March 14


How Entrepreneur Support Organizations Can Accelerate Your Business Growth

By Andrew Martin

March 14, 2024

entrepreneur support organizations

In today’s social media, influencer-driven landscape, conversations about entrepreneurship are often focused on just the highlights. Based on the feeds of some of the most popular entrepreneurs, you’d think running a business is all sunshine and rainbows. But for those of us in the real world, we know that while entrepreneurship can be very rewarding it’s also incredibly challenging. It’s completely normal to feel isolated and overwhelmed when running a business, especially when you’re faced with making critical decisions that could shape your company’s future.

This is where Entrepreneur Support Organizations (ESOs) come into play, offering guidance and encouragement for business owners deep in the trenches of entrepreneurship.

The best ESOs provide a structured framework for support, advice, and networking that can help you go from floundering in uncertainty to leading your business with confidence toward smart, sustainable growth. Whether it’s through mentorship, resources, or peer advisory groups, these organizations are designed help entrepreneurs not just survive but thrive.

In this article, I’m going to talk about why Entrepreneur Support Organizations are such a valuable asset, exploring how they can accelerate your business growth and why they might just be the missing piece in your entrepreneurial journey.

What are Entrepreneur Support Organizations?

An Entrepreneur Support Organization is a group or organization that provides business owners with resources, guidance, mentorship, and other services to start, grow, or scale their company.

There’s no single type of ESO. Entrepreneur Support Organizations come in different forms, each designed to meet unique needs of business owners at various stages of their journey.

Here’s a closer look at some of the most common types:

  • Business Incubators: These organizations are focused on early-stage companies, offering a range of support services for startups looking to launch with a solid foundation.
  • Business Accelerators: Accelerators also support early-stage businesses but tend to have a more intensive program/curriculum that runs for a set period, usually a few months. They often culminate in a pitch event or demo day for potential investors.
  • Professional Associations: Industry-specific associations can offer valuable resources, including industry research, networking events, and professional development opportunities tailored to specific sectors.
  • Mentorship Programs: These programs connect less experienced entrepreneurs with seasoned business veterans who can provide guidance, advice, and support based on their own experiences.
  • Online Communities and Forums: You can easily connect with other business owners online and access a wealth of information and insights for solving specific problems, finding collaborators, or simply gaining inspiration.
  • Peer Advisory Board: A peer advisory board is a small collection of entrepreneurs who meet regularly to offer advice, share insights, and provide mutual support to solve business challenges and capitalize on opportunities. I’ve written in depth about the numerous benefits of joining a peer advisory board, but the basic goal is to develop strategies for achieving sustainable growth and success for each member’s business.

The Benefits of Entrepreneur Support Organizations

Joining an Entrepreneur Support Organization (ESO) offers a ton of potential benefits for business owners, including:

  • Access to Expertise and Knowledge: If there’s one thing I’ve learned over my years of running businesses, it’s that you’re often going to deal with problems you can’t just Google to find an answer. The great thing about ESOs is they give you direct access to a wide range of expertise and knowledge to help you solve these tricky problems and fill gaps in your skill set. Whether it’s marketing, finance, operations, or strategy, you can learn from a diverse group of seasoned professionals who have been there and done that.
  • Mentorship and Guidance: Many ESOs offer mentorship opportunities by pairing you with experienced business leaders. For instance, at Six Figure Dinners, our peer advisory board members have access to a Board Chair who acts as a mentor, providing personalized advice, guidance, and support. These Board Chairs are seasoned entrepreneurs themselves, who have been through the ups and downs of business and are now dedicated to helping others succeed. They can offer insights into strategic decision-making, help you refine your business model, and guide you through challenges with practical, experienced-based advice. This one-on-one guidance can be invaluable in navigating challenges and making strategic decisions.
  • Accountability and Support: Did you know that having accountability partners can increase your chances of reaching your goal to 85%? Being part of an ESO can provide the accountability you need to stay focused on your goals. Regular meetings and check-ins with peers or mentors ensure you’re making progress and staying committed to your business objectives.
  • Emotional Support: Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey. In fact, 73% of business owners say they’ve felt alone in running their company. ESOs offer a community of like-minded individuals who can provide emotional support, encouragement, and understanding during both the highs and lows of running a business.
  • Networking Opportunities: Networking within an ESO can lead to meaningful connections with fellow entrepreneurs, potential mentors, and even future business partners. These relationships can provide support, open up new opportunities, and offer valuable insights from those who understand the entrepreneurial journey.

