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Finding tools and tactics to keep growing in CEO Next

Kristen Denzer headshot for CEO Next

Finding tools and tactics to keep growing in CEO Next

Finding ways to continue growing a successful business can be as challenging as starting something new. That’s why CEO Next brings together successful business leaders to work through challenges that come with success.

As Kristen Denzer continued to grow Tierra Encantada, the Spanish-immersion daycare franchise she founded, she saw an opportunity to create more structure for her business.  

She was especially looking for a way to develop tactics around setting goals, a cohesive business strategy, and data-driven rigor to decision-making. A lot of the big decisions were ultimately her responsibility, but she wanted to give some ownership to her growing, talented team.

“There wasn't a level of ownership for the goals across the leaders, much less the company,” said Denzer.

She said there were good speakers, and deep research from CEO Next partner the Edward Lowe Foundation that moved the company forward. But it was a conversation with a fellow business owner that really transformed her business.

“Multiple people in my group used the Entrepreneur Operating System, and explained how they've used it to structure their business,” said Denzer. “That has been a huge piece for us being able to grow.”

That system, EOS for short, brought organization to Tierra Encantada. Denzer said helped everyone develop and work toward clear goals and understanding of how to meet them and helped her leadership team take more ownership. It brought data-informed decision making, clarity around roles and responsibilities, and process for addressing challenges and opportunities.

“Now, we actually have a leadership team versus just me,” said Denzer.

Since Kristen joined CEO Next five years ago, Denzer said the company has grown to 12 locations around the metro area, with another four expected to open in 2024. Since then, she said revenue grew from $4.9 million to $19.9 million.

CEO Next affirmed her belief that business relationships are essential for any business leader, and she still keeps in touch with several of her fellow classmates.

“I think being able to problem solve a lot of the different situations that you encounter as the CEO. I think that is probably like the biggest piece that was helpful for me,” said Denzer. “The combined knowledge of everyone in CEO Next was so valuable. There were a lot of people that have been through different things and can give you some perspective on something that you might not have thought of.”

To see if this group-learning opportunity from Elevate Hennepin is right for you and your business, visit CEO Next to find eligibility requirements, apply, or express interest in joining the next group.

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