Re-post – https://apakula.com.au/2016/03/its-all-a-bit-sour/
In the quest to create and build a great business I signed up to the entrepreneur education provider, The Entourage. There are a growing number of these education providers out there, but what do they actually give you for the precious ‘new business owner’ dollars you give them?
My experience sadly turned rather sour after raising concerns that The Entourage’s program just wasn’t for me and having been promised things that I simply wasn’t getting. Cue the sour and the very sour. You may well of heard the general customer service ratios in relation to good and bad service, i.e. give a customer good service and they’ll tell a couple of people, give them bad service and they’ll tell at least 3 times that many people…and you’ve guessed it, I’ve had a very bad customer experience.
But, here I’m am only introducing you to my experience, because it has got to a point where I’ve submitted a complaint with the Office of Fair Trade and I’m looking to do more large scale press exposure.
For now, I want other entrepreneurs and business owners to know that it’s not a one size fits all program (which they firmly held to be true, as recently as mid-Feb 2016). But lo and behold, The Entourage, through the release of their new programs, have contradicted themselves of this very statement. They recently changed their 12 month program into 3 x 4month programs designed to enrol you based on the current stage of your business’ journey.
Why am I writing about this?
When programs like this educate you on the importance of knowing your customer avatar – name, age, gender, lifestyle, job, hobbies etc. – and then market and accept everyone and anyone on their own program they have very quickly become a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ institute.
I was signed up to the program and the only questions asked about my businesses were their names and where on the business development level they were, both of mine were at start up.
When I raised my hand to say I wanted to join I’d already been promised wonderful things, but I’d also been told that in a roundabout way that I didn’t care enough about my business if I didn’t join (slimy sales). Anyway, I completed the signup form, which also made up the contract. But there was no conversation around the expectations I had stated in the contract, i.e. through the program to take my business from start up to scalable. I was later told, when trying to cancel from the program, my expectations cannot be achieved in 12 months – even though the sales pitch eluded to many other businesses that had achieved that (more slimy sales).
I digress somewhat, the sour taste I now have for this organisation predominantly began when I started raising my concerns, with valid examples, and instead of hearing them out the first go to for the staff was allocating blame to me, there was even a part of the conversation which was angling towards The Entourage taking credit for the work I was getting in my training consultancy, which I shut down very quickly by saying it was through my pre-existing network, which in fact it is. But the blame continued, with many contradictions and wild statements about where and what the value of the program is…and it went on and sadly is still going on…
What did I want?
Acknowledgement that I do not fit their customer profile – I should never have been enrolled – and a refund for the fees I’d paid. There have been many costly damages, but in an effort to cut ties and be done with the connection to The Entourage I just wanted my fees refunded.
What have I got?
Stress from the endless conversations and continuous battling, unscheduled calls continuously asking me to tell them my point of view…as if my email communications were not my point of view already, promised calls and queries that I would hear back from with no return communications or apologies, and even an unscheduled call from the Director of Education, who stated several times that he would call me back within 48hrs to present options only to have a communication returned over 4 days later via another member of staff.
If this is the type of organisation that is teaching entrepreneurs to be amazing business owner AND tapping into government innovation funding for those on their Diploma of Entrepreneurship program (yes, they are a registered RTO as well), I really wonder what Australia’s business future and culture will look like.
Jack Delosa quotes in his ‘Vision, Mission and Values’ workshop – “you have to be selfish before you can be selfless”. This statement has great depth, but being selfish in the way the statement is originally intended is not at the expense of others. For me, The Entourage has demonstrated selfish behaviours at the expense of others. For those of you reading, there are at least 20 other people that have shared the above experience, some treated much worse or even more rudely.
So again why am I writing this?
Because I want to warn other inspired individuals that have a spark in them to create and run their own business to not waste over $1,300 per month to get information they can have for free!
I want to warn these wonderful entrepreneurs to save their hard earned money so they can reinvest it in their business, so they can pay rent, so they can turn a profit instead of being in debt!
I want to want these growing group of humans who are trying to make their mark on their world, to change the lives of their families that they shouldn’t pay to have friends/network that you can have for free!
I want to warn the generous providers of innovation and entrepreneur grants that their money is being dwindled by an organisation selling $1300+/month “education” program that cannot demonstrate its value expect with fluffy sales words that have zero substance!
Closing words to create curiosity
I will not be silenced, you cannot give me money to hide me away…there’s more at stake here.