CEO Defined

29 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- Decision maker

Photo Credit: Jared Bauman

Being CEO means that I am the one who has to make the difficult decisions regarding the company that no one else can. While it's not an easy job, it's also a highly rewarding one because you're leading people to the shared goals. As CEO, my ultimate purpose is to meet the needs of shareholders. The fact that I own 100% of the company means that I am solely responsible for the company's well-being. There are numerous ways to achieve this. My ideal workplace is one with a flat organizational structure that allows for the greatest amount of individual autonomy, is profitable, and is growing.

Thanks to Jared Bauman, Photography for Real Estate!

#2- Being creative

Photo Credit: Sep Niakan

Being the CEO requires a great level of creativity. I believe that creativity manifests itself in a variety of ways across a wide range of fields. Creativity, on the other hand, is not limited to painters, singers, and authors; in fact, it knows no limitations. As a CEO, you're constantly using your imagination to solve problems. Most challenges can be solved in an infinite number of ways, and the more creative you are, the more solutions you can come up with that will set you apart from other businesses.

Thanks to Sep Niakan, Condoblackbook!

#3- Encouraging leadership

Photo Credit: Cody Candee

A CEO is an individual who is focused on fostering the best out of their team. It is not about being the star, rather it is a leader who allows the talent of the individuals that comprise their business to shine. Although they provide direction, once that is determined, those who recognize the most capable of those they lead, and then have the wherewithal to get out of their way, are best suited to the CEO title.

Thanks to Cody Candee, Bounce!

#4- Success of company and team

Photo Credit: James Wilkinson

A business leader should not only be mindful of the company’s growth and success but also each and every one of your employees. Because first of all, without them, we and our company are going nowhere. And just like us, they also have needs and goals of their own as well as families and loved ones that they dedicate their hard work to. That’s why, for me, it is very important that I care for them just as much as I care about my business.

Thanks to James Wilkinson, Balance One Supplements!

#5- Creating a positive culture

Photo Credit: David Scott

Every CEO is different, so there is no right or wrong answer. For some people, being CEO means being in charge and making all the decisions. For others, it might mean managing and motivating their team. For me, being a CEO means having the opportunity to make a real impact on not just my company but also the employees who work there. It's about embodying the company values and setting an example for others. And most importantly, it's about creating a positive culture where people can thrive.

Thanks to David Scott, Top Reviews!

#6- Being empowered

Photo Credit: David Farkas

One of the benefits of being a CEO is that you cannot be a complainer. You must solve problems. If things aren't going well at work, it's ultimately your fault. Being a CEO is a lot more fulfilling when your board gives you power. This is not true in many public firms where the board collectively owns less than five percent of the company and being a CEO in those organizations may be extremely unpleasant since it is more difficult to plan long-term. However, if you can think long-term, becoming a CEO is the finest job.

Thanks to David Farkas, The Upper Ranks!

#7- Motivating and leading

Photo Credit: Kim Marie Branch-Pettid

To me, the CEO is the big picture thinker. They motivate and lead others to make the right decisions. They uplift and encourage their teams to be the best they can be. I've found it to be the easiest and the hardest job at any company. It’s easy because it’s so rewarding seeing someone rise above a challenge and use the skills you taught them to make good decisions. It’s also hard because you can’t be afraid to voice your opinion. While the day-to-day work still happens, you are ultimately responsible for the well-being, of every single member of the team. That means occasionally going to bed at night worrying if one member is struggling or not. We hold it all on our shoulders.

Thanks to Kim Marie, LeTip International, Inc.!

#8- Listening actively

Photo Credit: Michael Perez

Being a CEO means listening actively and with purpose. Listening to your customers to understand their problems, so you can find solutions that will help them. Listening to your co-founders, employees, and contractors to understand how they work, what motivates them, and what you can do to help them succeed. Listening to your friends and family to know when you might be burning the candle at both ends and it's time to dial it back a little. A failure to listen leads to business failure.

Thanks to Michael Perez, Pay Tgthr, Inc!

