Follow the Leaders
It’s no secret that CEOs of small and mid-sized businesses get a lot out of their peer advisory roundtable group. Still, some say it’s not for them. Here’s why.
If you run a small or mid-sized business, time is precious and time is money. Committing to a regular meeting with your CEO peer roundtable group could mean 4 hours a month AWAY from other activities.
The truth is, the CEOs who participate in a roundtable group have no more time than those who aren’t in one. The difference is, they choose to focus on the return they get from the confidential experience. For example, an independent study by the Knowledge Advisory Group surveying VA Council of CEOs Members suggests that CEOs and business owners in peer roundtables make better decisions and grow faster.
Simply stated, these leaders have chosen to carve out time to work ON the business rather than in it.
Having a unique business is actually a nice benefit, and in fact, the best roundtables are carefully assembled to achieve the highest degree of diversity possible. And that’s great news for everyone as it can be easy to be siloed in your particular industry or niche, or be so close to your business that you fail to see potential solutions or opportunities. The peers sitting around the table will offer a variety of perspectives focused on similar issues or opportunities that creates those “blinding glimpses of the obvious”.
As the leader of your company, there are things that you can’t discuss within your organization. Most likely, there are things that you can’t even discuss with your banker, your attorney, your accountant, or other trusted advisors. It can be a lonely place, being a CEO.
A CEO roundtable is specifically designed to help remedy that “lonely” feeling. It is a highly confidential, “safe space” where the competition is not present. Nothing is shared beyond the group. This frees up everyone to be totally open and transparent with each other about business (and oftentimes personal) matters.
Not in a peer roundtable. The sole agenda item on the part of every member of a group is to help their fellow member through shared experiences and the lessons that they have learned from their journey. They know that in return their fellow members will have a similar focus.
The cost to be a member of a peer advisory organization like Vistage, EO, or VA Council of CEOs (VACEOs) varies greatly. An international organization like Vistage can cost more than $12,000* a year. Conversely, VACEOs membership dues are a quarter of that, largely because the organization is a nonprofit that keeps its overhead low to maximize the member experience per member and sponsor dollar invested.
The bottom line? Those who choose to join a peer advisory organization understand it’s an investment in their professional development that will generate a worthwhile return.
*Learn more at: “EO vs Vistage vs VA Council of CEOs: Which is Right for Me”
Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs) is a nonprofit organization connecting CEOs for learning and growth. Formed more than 20 years ago, Member benefits include placement in a peer roundtable group and access to a thought leader network, and a robust program of events for learning and growth. This is not a networking group, but rather a group of CEO peers who are invested in the success of each member.
Learn more at www.vaceos.org.
Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy. How will small business CEOs manage the pandemic crisis and beyond?
Some, like Kelley Powell, CEO, MacLaurin Group, Ron Carey of Tilt Creative + Production, Connie Hom, CEO of Buckingham Greenery, and JJ White, CEO of Dale Carnegie Southeast United States have found solace in their peer advisory group.
CEO peer groups (roundtables) typically meet regularly and follow a strict code of conduct and confidentiality. Many SMBs find it to be a worthwhile experience that makes a positive impact on their business.
“This has been a fast-paced, changing environment. I’ve had to make hard decisions in regard to labor, clients and revenue, and the shared experiences have been very helpful. The virtual roundtable has truly been a breath of fresh air, and the Council membership has proven to be, for me, a port in the storm,” says Hom.
Powell agrees. Of her virtual roundtable, “We learned so much collectively this year, sharing, listening, and growing as individuals and a community.”
Carey is grateful to have someone to lean on outside the regular meetings. “I feel like I can pick up the phone and call any of my group members and bounce an idea off of them, and also get their expertise back. And so for that, it’s just been invaluable.”
White reports, “Now, more than ever, is the most critical time in your business to find people who can help you get through this, but more than just get through it – actually create something in your business so that you’ll come out of this better than you’ve ever been before.”
Powell, Carey, Hom, and White are Members of Virginia Council of CEOs, a nonprofit organization that has been connecting CEOs for learning and growth for more than 20 years. Members join the Council to be placed in a peer roundtable group and to access a thought leader network and a robust program of events.
(Read Richmond Times-Dispatch coverage: “Virginia Council of CEOs opens up to membership to top executives across the state”)
Richmond, Virginia: The Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs), a nonprofit association serving more than 200 small and mid-sized business owners, announced today that is expanding its geography outside of Central Virginia and throughout the state, welcome news for many CEOs who run a small and mid-sized business in Virginia who seek the benefits of a CEO advisory group (peer roundtable).
VACEOs, a 20-year old nonprofit association, is driven by its mission is to “connect CEOs for learning and growth.” The most powerful way CEOs connect within the organization is through a confidential peer roundtable group, made up of CEOs of non-competing companies ($1 million or more in revenue/5 or more full-time employees).
Before COVID, VACEOs expansion was limited due to the perceived need to form roundtables based on geography. However, during COVID the roundtables were able to expand past geographic boundaries through the use of Zoom, WebEx, and other video platforms. Two new virtual roundtables were created during COVID and their success has now led to this aggressive expansion.
“Our existing Roundtables pivoted quickly to online meetings back in March and April,” says Scot McRoberts, Executive Director, Virginia Council of CEOs. “We think CEOs are open to this efficient, effective meeting method like never before. There is an opportunity here to serve hundreds of small business CEOs who we could not reach before. By offering roundtables to more CEOs, we are delivering on our mission.”
