Rethink and Renew: The Power of EO

In 2020, Nick Kindler faced a very stressful situation: after navigating a challenging relationship with his business partner for several years, he suddenly faced being bought out of a business he loved. He had to start again, pretty much from scratch – and on top of that, he had to launch that new business right at the beginning of the pandemic.

It was tough, but he got through it: two  years later, Nick is a published author with a successful, fast-growing new venture. It’s something he says wouldn’t have been possible without EO.

What was it like having to sell your business?

It was difficult, to say the least. I loved that company. I loved the work, I loved my team, and loved what I had built and developed. However, my partner and I hadn’t been seeing eye-to-eye, and in early 2020 she surprised me by launching a buyout. After a lot of agonizing – and a lot of sharing with my EO forum – I decided to sell. This all happened just a few months after I joined EO, and being a member turned out to be a real lifeline.

How did EO help you get through it?

My forum had heard me talk about my challenges with my partner, and when things came to a head, they really stepped up. One of my forum mates had gone through the exact same thing – exiting his business due to a difficult partnership – so he shared his experience and encouraged me to reach out anytime.

As I was getting down to the wire on the deal, I was able to call him and get his take on things, which was extraordinarily helpful. When I got the offer from my lawyer, my forum mate responded to my text right away. This busy senior business leader I’d only known for a few months was dropping everything to talk to me. It helped me ask the right questions, speak intelligently to my lawyer, and ultimately, negotiate the best deal.

The general idea with EO is that you don’t give advice: you share experiences. Nobody ever said “this is what you should do.” My forum is basically my own personal advisor group, and I can’t tell you how valuable that has been for me.

What was it like to launch a business during COVID?

The timing of it couldn’t have been worse. I went from having a company, a partner, a team, an office and clients to it just being me and whatever I could dream up myself at a table in the basement. The world was closing, literally changing day by day. I felt alone. I had a couple of clients reach out to me to say they wanted to work with me, but really, nobody was doing anything.

It was a really tough time to just make a sale, much less launch a new business. But it gave me an opportunity to think and re-evaluate. I slowly redeveloped what I wanted to focus on and what I stand for. I wrote a book, did webinars, and organized digital programs. I took a page from EO and shared my time and my knowledge…and that came back to me in the form of some great clients. Now, two years later, Kindler and Company is going strong and I’m back to doing work I love.

I also spent time volunteering on the EO Toronto Board. Without my forum and the board experience, I don’t think I could have gotten through the transition. They pulled me out of the isolation and got me out, collaborating and learning in ways I didn’t think were possible outside a conference. We all worked and bobbed and weaved and pivoted to the pandemic together, supporting each other.

What would you say is the biggest benefit of EO?

Although I have been self-employed and have owned four companies, I used to think of myself as an artist. But when I started meeting all the business owners in EO, I realized “oh wait, I’m an entrepreneur. And all these people are just like me.” We’ve all experienced the same things – and that makes us so valuable to each other.

Entrepreneurs are very insular. We each live in our own little world of problems. But as soon as I talk to another entrepreneur, they get it right away. They get me. And that takes away that insularity. And the benefit works both ways: EO doesn’t just help me, it enables me to help others, which is incredibly satisfying.

That, for me, is the biggest benefit. Being part of a community where everyone supports one another. So as incoming president of the Toronto chapter, my theme from the year is “stronger together.” It’s amazing what we can do together – locally, regionally, and globally.

Nick Kindler, incoming President, Toronto Chapter

Owner, Kindler & Company

5 employees/contractors

In business 2 years (founded in 2003, but dormant until 2020)

EO member for 3 years

Posted on 2022-05-19