How ESOs Accelerate Business Growth

The best Entrepreneur Support Organizations can play a central role in growing your business by providing a structured environment for learning and accessing resources that can significantly accelerate your company’s development.

Let me give you example from one of our members at Six Figure Dinners, Beata Lerman.

Beata started her company Sinless Treats to offer sugar-free chocolates that don’t compromise on taste. While her company was seeing success, she faced some key challenges as she progressed, from brand positioning to team management.

Joining a peer advisory board at Six Figure Dinners has been a transformative experience for her. Through in-depth discussions and strategic planning at monthly board meetings, she decided to position Sinless Treats as a luxury brand, focusing on honing business systems and sustainability practices. The peer advisory board provided a platform for Dr. Lerman to explore various aspects of her business, offering insights and strategies that were instrumental in her growth.

The results speak for themselves. Within a year of joining Six Figure Dinners, Sinless Treats saw its sales triple organically, without the need for loans. More than the financial success, Dr. Lerman found peace of mind and a robust support system in her peer advisory board, something she hadn’t experienced with other advisory groups. The trust and extended interactions beyond the board meetings were pivotal, offering her invaluable support and a sense of security.

As she told us, “When I was getting closer to the Six Figure Dinners advisory board meeting, I felt better and better. Whatever was troubling me at the time will be resolved. It is invaluable support and you cannot put a price on that. Those interactions make a huge difference.”

Beata’s experience highlights how ESOs, particularly peer advisory boards like Six Figure Dinners, can help entrepreneurs achieve smart, sustainable growth through strategic guidance, peer accountability, and actionable insights.

How to Choose the Right ESO

As I explained earlier, many kinds of Entrepreneur Support Organizations are designed for business owners with various needs and at different stages of their journeys. That’s why it’s important to find an ESO that comfortably fits your business’s specific needs, goals, and challenges.

Here are some things you can do to make sure you choose the right ESO for your situation:

  • Assess Your Business Needs: Think about what it is that you need most from an ESO. Are you looking for mentorship? Industry-specific insights? Accountability? Strategies for scaling your business? Networking opportunities? Understanding your needs will help you narrow down the type of ESO you’ll benefit most from.
  • Research Different Types of ESOs: Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the different types of ESOs that are out there, such as incubators, accelerators, peer advisory boards, and professional associations. Each type offers unique benefits and is designed to support businesses at different stages of growth.
  • Consider the Group’s Track Record: Not all ESOs are created equal. They all make lofty promises, but not all of them can deliver. Look into the success stories and testimonials from current and past members of the ESO. A reputable organization should have a proven track record of helping businesses grow and overcome challenges. Case studies, like Beata Lerman’s experience with Six Figure Dinners that I talked about earlier, can provide insights into the tangible benefits of joining a particular ESO.
  • Evaluate the Community and Network: The value of an ESO often lies in the strength of its community and the quality of networking opportunities it provides. Consider whether the organization fosters a supportive environment and whether its members are people you can learn from and collaborate with. A diverse and active community can offer broader perspectives and more significant opportunities for growth.
  • Understand the Commitment and Costs: Joining an ESO usually requires a commitment of time, and sometimes, financial resources. Make sure you really understand the level of commitment required and that it matches your current capacity to engage.

Get the Support You Need to Succeed

Running a business doesn’t have to be an isolating experience.

With the right Entrepreneur Support Organization, you can access a wealth of resources, guidance, and community support that can significantly accelerate your business growth. Whether it’s through mentorship, networking, or peer advisory, the right ESO can provide you with the tools and insights needed to overcome challenges and seize opportunities.

At Six Figure Dinners, we unite entrepreneurs and founders to tackle essential business challenges, share wisdom, and draw insights from our shared journeys. Our gatherings, both virtual and face-to-face, spark innovation, encourage collaboration, and drive strategic growth, providing our members with transformative insights to expedite their business development.

Click here to learn more and join us as a guest at an upcoming event.

Andrew Martin

Andrew is Founder and CEO of Six Figure Dinners. He's also a co-owner of JARA Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in and operates businesses across various industries, including financial services, recruiting, digital media, and real estate. Prior to this, he owned and managed 11 Menchie's Frozen Yogurt locations and a Menchie's Food Truck, which he sold in 2014. Andrew's other investments mainly target small to mid-sized consumer industries.

He earned his MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management, specializing in Brand Management. Before pursuing his MBA, Andrew led a sales territory at The TREX Company in Boise, ID. Throughout his career, he has volunteered in various capacities, such as offering pro bono mediation services and assisting underprivileged families in improving their living situations.

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