We spoke with Terry Bowen, Chair at Vistage International, about the power of peer groups and how they can help you grow your business.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Matt Register: Hey guys, welcome back to Texas Business Radio. I’m your host Matt Register, here as always with Jay Curry. Jay, talk to me.
Jay Curry: Oh, it’s a good one. You know we’re big fans of peer to peer. We’re big fans of Vistage and we have a very special Vistage chair. This is a, this could be very informative. People need to be listening because you’re going to find out what Vistage is all about. And how you can get some real help as a business owner.
Matt Register: Well and I tell you what, especially in the Fayetteville, Arkansas area. Terry Bowen, welcome to the show Terry.
Terrell Bowen: Thank you very much.
Matt Register: So tell us a little bit about your Vistage group and what it is you’re doing for CEOs as they’re trying to expand their business and get better as CEO’s.
Terrell Bowen: Right. Well thanks again for the opportunity. We’re doing something really special in northwest Arkansas and we have established the first chief executive group business for Vistage there. We launched last June. It was a new product to the area.
Matt Register: Sure.
Terrell Bowen: I’m only the second chair in the state and the first in northwest Arkansas. So it’s been a real opportunity to introduce Vistage to an area that really is needing at this point in time.
Matt Register: Well and I tell you what, Vistage is something that is heavily concentrated in the large metro areas. But bringing it to this, to the smaller metro areas is, is an opportunity for those CEO’s that, that otherwise wouldn’t exist in that area. Right?
Terrell Bowen: That’s exactly right. So the closest chair is about two hours away and so it’s really exciting to kind of have this, have this untilled soil, so to speak, there in northwest Arkansas. And the economy is booming there right now and people are just falling all over themselves, frankly, not knowing exactly how to take those next steps toward ultimate success.
Matt Register: Well and I tell you what, we’re in a, in an economy that is rapidly changing. We’re in a regulatory environment that is rapidly changing. That’s kind of the one constant in business now, is, is everything is constantly changing and if you are not on top of it, you’re going to be left behind.
Terrell Bowen: Yeah.
Matt Register: One of the things, I mean, anybody that’s listen to this show for any length of time knows how big of a fan we are of peer to peer groups.
Jay Curry: Right.
Matt Register: Because as unique as we all as entrepreneurs think we are, we’re not.
Terrell Bowen: Yep.
Matt Register: Right? And so tell me a little bit about your groups in particular and how you’re able to solve, help those guys solve their own problems by using their peers and the knowledge of their peers.
Terrell Bowen: Right. Right. So I’ve been a consumer products executive for a very long time and with a Fortune 500 company and lots of zeros behind the numbers and that’s just the life I’ve come from. And when I was recruited by Vistage to become a chair, I kind of had some preconceived notions about what the group might look like. When it’s all said and done, the group is much younger in it’s ownership and it’s much smaller than I anticipated.
Matt Register: OK.
Terrell Bowen: So that’s been really interesting. I’ve got a lot of like minded, like situated people in the group. I did very deliberately bring in some, some diversity, relative to age, for example. And we’ve got some very wise folks in the group. That when it’s all said and done, we’ve really got a young, hungry, energetic group of business owners. That are just knocking the socks off of it. And it’s really excited to see them work together and bond together and start solidifying their relationships in a way that they can truly use each other as a business advisory board.
Matt Register: Well, I’ll tell you what, it is, it is very lonely at the top. Right? And that saying has never been truer than in business. Right? When you are, find yourself as an entrepreneur and you find yourself. I’ll never forget when it, when it, when, when I finally noticed that it was happening to me. I realized that all of my buddies didn’t have the same problems I did. Right?
Terrell Bowen: Right. Right.
Matt Register: Because they were an employee. They were doing good things but they just didn’t have the same kind of pressures. It is very, very nice to get in the same room with guys who understand the things that you’re going through right now.
Terrell Bowen: And to that point, again you don’t know what the future holds. When I launched my group in June. I think it was in the first five months that our group existed, four of them had children. And that was not what I was pre-conceiving, you know, that wasn’t some of the issues I was going to be dealing with. But that’s the reality and so to the degree that they’ve got those common situations. It’s just cool to see it happen.
Jay Curry: So, it’s very exciting that you, that you’ve got this going now around Fayetteville. I mean that’s a very dynamic area of Arkansas.
Terrell Bowen: Yes.
Jay Curry: There’s a lot of good business people there.
Terrell Bowen: Yes.
Jay Curry: I’m not surprised to hear this. But this is an opportunity for people to meet with other business owners and have confidentiality and help each other become better leaders. Right?
Terrell Bowen: Absolutely. Yeah, there’s close to 1,400 offices, sales and logistics support offices for CPG suppliers to Wal-Mart alone. And so, I’m telling you, just the diversity of opportunity amongst those folks to peer with themselves, is just amazing. And so we’re in a position where we’ve got this chief executive group and now I’m just starting the formation of a key group.
Jay Curry: Right.
Terrell Bowen: And that’s for all those team leaders that have the title vice president or managing director of some type, to really form another group that is their peers. So that’s pretty exciting that we’ve got another whole new opportunity to start.
Jay Curry: All that is good stuff. But do you, you do coaching, obviously, for your CEO’s. You’re doing one on one’s and helping them.
Terrell Bowen: That’s correct.
Jay Curry: Your a training coach. What do you do with the keys?
Terrell Bowen: Well, with the keys, we’ll obviously be helping them, try to associate for that next level opportunity. There are people that are CXO, their, kind of, in the, in the process of taking that next step toward becoming a business owner or a CEO themselves. So we’re trying to put them into situations with people, so that they can learn and be more whole.
Jay Curry: That key group gets the same speakers, the same process as your CEO’s. So you know it’s a very special group.
Terrell Bowen: That’s exactly right.
Jay Curry: What a great opportunity.
Terrell Bowen: I’m really excited for a lot of really bright and talented people. There’s also a lot of startups going on. A lot of technology startups in the Fayetteville, northwest Arkansas area. So they’re small businesses that are being sprouted everywhere. So the whole economy is just very vibrant and exciting right now.
Matt Register: OK. If your in the Fayetteville, Arkansas area and you are running a business and you’re not contacting this gentleman, you’re wrong. Terry, what’s the easiest way for someone to get in touch with you, should they want to?
Terrell Bowen: Well, they can e-mail me at Terrell.Bowen@VistageChair.com. Would be the easiest.
Matt Register: Got it. Send him an e-mail. Get the process started, you going to be glad you did.
Jay Curry: Learn about Vistage.
Matt Register: Terry, thank you very much for joining us.
Terrell Bowen: Thank you guys so much, I appreciate what you guys do for Vistage.
Matt Register: Hey, no worries. We’ve got, do have to pay some bills, though. We’re going to be right back. We’re going to break. Don’t go anywhere.
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In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.