CEO Defined

25 Entrepreneurs Explain What Being A CEO Means To Them

Here at CBNation, we love to hear what being a CEO means to different entrepreneurs and CEOs. We understand it entails great responsibility and expectations from both the clients and the team you’re leading but its meaning varies with each CEO.

We asked entrepreneurs and business owners their definition of the word CEO and here’s what they had to say.

#1- Responsibility holder

Photo Credit: Ann Kerian

Being a CEO means that you have earned the right to make decisions on your own.  But it also means you are likely smart enough not to.  The Chief Executive Officer is the one who usually gets the glory when things go well.  To that point, the CEO should also be the one to step up to take responsibility when things go wrong.  I love the excitement and the pressure of both.

Thanks to Ann Kerian

#2- Pride in what I have accomplished

Photo Credit: Andrew Roderick

I am building a business that I am proud of and passionate about, all while affording myself the freedoms and benefits that come with that. Doing it, and starting from scratch is not easy, but if you believe in yourself and work hard, you give yourself the best opportunity to live the life you want for yourself. It sounds seriously corny, but you really won't work a day in your life, if you are doing something you love. This role means freedom for me.

Thanks to Andrew Roderick, Credit Repair Companies!

#3-Enabling Others

Photo Credit: Jacob Wedderburn-Day

One of the most valuable things you can do, as a CEO, is to enable others to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. This might mean helping them unlock deals, introducing them to the right contacts or resources, or even investing in the right training for them. It definitely means having regular 1-1s on the right priorities for them to focus on. As a CEO, I know I'm doing a good job when my team are all doing good work.

Thanks to Jacob Wedderburn-Day, Stasher!


#4- Leaders that do the right thing

Photo Credit: Wong Whei Meng

Traditionally, CEO is accountable for the growth of the business and maximizes returns for shareholders. But I think that a CEO needs to take on more roles and consideration now to account for the impact to humanity, environmentally and socially. A CEO's success should be measured in all of the above to create a better future and be a true leader that does the right thing rather than tunnel focused on just creating profits but sacrificed everything else along the way.

Thanks to Wong Whei Meng, SPEEDHOME!


#5-The buck stops with you

Photo Credit: David Duford

Having run multiple businesses since 2006, business ownership provides the opportunity to determine your own course in business and in life. Unlike employment, you are in control of everything: operations, marketing, selling, etc. The buck stops with you when it comes to charting your future and what you want your business to become.

Thanks to David Duford


#6- A number of things

Photo Credit: Naheed Mir

Every decision to move forward the company or the organization is entirely dependent upon the choices one makes as a CEO. You need to have a strong strategic mindset and vision for that. Because things could take a wrong turn as well, for which one must keep himself or herself prepared. You will have to involve risks, but evaluate all the possibilities at hand earlier. See where the chances of you being at the loss are less. Keep a check and balance on your cash flow as well. Also, look where the other party is interested, and pitch yourself there. Sometimes, however, you can draw the attention of the other party towards what you think is right as well. It always functions on the principle of mutual cooperation. Be sharp, but be polite too.

Thanks to Naheed Mir, RugKnots!

#7- Family head

CEO or Chief Executive Office is like the head of the family, who leads and heads the decision making in the household in order to grow and connect to build stronger bonds to achieve the shared goals for the success of the household as well as the children.

Thanks to Chad Hill, Hill and Ponton Law!

#8- Being a leader

Photo Credit:Katherine E. Bomstad Plotnik

Taking something that you are passionate about and using that passion to make change. To have a vision and to inspire others to take a path that might not be the easiest path. To take risks. To bear the burden of employing other people and being responsible for their livelihood. Working all the time. That your business is your first born child and you are always there to make sure everything is ok.

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Thanks to Katherine E. Bomstad Plotnik, Prosperwell!

#9- Parent to my 20 employees

Photo Credit: Veronica Moya

I run an elopement company in NYC. I am responsible for generating a consistent stream of work for my staff. So, my being the head of the company feels a lot like being a parent. I am solely responsible for making sure that my staff has everything they need to feel supported and succeed. I also have to make certain that the work load doesn't decrease. If it did, I would have to let people go. So, I am always working on keeping my sales and marketing team motivated to find inventive ways of generating business and keeping the consistency.

Thanks to Veronica Moya, Wedding Packages NYC!

#10- Making something happen

Photo Credit: Andy King

Being a CEO isn't all about the status and the power, for me, it's more about the fact that I've been able to make something happen. It's about being able to look back and be proud of the fact that I've built or helped to build something from nothing and taking responsibility for what I've done. That is the reason that I started my company and wanted to be the CEO, and watch as I built the brand, the reputation and the client base from nothing to where it is today! I think it's also about looking forward and that, for me, mean s becoming a household ane that people can recognize.

