreneurs -- everyone's helping each other grow their businesses.

Best,
Eric
EricRogness.com(647) 297-7126

Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2012 07:15:30 -0800
From: coryhhttp://groups.google.com/group/founderdating?hl=en.

Cory Huff
0
0
Cory Huff Entrepreneur
Digital Strategist for Creative Beings and Businesses

You guys are awesome. Thanks for all of the resources. I'm definitely not
going in the get big funding route, but some of these look promising.
Thanks!

On Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 11:44 AM, Eric Rogness <ericrogn...@hotmail.com>wrote:

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