New program helps entrepreneurs reach $1 million revenue mark
By SHERYL JEAN
Drew Jones has watched revenue triple each year since he started his custom tailored menswear business in 2008.
He plans to expand Dallas-based D. Jones Tailored Collection to Houston next year and wants to hone his hiring and time management skills.
Jones is one of about 20 North Texas entrepreneurs who have joined a program launched this month by the Dallas chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization to help move their company to the next level and build their revenue to $1 million or more. EO members — 120 locally and more than 8,000 globally — must be founders or majority owners of companies with revenue of $1 million to $500 million.
Jeremy Brandt, head of the Accelerator program in Dallas, said he noticed a gap in the business community. A lot of support exists for startups and CEOs at large companies, but there’s a lack of educational programs for companies in between — those that may be a few years old with a small number of employees, he said.
“Entrepreneurs are often overwhelmed with working in the business and don’t have a lot of time to step back and think strategically as to the next step — and they often sputter,” Brandt said. “The failure rate is very high at this level.”
Entrepreneurs must generate at least $250,000 in annual revenue to qualify for the yearlong Accelerator program, which costs $1,500.
Up to 30 people can join.
Sunny Morris, who founded Core24 Inc. in Dallas in 2009, hopes the Accelerator program helps boost her revenue to $1 million within the next year.
Core24 provides vetted business resources to executives, similar to an Angie’s List for business. It posted revenue of $235,000 last year and expects just over $400,000 this year, Morris said.
“The big benefit for me is to be in a room full of other entrepreneurs who are experiencing the same problems that I am that until this program I thought are unique to me,” she said. “It’s that camaraderie that I’m not alone.”
The Accelerator program focuses on business best practices, such as human resources, financing and strategy. It offers all-day quarterly seminars, smaller group monthly meetings and mentors. Entrepreneurs can stay in the program up to three years.
“It’s just not about accelerating your financials, but fine-tuning your business practices to make sure everything is running smoothly,” said founder Amy Power, whose Power Public Relations has grown every year since she started it in 1999. “It’s really making me stop and look at what we’re doing well and what we can improve.”
Since EO began the program four years ago, 104 entrepreneurs have reached the $1 million revenue mark within 18 months on average, Brandt said. Nationally, more than 470 entrepreneurs are enrolled in the program.
“It’s interesting to see all the different companies in the Accelerator program, yet we all have that entrepreneurial drive,” Jones said. “I don’t want to be in a room full of people who aren’t taking their company growth seriously.”