Thanks to Andy King, Jamjar!

#11- Two things

Photo Credit: Liviu Tanase

To me, being a CEO means being a part of a team just as much as the other members of that team – all while leading it to success. It’s hard to do sometimes as you have to juggle with so many challenges and they can quickly consume you. But if you allow yourself to lose touch with your team, you’re at risk of becoming a leader without connection. So, the most important thing for being a successful CEO is striving to empower every single person in your organization. Also, being a CEO means training yourself to be calm, persistent, and resilient in front of the many obstacles that will come your way. While being responsible for the morale of your team, you have to be able to promptly shift gears, change direction, and aim for the right goals.

Thanks to Liviu Tanase, ZeroBounce!

#12- Servant leadership

Photo Credit: Alessandro Clemente

To me being a CEO has always been, being the stark opposite of traditional leadership and leading as a servant leader. I’ve always believed that leadership shouldn’t be assumed from a position of rank but leadership comes from the opportunity to serve others. It has never been about attaining the power and control to drive performance but a shared power and control to drive engagement. It was never about measuring the level of one's success through the output but measuring it through continual growth and development. It was never about being able to have the last say or speak but to listen. Everyone has a say but only servant leadership entails listening. Only when you listen can one truly understand, and understanding is far greater than acquired knowledge. Traditional leadership manages from the top of the pyramid but servant leadership leads from the bottom to the top. All this plays a key role in keeping myself self-aware, pushes me to be a collaborative businessman, keeps me humble, gains foresight, cultivate a trusting relationship with employees, and be a coach seeking others to grow alongside me rather than grow alone.

Thanks to Alessandro Clemente, Italian Food Online Store!

#13- A number of things

Photo Credit: Tom Winter

What defines you as an entrepreneur is having the complete creative freedom and ability to fulfill the vision you have in mind for your business, from start to finish. Being an entrepreneur means being fully independent in my decision making, and being responsible for the ultimate success or complete failure of my business. Having the mindset of an entrepreneur means being determined to reach your end goal no matter what it takes to get there, but also having the common-sense to know when it’s time to strategize and go back to the drawing board. Ultimately, being an entrepreneur means being brave, creative and persistent enough to be successful in your venture, independently of which industry you chose to start a business.

See also  18 Entrepreneurs Explain What Being A CEO Means To Them

Thanks to Tom Winter, DevSkiller!

#14- C – Create, E – Execute, and O – Optimize

Photo Credit: Nataliya Kalava

All three functions are integral to business success and speak to the leadership ability to guide a subject company or an organization. First, as a leader, a CEO must have a vision to create; this can be a vision to create a mission or plan, it can be a vision to improve operations, increase revenues or cut costs. Once the main objective or a vision is created, the next task is to execute. The task for any CEO is execution. None of the grandiose plans can come into being unless action is applied. Lastly, rarely a vision may realize itself perfectly, therefore, oftentimes, adjustments are necessary to optimize and arrive at best results. Staying flexible, keeping your mind open and being able to adjust or pivot are essential to optimize and achieve the optimal results for any specific scenario. Thus, in my opinion, the main job of any Chief Operating Officer is to create a vision or a plan of action, execute and optimize to achieve the best possible outcome.

Thanks to Nataliya Kalava, American Valuations!

#15- A number of things

Photo Credit: Deb Luttrell

As the CEO of my business, my most important role is to develop and pursue the overall vision of the company. On a high level, I think that many business structures can be compared to an orchestra. The CEO is the conductor, whose job is to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, listen critically, and shape the overall sound. The same applies in the day-to-day of being a CEO – you are responsible for setting the correct examples, procedures, delegations, and checkpoints in place for your business to run smoothly and achieve expected results. To me, nothing is more rewarding than helping my team succeed and provide our customers an experience that will make them want to come back time and time again.

Thanks to Deb Luttrell, Stitchin’ Heaven!

#16- Risk-taker

Photo Credit: Sergio Pedemonte

Personal trainers like myself are a dime-a-dozen in the industry. I knew if I wanted to break through a saturated market, I would have to be willing to take a leap of faith. My company dispatches a personal trainer to the client’s home for a one-on-one training session. Initially, I did not know if this would work, but this is where I just say “to hell with it” and go all in with my crazy idea. A CEO, in my mind, needs to take a chance even at the risk of failure and financial setback. If you never try, then you will always be wondering “what if.”

Thanks to Sergio Pedemonte, Your House Fitness!

#17- A starter

Photo Credit: Shayne Sherman

When I became the CEO of TechLoris it lent a sort of legitimacy to what I'd spent all this time building. Once your company has its own set of C-Suite execs, it feels like you've finally made it. That's not to take anything away from being an entrepreneur. But entrepreneurs are starters. They take something from idea to a fledgling business. Being a CEO means that the business has reached adolescence and requires more attention than an entrepreneur can give. Making the transition from entrepreneur to CEO felt like I was a bachelor that finally decided to get married. I committed to TechLoris for the long haul. At that point, I wasn't an entrepreneur trying to start the next big thing anymore. I was a CEO and business owner taking my business to the
next level.