“I’m not sure that I could have navigated as well as I did, without my roundtable.” – Sam Stone, CEO, Stone’s Office Supply
Sam Stone, CEO of Stone’s Office Supply, is a long-time member of VA Council. Says, “We went from meeting in person, to immediately switching to Zoom meetings to cover some of the most difficult topics that I’ve had to cover in my time as a CEO. I’m not sure that I could have navigated as well as I did, without my roundtable.”
Connie Hom, CEO of Buckingham Greenery, says, “This has been a fast-paced, changing environment. There are decisions as a CEO in regard to labor, clients and revenue, and the shared experiences have been very helpful. The virtual roundtable has truly been a breath of fresh air, and the Council membership has proven to be, for me, a port in the storm.”
To fuel its growth and for a limited time only, VACEOs is offering a complimentary, two-hour confidential peer roundtable experience with a trained facilitator. After that one-time experience, CEOs can join the organization and be placed in a new roundtable while accessing other Member benefits, including online training and informational sessions, learning programs, social events, and the return to in-person meetings and retreats. Learn more: https://vaceos.org/ceo-roundtables
BREAKING NEWS: Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the Virginia Council of CEOs is expanding the geographic reach of its membership.
Writes Times reporter John Blackwell, “The rising use of virtual meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic is one factor in that decision. While the organization is best known for a quarterly economic outlook survey conducted among its members, one of its main membership benefits is its CEO ‘peer roundtable’ groups that meet regularly so that top executives can privately discuss business issues and share ideas.”
Read Richmond Times-Dispatch “Virginia Council of CEOs opens up to membership to top executives across the state.”
It’s no secret. If you run a small or mid-sized organization, you know that it can be really lonely at the top. Turning to family members or your internal team when you face certain challenges is not an option. That’s why so many successful business owners turn to peer advisory groups (peer roundtables).
Peer groups typically meet once a month and include CEOs from non-competing organizations. A strict protocol of communication and confidentiality is followed. This creates an environment of trust and confidentiality to share both professional and personal challenges. (Read Roundtable FAQs)
There are several organizations that offer a roundtable experience for CEOs. Some are international organizations with thousands of members, others are smaller in scale. Some feel more like a networking group, while others encourage a “no-selling” environment. The cost for membership can also vary. Lastly, most of these organizations have minimum membership requirement for annual revenue and/or number of employees.
How do you choose which option is best for you? Here’s a brief comparison of three well-known organizations that serve CEOs in Virginia. Take a look, and then ask a local business owner to share the experience they’ve had within their peer advisory group.
About (From their website)
“Entrepreneurs’ Organization is a high-quality support network of 14,000+ like-minded leaders across 61 countries. We help entrepreneurs achieve their full potential through the power of life-enhancing connections, shared experiences and collaborative learning.”
Business earning a minimum of $1 million in revenue during the most recent fiscal year. Venture-backed companies must have either privately-raised funds of at least $2 million or publicly-raised funds of $5 million, and a minimum of 10 employees.
Global dues are currently $2,470 (plus a one-time $2,500 initiation fee). Chapter dues and event registration fees can add several thousand to this amount. Source: https://www.eonetwork.org/why-join/apply-for-membership
Pros and Cons: Entrepreneurs join a local EO Chapter, which supports their forum and provides education and social programming in their local area. Members have access to a global member network and events on a regional and national level. EO Chapters are volunteer-led, with professional support from the national organization. For small and mid-sized business CEOs who crave a national or international network, EO is a good choice.
About (From their website)
“Vistage is the world’s largest CEO coaching and peer advisory organization for small and midsize business leaders. We offer the most effective approach to achieve better results, grow your company faster and maximize your impact as a leader.“
For CEOs of businesses with $5+ million annual sales revenue. In some areas, Vistage offers groups for other executives.
Cost (2020) (US$)
$12,000 or more annually
Pros and Cons
Vistage groups are facilitated by an accomplished business leader (chair). The chair also meets with members between meetings to help the CEO move forward on their goals. Vistage offers access to subject matter experts and networking with members both locally and globally. For CEOs seeking a facilitated experience with coaching, Vistage is a good choice.
About (From their website)
“The Council was founded in 2000 by a small group of CEOs seeking to connect and learn from their peers in the area. The goal was to find a forum to comfortably test new ideas, learn from other CEOs, and think differently about their businesses. The Council has more than 200 members who participate in monthly roundtable discussions, learning and social events, and an annual retreat.”
Membership Criteria (US$)
The Council is for CEOs of organizations with at least $1 million in annual revenue and 5 or more employees (FTE). The average member leads a company with $7 million revenue and 35 employees.
Cost (2020) (US$)
There is a $900 Joining Fee once acceptance is approved. Prorated dues are then invoiced once the new Member is seated in a Roundtable or Forum. Annual Dues: Roundtable-$3,060; Forum-$5,460. There are no additional registration fee for any of the dozens of learning or social events.
Pros and Cons
This organization is great for Virginia CEOs, providing the largest CEO network in the Commonwealth. The Council provides both member-led peer roundtables and professionally-facilitated forums as the main benefit of membership. Additionally, VACEOs brings its community together for learning and social events, including a three-day annual CEO Retreat. For small and mid-sized business CEOs who seek to learn and grow with others like them in a “no-sell” or “safe” environment, VACEOs is a good and affordable choice.