Nick Araco, Jr. is the co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of AchieveNEXT, a provider of specialized Human Capital Performance Solutions and developer of the Alliance Peer Advisory Networks, which includes The CFO Alliance and The CHRO Alliance.
Nick has a demonstrated track record of being a multi-talented, growth strategy, sales, marketing, finance, HR, operations, and enterprise leader. He has been able to bring his unique ability of “Making Connections that Count” to Finance, HR, Sales, and other C-Suite executives and business leaders across North America over the last 20 years. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Finance from Loyola University in Maryland. He earned his law degree from Widener University Delaware Law School and lives outside of Philadelphia with his wife and three children.
Nick Araco, Jr., the co-founder and CEO of AchieveNEXT joins John Corcoran, on this episode of Smart Business Revolution Podcast to talk about building peer-to-peer networks from scratch and connecting people in a virtual world. Nick also discusses his new CHRO Alliance Network and how he creates diversity and maintains quality within the CFO Alliance Network.
Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:
- Nick Araco, Jr. talks about what inspired him to start the CFO Alliance network and his experience doing it during the 2008 economic downturn
- Nick’s strategies for creating peer-to-peer networks and his advice for other entrepreneurs looking to create similar groups
- How Nick determines what the network can do for individuals without becoming a full-fledged agency
- How the CFO Alliance Network expanded from Philadelphia to other areas
- Strategies Nick uses to encourage dialogue in networking events
- Nick explains how he keeps the quality of his network high and how he teaches people to deliver value to its members
- Why Nick decided to set up The CHRO Alliance
- How Nick creates diversity and match-makes connections in his network
- The number of people ideal for maximum comfort, shareability, and engagement in a networking event
- The people Nick acknowledges for his achievements and success
- Peer Advisory Networks
- Nick Araco, Jr. on LinkedIn
- The CFO Alliance
- Greg Wood, Co-founder of The CFO Alliance
- The CHRO Alliance
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
- The National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM)
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Welcome to the Revolution, the Smart Business Revolution podcast where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution. John Corcoran.
John Corcoran 0:40
All right. Welcome everyone. John Corcoran here, the host of the Smart Business Revolution podcast where I get the tark with all kinds of smart CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs and companies and organizations like YPO, EO, Activation, Blizzard, lending tree, Opentable x software and many more. I’m also the co-founder of Rise25, where we help to connect b2b business owners to their ideal prospects, connections and referral partners.
And I’m excited because my guest today is Nick Araco, Jr. and he has a track record as a multi talented growth strategy sales, marketing, finance, HR operations and enterprise leader. He’s also the co-founder, Chairman and CEO of a company called AchieveNEXT, which provides specialized human capital performance solutions. And he also is a developer of the Alliance Peer Advisory Networks, including CFO Alliance and CHRO Alliance. So what that means essentially, is he has a company that helps CFOs and CHROs to connect with one another. I’m sure he’ll give us greater insight into exactly how he’s gone about doing it. But I love featuring on this podcast, for those of you who have listened to it for a while, people who are in the business of connecting one another, which is essentially what we do as well, using the podcast as the vehicle for that but he’s been doing it for about 20 years or so and we’re going to talk with him about some of his strategies for building that business.
But first before we get into that, this episode is brought to you by Rise25 Media. At Rise25 we help b2b businesses to get clients referrals and strategic partnerships with done for you podcasts and content marketing. And if you’re listening to this and you’ve ever thought about doing a podcast, I say yes, absolutely, you should. It is one of the best things you’ll ever do. One of the best things I’ve ever done, some of the best relationships have come out of it. So if you want to learn more, go to rise25.com or you can email [email protected]. All right, Nick. So I’m excited to talk to you about this because you literally had the insight and the idea and the opportunity and put in the blood, sweat and tears I’m sure to put together starting with First, the CFO Alliance and of course you thought you know, here’s a great time to do it. 2008 right. We’re recording this in 2020. And we’re in the next economic downturn. But you were in the last economic downturn, you thought this is a great time. So what? You know, you and I are also recovering attorneys, you know, so what inspired this crazy idea? You know, I’m gonna go out there, I’m gonna start a business. It’s going to help CFOs to network with one another. That sounds like a great idea.
Nick Araco, Jr. 3:18
Well, John, thank you for the opportunity to chat. I love talking to another recovering lawyer. It’s a 12 step program. And I don’t know where we are on those steps, but we’re always making our way through. It never ends. It doesn’t mean I love to talk to people to have a passion for people and you and your colleagues that clearly have that. So thank you. Yes, so if I had a crystal ball in the spring of 2008, if you go back to spring, we were all still focused on riding the wave of prosperity. And at that time, I had a revelation. By the way, I realized that I would be mildly successful at delivering services or wildly successful in connecting people together, I have to explain what that meant. I’d have to figure out how we monetize and curricular make a career out of it. But I said, You know what, I gotta follow my passion. I’m gonna go towards more, finding a way to connect people together to help them be better off of them, achieve the next level and help me reach the next level of my life and career. And that was a risk, right? Because I could have stayed being mildly successful delivering business and financial and accounting services, or legal services to people. But I went the other route. Why? Because I found myself more often than not, on the end recently receiving and of inquiries from finance leaders and other C suite leaders to say, Can I just talk to you, I need to pick your brain and most of the time, it had nothing to do with the solution I could provide. I thought there had to be something there. There has to be a reason why they’re coming to me. Yeah, that spring of Oh, wait. I said, You know what? I gotta stop and I got to figure out why they are coming to me and what I can do about it? I didn’t know that in the fall Whoa, a, we’d become what we created would become Erie. I call it the therapy group for CFOs for the next five years. Yeah.
John Corcoran 5:23
That was a scary time that far. 8008 Yeah, sorry. And I’m sure you’re thinking crap. What did I do?
Nick Araco, Jr. 5:31
Um, I was but I’ll also tell you at the same time, John, it gave me a sense of validation. I’ll tell you what gave me a sense of validation. The candor with which people spoke but when I brought them together. Now back then it was about physically bringing them together in a physical room for dialogue and exchange. But from the beginning, we said, we want this network we’re going to build for you to be the foundation of trust and environment. Where you felt safe to openly discuss debate and a sec, what was on your mind and go what was going to drive your performance. But we knew at all times in order for it to scale, in order for it to become a place where they could connect based upon interest in issue and industry, we had to move beyond market move beyond the physical. So we always from the beginning said, this network is going to become something much more efficient and effective than a physical gathering place. And so now here we are, with close to 10,000 members. And now this community and the demographic of finance leaders, much more comfortable using technology to connect and now here we are in 2020, where we’re forced to embrace that technology to connect and having a lot of fun.[continue to page 2]