Thanks to Shayne Sherman, TechLoris!

#18- Many things

Photo Credit: Jason Frank

Moving fast. If there is something that will improve your business today, do not put it off until tomorrow. Make the change now. If you wait, one of your competitors may beat you to the punch. Not being afraid to get dirty. Team’s respond better when you are a player and not a general manager. No matter if it is responding to a customer complaint or taking out the trash. Team members respect that no task is below you. Relax! What we do is not life and death. In the end this is supposed to be fun. I did not leave the corporate world to not enjoy myself. Make sure you are taking the steps to make the job fun for everyone.

Thanks to Jason Frank, Cardboard Cutout Standees!

#19- Learning and improving

Photo Credit: Jordan W. Peagler, Esq.

Being a CEO means so much more than being your own boss. It’s about setting the company and its people on the right track to success. In this role, it is important to hold yourself accountable first and not blame subordinates who were not put in a position to succeed. One of the things I love most about being a CEO is that it allows me to incorporate fundamental changes to problems I have witnessed in other jobs and experienced as an employee at other law firms. “Doing it the right way” means different things to different people, so being a CEO allows me to learn from mistakes and continue to improve our business to ensure we are in fact “doing it the right way.

See also  24 Entrepreneurs Explain What Being a CEO Means to Them

Thanks to Jordan W. Peagler, Esq., MKP Law Group!

#20- Enjoying the hard part

Photo Credit: Jason Schulz

Honestly, there is nothing better than being the CEO. Of course, there are the challenges and the extreme grit needed for sticking through the hard moments. However, isn't this the best part about all good things?… the hard part. The reward of seeing your team grow as people whilst build a company which you have passionately envisioned. There is truly nothing else like it. I would not trade the role for anything.

Thanks to Jason Schulz,  5Tales!

#21- A Good Decision maker

Photo Credit: Shawn Lockery

For me, the CEO is a person who makes tough, unpopular, and timely decisions for the organization's betterment. A CEO knows all the things about the company that others don't know about it. Sometimes a CEO takes decisions on information unknown to others, which makes him/her look bad. A CEO makes a timely decision because he/she known quick and quality decisions boost the productivity of an organization. A CEO also grows the decision-making ability of his or her team and boost their confidence. A CEO knows how to decide on a strategy, resources, and hiring or firing that significantly impact the company.

Thanks to Shawn Lockery, InVivo Biosystems!

#22- Act of balance

For me, being a CEO means more than just being in charge, it's a balancing act of motivating a team whilst creating new opportunities. An incredibly important thing to remember, for fear of sounding cliche, is that respect isn't commanded, but earned. Being on top doesn't mean that you shouldn't roll your sleeves up and muck in with the team at times. To be completely honest, the title of CEO is one I've never been particularly keen on. Same with the term entrepreneur. It's a statement of success and finally reaching the top ‘status' which I don't want to be rewarded with yet. Perhaps that's why I'm driven to keep pushing, and not sitting back and resting on my laurels.

Thanks to Alex Latham, Latham's Security Doorsets Ltd!

#23- Courage to lead

Photo Credit: Kevin Schmiegel

Being a CEO is about having the courage to set a bold vision and ambitious goals, even when people doubt your ability to achieve desired outcomes. As a CEO, you must lead by example to change mindsets and get people to believe in your vision. With every tangible result, every small victory, and every big win along the way; you build understanding, momentum, and also the belief that what your team sets out to accomplish is not only achievable but something that must be done together.

Thanks to Kevin Schmiegel, Operation Gratitude!

#24- Juggling control and responsibility

Photo Credit: David Tile

The CEO shapes the company in order to make sure that customers get the best possible experience, while the business remains profitable and it’s people are empowered to live their best possible lives. It’s a complex balance that requires a fulsome understanding of market dynamics; and human reality.

Thanks to David Tile,!

#25- A number of things

Photo Credit: Stephan Boehringer

For me, being a CEO personifies the cultivation of faith in a common cause. It means driving a philosophy that my team understands, agrees with, and advocates. It means showing that our mission is greater than we individually and that none of us can accomplish our goals alone. I am the metallurgist, forging the common bond that makes it literally unthinkable to do anything else. In essence, being a CEO means creating a family that relentlessly and selflessly pursues the vision of our philosophy. For us, it is doing what is right no matter how adverse the situation.

Thanks to Stephan Boehringer, Get the Clicks!

What does being a CEO mean to you (define being a CEO, entrepreneur or business owner)? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community

Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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