How to Customize EOS for Professional Services Firms
Macaroni and cheese. Spaghetti and meatballs. Those pairings exemplify the dynamic relationship between EOS (“Entrepreneurial Operating System”) and Collective 54. Yet some founders of boutique professional services firms remain unsure about how to use these complementary tools to grow, scale, and exit their firms one day.
This confusion tends to stem from a common misconception that Entrepreneurial Operating System and Collective 54 are two similar systems, therefore necessitating that leaders must choose one or the other. On the contrary, EOS operates as a management system, and Collective 54 drives the content that goes into that system. Both can operate separately, but together, they produce more powerful results — EOS plus Collective 54 is 1 + 1 = 3.
A prime example of how these tools work in tandem is the scorecard of measurable KPIs advocated by EOS. Many founders aren’t sure which metrics to choose when running a professional services firm, and once they do choose the right metrics, they are not sure what the goals should be. This makes populating the EOS scorecard difficult.
Collective 54 is designed to help founders build the right industry-specific scorecards for their needs. For instance, most professional services firms need to monitor utilization rates, bill rates, and project profitability. Collective 54 works with members to identify the valuable data variables that matter most to them. That way, they can customize their scorecard data in EOS — making their EOS implementation more relevant to them.
Want another example? Take the Entrepreneurial Operating System Meeting Pulse recommendation. EOS suggests all firms set up weekly Level 10 meetings, a monthly Same Page meeting, a quarterly meeting, and an annual meeting. However, meetings in professional services are expensive and non-billable time. A one-day quarterly meeting with five high performers can cost upwards of $12,000. That’s too much for a boutique professional services firm.
Consequently, what happens during those meetings must be valuable. Collective 54 ensures that founders design their meetings to be robust and productive. EOS’s Meeting Pulse becomes much more effective when customized by Collective 54.
With Collective 54’s guidance, leaders can structure their meetings with discipline and confidence. This enables them to ensure that every meeting is fruitful. No team should ever leave their EOS quarterly meetings only to realize they didn’t choose the right Rocks.
Advice for Making the Most of EOS and Collective 54
If your firm has been working independently with the EOS framework, you can get so much more out of your experiences by augmenting Entrepreneurial Operating System with Collective 54. Here are some tips for maximizing the potential of each program.
1. Lean on Collective 54’s insights to make EOS content more powerful for professional services firms.
EOS isn’t specific to a certain industry. Collective 54 is focused on a single industry (professional services) and a single segment within that industry (boutique firms between 10 and 250 employees).
For example, a common Rock for EOS’ers in professional services firms is to raise prices. Yet, EOS does not tell a firm how to do this. They simply prioritize it. Collective 54 shows a firm how to raise prices and successfully execute the Rock.
2. Enhance EOS through Collective 54 peer groups.
The experiences founders get from Collective 54 include peer group arrangements. Collective 54’s peer groups are true peer groups. Collective 54 is composed exclusively of professional services firms, operating in industry code “54” and comprised of founders trying to scale. They’re dealing with the same problems and being presented with the same opportunities.
As Collective 54 peer groups mature and the conversation develops, members help each other become more effective and structured. Often, topics relevant to EOS come up. This kind of crowdsourced brainpower ultimately leads to the heightened use of EOS across the peer group membership.
3. Leverage Collective 54’s unique tools to rev up EOS’s capabilities.
Collective 54 brings many unique tools to the table that can be highly pertinent to a firm’s Entrepreneurial Operating System implementation. For example, Collective 54 offers the “Firm Estimator,” which tells you how much your firm is worth.
A founder is much better equipped to select Rocks with this information. For example, Rocks should be chosen that clearly drive an increase in a firm’s worth. Rocks that do not increase the worth of a firm are not Rocks at all; they are time-wasting, misguided strategic initiatives.
EOS and Collective 54: A Member Perspective
Jing Johnson, a member of Collective 54, summarized her experience utilizing both the EOS framework and the Collective 54 community. “EOS and Collective 54 have advanced my business in entirely different ways, but they complement each other. EOS is a practical framework to prioritize our goals and key objectives. Before implementing the EOS system, we found tracking and implementing all our plans challenging due to the need for more ownership and accountability. EOS helps us to be more focused on both short-term and long-term goals.
“One recent example is our new website; our VP of Operations was assigned to this goal during our first quarterly EOS leadership meeting. She is responsible for setting the objectives and timelines and breaking those down into individual tasks. In addition, she manages the process and coordinates among all stakeholders, such as the marketing agency, the copywriter, and our team members. She also reports to our team weekly to keep everyone on track and informed. As a result, this process runs much more efficiently and smoothly than our previous website design efforts before implementing EOS.
“Being part of the Collective 54 community has significantly expanded my entrepreneurial vision and business acumen. Greg and many Collective 54 members have higher expertise and insights than most of my business network. I’m constantly inspired and challenged by what I learn through the weekly sessions and discussions. In the Collective 54 community, I’ve surrounded myself with people who are more intelligent, more insightful, and have achieved a higher level of success than me. As a result, I’m more confident and strategic in growing and scaling my business.
“One of many things I learned from Collective 54 is to tie my company’s growth strategy with investment in our sales force. I discussed this opportunity with Collective 54 Founder Greg Alexander and the other members. It led to my decision to hire a fractional sales manager to help us to grow and scale. After joining Collective 54, I became more daring and confident in tackling strategic decisions like this. I contribute this to the role models I met in the community and the successful implementations of their creative methodologies and solutions.”
Two Are Better Than One When Building Business Frameworks
The bottom line is that EOS and Collective 54 are complimentary tools, not competitors. Our team loves and endorses EOS; we wish all members used it, to be honest! So if you’ve hesitated to bring both into your firm’s ecosystem, you don’t have to be reluctant anymore. Try both and discover how to construct a business growth framework that’s as satisfying as… well… a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.