I started this company as a solo endeavor back in 2013. At the time, I was building on my volunteer work as a mentor to other business owners through EO Boston. Getting hired to facilitate strategic planning for companies was a natural next step.
It was actually a client who introduced me to the Entrepreneurial Operating System and its methodology. He basically handed me the book Traction and said “Here. Use this to run our quarterly meetings.”
I read the book and fully bought into the EOS approach. It was simple. It was streamlined. It was a smart way to get companies up to speed on the operational basics—which many small businesses need desperately.
Once I decided to use the EOS methodology in my coaching, I wanted to excel at it. So I signed up for their boot camp and became a Certified EOS Implementer, the highest distinction possible at the time.
I loved how the system gave me a clear, simple language to use with my clients. I loved the basic business principles it drew upon to help companies achieve operational success.
EOS helped my clients get operationally strong—which is exactly what the system promised to deliver.
When I found gaps in the system, I relied on my own experience as an entrepreneur to fill them in. I found myself giving clients a lot of advice around lead generation and sales. I started referring out the controller for my painting companies to help clients with their finances.
I built a network of partners for recruiting, wealth management, M&A and other services. When EOS helped a company identify a problem, I had a solution or a resource ready to fix it.
That evolution led me to rebrand as a consulting company in 2019.
The big difference between coaching and consulting is that pure coaching, and especially strict system facilitation, focuses on companies making their own decisions. I identified more as a consultant because if I had experience to share, I was going to share it.
I believe that in some cases, you can learn from other people’s mistakes rather than having to make your own. And I have plenty of mistakes for my clients to learn from. Sparing other business owners some of the pain I’ve gone through as an entrepreneur is really what drives me to do this work.
So, fast-forward to January of this year.
We unexpectedly received word that EOS was going to switch their business to a franchise model. That switch was likely going to put significant limitations on our plans for Crews Consulting Group, including the ways in which we would be able to effectively help our clients.
We had a decision to make.
Stay with EOS and become franchisees, or forge our own path forward without the system we had come to rely on?
After a significant amount of thought, reflection, and discussion with my senior team (shoutout to Kristen Sweeney and Jay Bacrania for their feedback during this period), we came to a decision.
We would part from EOS and go our own way.
And we would build a brand new business operating system. That system would include best business practices that have been around for decades.
It would be as simple as it could be but not simpler than it needed to be.
And it would be focused on increasing revenue, profit, and the salable value of the companies we worked with.
That decision created a monumental shift inside our organization. And it set off months of hard work, long hours of discussion, and round after round of feedback, revision, and tweaking. This system is our new foundation for how we do business. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it’s got to be close.
Why am I sharing this story?
First, because I know there will be questions in our community about why we decided to leave EOS, and I wanted to make sure you heard all of this directly from me.
Second, because it’s tempting to put a coach up on a pedestal, and I think we should knock those pedestals down. Any success we’ve had as a company doesn’t come from knowing better than our clients. It comes from being in the trenches with them, from being small business owners ourselves and sharing the experiences we have in common.
Third, because although Growth was born out of a situation we didn’t choose, I view this opportunity as an incredible gift.
By being forced to take action, we were pushed to build what I consider to be a complete system that allows companies to first get organized but then help them to actually grow—without destroying themselves financially along the way.
If I had a system like Growth when I was a younger entrepreneur, it would have prevented me from losing millions of dollars.
That’s true for other business owners I’ve worked with as well. And being able to spare other entrepreneurs some of the pain that comes from making big mistakes is really my purpose for doing what I do.
The decision to leave EOS wasn’t an easy one. For me, it meant leaving a personal community as well as a professional network. But the opportunity it has created will allow us to help more entrepreneurs in a more complete way. And for that, I’m incredibly grateful.