Startup Waze: Peer Groups for Smart Entrepreneurs

Last week I was blazing across Alligator Alley, the long stretch that connects the east coast of Florida with the west coast of Florida. I was cruising at the speed of traffic – about 20 miles an hour over the limit. All of a sudden, as if a switch had been turned on, most of the cars in my vicinity slowed down to the posted speed limit.

“H’mmm,” I thought, “something is amiss.” I loaded my trusty Waze App and lo and behold, there it was: Two state troopers 5 miles ahead.

One of the drivers in our pack obviously did not get the message. He went blowing by us like we were standing still. Sure enough, by the time we closed the gap, he was being chased down by one of the troopers.

If you are unfamiliar with Waze, it is more than just a GPS mapping app. It is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. The other drivers on the road let you know where the delays, hazards and speed traps are. They let you know if there is a long line at the fueling stations, or if the rest stops are backed up. Drivers helping drivers to save time and money so that everyone gets to their destination more quickly and safely.

It occurred to me that the best startups I knew of were using a similar crowd-sourcing intelligence capability – a Startup Waze of sorts. Conversely, the struggling startups I knew of were haphazardly blowing down the startup highway without a clue to the hazards and speed traps. To co-op the Waze value proposition, every entrepreneur should: “Get the best route, every day, with real–time help from other entrepreneurs.”

There are a TON of resources that provide aspiring entrepreneurs with good road maps – accelerators, blogs, books, online classes, meet up groups and networking events. There are a TON of startup mentors and advisors who provide basic navigation tips. But these resources cannot replace real-time help, from real entrepreneurs, who are actually on the same journey.

To that end, here is a partial list of good organizations that entrepreneurs should consider joining. If you know of others, please feel free to add them in the comments below.

Entrepreneurs’ Organization
The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is a Global business network of 12,000+ leading entrepreneurs in 160 chapters and 50 countries.

FoundersCard is a membership community of over 20,000 entrepreneurs and innovators who receive unprecedented benefits and networking opportunities.

Each group is designed to help members help each other improve their businesses and their lives.

Young Entrepreneur Council
Curated networking and peer-to-peer support. YEC members can get insight and advice on their biggest challenges anytime through highly engaged 24/7 online support forums.

Young President’s Organization
YPO today provides more than 24,000 members in more than 130 countries with access to extraordinary educational resources, alliances with leading institutions, and specialized networks designed to support their business, community and personal leadership.

The best “waze” to be successful as an entrepreneur and navigate your startup journey: find a good peer group.