All posts by Catherine Juon

An educator at heart, Catherine enjoys applying her expertise as an executive and long-time online marketer to help fellow entrepreneurs. To that end, she wrote the book on how to put all the pieces of online marketing together called "Internet Marketing Start-to-Finish", and speaks at both advertising industry and entrepreneurial events. Outside of the world of SEO and executive coaching, you'll find Catherine hanging out with her husband and two teenage boys, and triathlon training.

Looking for a Second Stage Roadmap? Look to EOS.

Traction-bookOne of the early systems we implemented at Pure Visibility was Rockefeller Habits, which taught us about the importance of building meeting rhythms, and dedicating time each quarter to setting goals. We implemented the Rockefeller Habits one page plan successfully on our own, using the book. However, we eventually hit a wall where we could see what Vern Harnish (the author) wanted as an end-product, but the process of getting there was not nearly as clear. We wanted more specifics – or what you might call a “second stage roadmap”.

About this same time we ran across the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) – a perfect next step in our case. They are very similar systems; EOS simply resonated with us and answered the “how to” questions which had previously tripped us up. (As an added bonus the author, Gino Wickman is from Michigan, and many of the case studies in the book were already familiar to us. This made it easy for us to check in with others using the system, and trust that it was working well enough for them to be worth the switching cost of changing systems ourselves.)

We worked with Duane Marshall, an implementor of the EOS system, and the experience positively rocked our world. We clarified roles, where we were going, what it would look like… the list goes on and on. It’s no coincidence that the EOS book is called “Traction”, as that is exactly what the system delivers.

Curious to learn more about this system? Check out the EOS blogthe book Traction (download the first chapter free), and Gino’s free ebook “Decide!” If you’ve only got time for one, start with the book Traction, as it’s the foundation of the system and an easy read. After reading it, you’ll know right away if the Entrepreneurial Operating System feels like a fit for your company.

For more articles on this topic see: “Entrepreneurial Operating System.”

What is Second Stage? And How is it Related to Beyond Startup?

When you’re running a successful startup, chances are you’ll wake up one day and realize you’re in second stage.

In our case at Pure Visibility, we reached a point where we seemed to be “too old” or “too big” to qualify for assistance from most of the entrepreneurial organizations we knew. Apparently we weren’t a sexy startup anymore, but it sure didn’t seem like we were a “grown up” company either! That might have been a clue that we were entering second stage except we didn’t yet know it existed!

Along the way our friendly SBTDC advisor, Charlie Penner, advised we enter the Companies to Watch business competition sponsored by the Edward Lowe Foundation for second stage companies. Though we still didn’t know what a second stage company was, we met the competition criteria and gave it a shot. We applied and eventually earned a spot in the Michigan 50 to Watch.

At that point, the second stage moniker didn’t seem to mean much, but we played along and attended the free Foundation training offered to Companies to Watch from around the country. I’m glad I went – it was an amazing experience.

Some time later the term second stage began to mean something.

Systems that used to work were getting in the way. There seemed a sudden need for “policies”. Delivering the same level of customer service was getting harder instead of easier.

Suddenly the whole second stage thing didn’t seem so academic. We were in it!

As it turns out, the process of discovering resources for second stage companies was, and continues to be utterly fascinating to me. Fascinating, and frustrating. Frustrating that there doesn’t seem to be a more coherent network of support for businesses in this same stage. It shouldn’t need to be such a process of discovery!

I’m on a mission to change that. I believe that helping companies successfully move Beyond Startup is critical to economic growth in our state and throughout our country. On this process of discovery, I’m meeting amazing people along the way. Here I’ll share those stories, and do my part to make resources more readily available to second stage entrepreneurs and companies beyond the startup stage.

To startup and Beyond! ;-)

Catherine Juon