Entrepreneur magazine, October 1999
Making all your business decisions alone? Wish you had someone you could bounce ideas off of? What you may need is a board of directors. TEC Worldwide (http://www.teconline.comor 800-274-2367) is an inter-national organization of CEOs that offers company presidents and business owners just that.
"TEC forms think tanks with CEOs and presidents, and these think tanks become advisory boards for one another," explains Faith Maybury, vice president of entrepreneurial programs for the San Diego-based organization.
TEC's two CEO programs have more than 6,000 members in eight countries. The traditional program is for companies with revenues of $3 million to $5 million. The Emerging Entrepreneur program is for business owners with $1 mil-lion to $5 million in sales. Members meet monthly in closed-door confidential executive sessions to help CEOs and entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
Make no mistake: TEC is not a networking group. Every month, members bring their companies' problems, challenges and opportunities to the "brain trust" for feedback and brainstorming.
TEC's encounter sessions worked for Dave Cone, 49, founder of Camstar Systems Inc., a software developer based in Campbell, California. Cone joined TEC five years ago when Camstar had $4 mil-lion in revenues. Today, the company has $17 million in sales. "TEC provides a substitute board you can review major decisions with before you launch into them," says Cone.
Such talk is not cheap. Annual membership fees run from $7,800 to $9,900. Sounds pricey--but it's not bad compared to what some consultants charge.
Camstar Systems Inc., (408) 559-5700, http://www.camstar.com
TEC Worldwide, (800) 274-2367, http://www.teconline.com
Ellen Paris is a Washington, DC, writer and former Forbes magazine staff writer.