25 years ago, Polly Craik had a lightbulb moment that shifted the trajectory of her business – and her life. While attending EO’s Entrepreneurial Master’s Program at MIT, she realized she’d been thinking way too small. What she learned there opened her eyes to the fact that her local business didn’t actually have to be local. Her clients could be anywhere – and that changed everything.
When Polly sold that business 20 years later, it had evolved into something much bigger than anything she could have pictured in those early days, with 90% of clients based in the US. Today, Polly is the co-founder of an exciting new venture, and she says being an EO member has been an important part of that success.
EO is my go-to place for learning and discovering, for being able to authentically share experiences. It’s a place where I can trust everyone implicitly. My forum has been together for 30 years and there’s never been a breach of trust between us. Selling my first business was hard, but my fellow members helped me through it. They shared their experiences and helped me figure out everything from prepping for the sale to getting through the due diligence. The kind of trust we have in EO actually inspired the model for my new business, Vexxit.
Vexxit helps people find professionals like lawyers, accountants and financial advisors – and gives those busy professionals an authentic place to connect with new clients. I wanted to give other people the opportunity to experience what I have with EO – to give those who aren’t necessarily entrepreneurs a place to learn, discover, and build relationships. So when the time comes to make important life decisions, they’re prepared – and connected with people who can help.
Professionals are under so much pressure to find new business. But how can they do that when they’re filling out timesheets, collecting payments and ensuring they’re putting in enough billable hours? That’s how Vexxit helps: lawyers and accountants can focus on their core work, and we take care of marketing and awareness building.
People want to do business with people they like and trust. We help professionals build relationships by giving them a platform to share webinars and podcasts about everything from setting up a pre-nup to best practices for tax time. So when people need to hire somebody, they know who to turn to.
Nobody cares how much you know as a professional until they know how much you care: you have to invest in trust. If you participate, exchange, and give, give, give, what you get in return is just astonishing. That’s what both Vexxit and EO are about. All these people with incredible experience are willing to give of it to authentically help each other. It’s a magical formula.
Vexxit launched in early 2020, just a couple of months before the first lockdowns. Being able to talk to other business owners was incredibly helpful during the lockdowns – none of us had to feel like we were alone. And COVID forced a lot of EO groups online, which made them accessible to more members – and the more members that joined, the more value each group offered.
Make the effort and give where you can. Get on your local board, attend the university programs, show up at webinars, host a dine-around. Get involved, get outside your comfort zone, meet new people, get some diverse perspectives.
And offer up your own experience, too. One way I’ve done this is through my chapter’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards. It’s an amazing program that gives young entrepreneurs a place to be mentored, practice their skills, fall down and scrape their knees a bit. And you’ve got all these entrepreneurs who have been there, done that, and can offer so much to these kids just starting out.
I realize giving of yourself takes time, and we’re all busy. But that’s where growth comes from. Spending time with like-minded people who have experienced the same things and understand what you’re going through…there’s nothing quite like it. And another thing: be vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, to trust. That’s the whole ethos of EO – it’s very special and it works.
Polly Craik, Winnipeg Branch
Co-Founder Vexxit (Previously Owner & CEO of Fineline Solutions)
In business 2+ years
EO member for 30+ years
Posted on 2022-05-20