Executive Director’s Minute…….
To view the accompanying EOX Spring 2020 Newsletter, click here
Like many of you, I spent the first few weeks of the quarantine, trying to navigate the choppy waters of the COVID-19 pandemic both in my home life and work routine. At home, it took my wife and I a few weeks to settle into our daily routine here in D.C. with both of us working from home. At work, it also took a few weeks to settle in. After working through what the new normal would be and maneuvering through and applying for the different CARES Act stimulus packages, the EOX board and I turned our attention to discussing how the monumental changes in our world will affect EOX’s mission and our ambitious plans for the next few years. Our determination: the important mission of EOX has not changed, in fact the need for a national network of State Centers for Employee Ownership is greater now than it ever has been.
We believe that as the US economy recovers, business succession planning will become an even higher priority for many of the 2.4 million baby-boomers who are business owners. The option of transitioning to an employee ownership model must be top of mind for these business owners as they ponder what to do with their life’s work. While to date we have been proceeding on the assumption that approximately ten years from now all of the baby-boomer owned businesses will be sold or closed, in the post-pandemic world we believe the ten-year window will be compressed. There is already evidence that private equity firms are using this time of deflated valuations as an opportunity to put some of their $1.5 trillion in “dry powder” cash to work. As a result, EOX will be pushing forward with even more of a sense of urgency and purpose to recruit volunteers and obtain seed funding needed to open more state centers for employee ownership. Having “boots on the ground” as soon as possible in states across the country is essential as we seek to inform and inspire business owners and create a pipeline of businesses interested in transforming their employees from workers to employee owners.
Of course, fundraising remains a priority for EOX. We realize that the current environment makes fundraising more challenging, so in the short term we will also be focusing on “friend-raising”. While we wait for the COVID-19 crisis and the economy to settle down, we intend to call, e-mail, and yes, hold Zoom meetings, to seek input and investments from thought-leaders, business owners, and service providers who appreciate why employee-owned companies are good not just for owners and employees, but for our country and our communities, as well. When you hear from me or one of our Board members, I hope you will give us some time to brief you on EOX’s progress and plans and seek your input.
Thank you to all of you who have assisted EOX and our state centers over the past 16 months–we are off to a great start! Whether through financial support, volunteer hours, or sharing your wisdom and guidance, I greatly appreciate each one of you. I look forward to the time when our economy and community settles into a new normal, whatever it may be, so that I can get back out on the road to work with you to promote the power of employee ownership.