There are many organizations that support the ongoing growth of entrepreneurs and businesses. Some are good, while others provide little to no value. Looking into each one to discern their potential value could prove time-consuming and tedious.
But there is definitely value to be gained from being a part of the right organizations, and it's something every entrepreneur should be considering. It can lead to new relationships and connections, partnerships, business ideas and even new clients and customers.
Also, if you've ever thought about teaching others, giving back and being a part of the development of future entrepreneurs and businesses, then it's time for you to get involved in a high-caliber organization. Here are 10 organizations every entrepreneur ought to be a part of.
1. Entrepreneurs' Organization
Entrepreneurs' Organization, or EO, was established in 1987. Benefits of membership include a forum for sharing and discussing your challenges, help from a personal mentor, access to large-scale networking events, healthcare options, resources to help you build your leadership and more. It also has published the award-winning Octane magazine since 2006.
More than 20,000 entrepreneurs, innovators and business professionals are part of FoundersCard, an organization that offers exclusive discounts on hotel, travel, business and lifestyle products and services, as well as access to invitation-only networking events. It's perfect for getting that new office coffee machine or extra frequent flyer miles!
These invaluable benefits are typically shared on a referral basis, but can sometimes be obtained by being a part of other organizations, such as the Young Entrepreneur Council.
3. Young Entrepreneur Council
Young Entrepreneur Council, or YEC, is an invitation-only organization for entrepreneurs 40 and under. It offers 24/7 support through forums, discounts on products and services, offline events, an editorial team that can help with content development and distribution to create brand-building and media opportunities, and a complimentary FoundersCard membership.
Members are also given the opportunity to give back through organizations that help young entrepreneurs, including Junior Achievement, and many others. I am a part of the YEC, and it has proven to be an invaluable resource for me.
4. Young President's Organization
Young President's Organization, also known as YPO, was founded in 1950. It offers global educational and networking opportunities for those 45 and under that are designed to help owners build their businesses. Members also have access to a variety of events, and the opportunity to seek advice from its large network. The organization also offers guidance for family members and couples.
Vistage is committed to CEO and executive coaching, leadership development and business mentoring. Those who are interested in giving back can also become a CEO coach with Vistage. The organization is made up of more than 20,000 business leaders worldwide with a members-only online network.
If you join, you can expect to participate in one-on-one mentoring sessions, expert speaker workshops and advisory-board peer-group meetings.
6. Dynamite Circle
The Dynamite Circle, or the DC, is a private community for entrepreneurs with established, successful and legitimate businesses that are not location dependent. It was founded by Dan Andrews and Ian Schoen of Tropical MBA. The DC began as a small mastermind in 2011, and still holds this as one of its primary tenants and value propositions.
In addition to masterminds, members can also benefit from juntos -- local community networking events -- yearly DCBKK events and more. I am a part of the DC, and have found that it provides immense value to entrepreneurs.
7. The Entrepreneur's Club
The Entrepreneur's Club, or TEC, is an international network of thousands of high-tech entrepreneurs, executives and business professionals. It was established in 2003, and hosts 10 yearly events in Silicon Valley, as well as seminars that are centered around case studies.
Some of its noteworthy speakers include Steve Blank and Guy Kawasaki. If you're in the tech industry looking for insights from entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists and other technology experts, TEC is worth looking into.
Founded in 1980, Ashoka is home to the largest network of social entrepreneurs on a global scale. Billy Drayton is the CEO and founder, and has been a social entrepreneur since he was an elementary-school student. Ashoka has nearly 3,000 members in 70 countries.
If changing the world is part of your mission, then you should consider joining Ashoka. It offers startup financing, networking opportunities and a support network for social entrepreneurs.
9. The Association of Private Enterprise Education
The Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE) provides information, interaction and support to entrepreneurs. It also publishes the Journal of Private Enterprise and sponsors a variety of programs and publications. The group hosts an annual conference for its membership, and also offers several awards to recognize notable achievements.
APEE was founded at Georgia State University in 1963. It started thanks to a philanthropic donation on the part of Herman Lay, co-founder of Frito-Lay.
10. Startup Grind
Startup Grind may have been founded in 2010, but it has one of the largest networks of independent startups, with more than 215,000 founders across 185 cities and 80 countries. It offers more than 100 events every month, and also hosts the yearly Startup Global Event. Startup Grind was founded by Derek Andersen and Spencer Nielsen.
The reality of entrepreneurship is that you can't do it all on your own. You need the support of talented and experienced people. This support may come in the form of interns, contractors, strategic partners and even employees. You also need the support of family members, who often need to be educated on the realities of enterprise.
But you also need people to challenge you and help you grow. The advice and council of serial entrepreneurs and investors is invaluable in helping you achieve your objectives.
There are many benefits to being a part of organizations, but the most important is, and will always be, the opportunity to connect with like-minded people. This will ensure your longevity, which is a necessary ingredient to your success.