#9- Serving the customers

Photo Credit: Kyle Risley

For me, being a CEO comes with several privileges. Most importantly, it allows me to provide an essential service to my customers. Lift Vault connects gym-goers and athletes to simplified lifting plans that help them achieve their goals faster and easier. It allows people to compare popular training regimens so that they can pick the one that’s best for them. Finally, it allows them to customize and adapt their workout plan so they can get the results they want effectively.

Thanks to Kyle Risley, Lift Vault!

#10- Being a problem solver

Photo Credit: Derek Warburton

Being a CEO, for me, entails being a problem solver and a resourceful individual. Each day brings new problems that I must solve, and I must be ready to switch to problem-solving mode any time to deal with them. Additionally, being a CEO requires me to be resourceful. As an entrepreneur, I strive to create opportunities and value where none previously existed. To accomplish this, I must have a creative mindset and ask, how can I achieve this with the resources I have?

Thanks to Derek Warburton, Mrwarburton media!

#11- Presenting new ideas

Photo Credit: Tam Le

Being an entrepreneur, for me, means always pursuing new ideas and methods to improve my business. It is the process of continually developing a financially feasible solution to an issue that most people are experiencing but may not be aware of. The tendency to cling to a single idea in today's fast-paced market is a formula for failure. As an entrepreneur, one should continually look for ways to improve or add more valuable assets to the table to keep a business functioning smoothly.

Thanks to Tam Le, Steamaster Site!

#12- Backbone of an organization

Photo Credit: Jod Kapilakan

CEOs are the backbone for an organization that withstands difficulties with resilience and uplifts it after every downfall. Being a CEO means you have to know every aspect of your business and have the knowledge to navigate through its challenges. We are the ones who should bring in a positive work environment for employees and create a work culture that can retain top talents. CEOs are the roots of any business without whom the nourishment for the whole business setup is impossible.

Thanks to Jod Kapilakan, Abundancenolimits!

#13- Guiding employees to success

Photo Credit: Artem Klimklin

Being able to delegate responsibilities to your employees is key to a successful business. At the same time, all these employees may not understand your goals. That's where a CEO comes in. Being a CEO to me is being able to guide my employees to success. Guiding my employees by helping them achieve their personal and business goals. As a CEO, I can connect with my employees and guide them through any challenges they may face in their work. It makes me happy to understand that my employees have understood the goals to make the business a success.

Thanks to Artem Klimklin, Posturion!

#14- Being committed 24/7

Photo Credit: Stewart Gold

As a small business owner, being a CEO means that my personal life and professional life are inextricably intertwined. While other employees can shut off after the workday, I will eat, sleep and breathe about the business. Almost every waking moment I am thinking about how I can improve and future-proof the business. It may sound stressful, but I am constantly challenged to critically think my way through problems and come up with workable solutions. It keeps my mind sharp and gives me purpose.

Thanks to Stewart Gold, Dingle Dangle Baby!

#15- Developing with the team

Photo Credit: Shahid Hanif

Being a CEO means bringing out the best in your team. Ensuring that all their skills are effectively put to use is my primary target when it comes to team building. It means working closely with many different mindsets and coming up with a viable solution that fits all. Lastly, the growth of an individual along with the team is what it means to be an entrepreneur.

Thanks to Shahid Hanif, Shufti Pro!

#16- Helping others

Photo Credit: Lisa Richards

For me, being a CEO and business owner means having the opportunity and resources to help ordinary people a little bit every day. It's why I'm still in this business because I can see the profound impact that my products and business as a whole have on people's lives each day. It's an honor helping people live less painful, more meaningful lives, and being a CEO allows me to direct company resources towards activities that will have the most direct and helpful impact on our target audience.

Thanks to Lisa Richards, The Candida Diet!

#17- Having good foresight

Photo Credit: Dean Kaplan

As a CEO I need to exercise foresight to critically evaluate our business strategy. Foresight is important in all areas of life. But for CEOs, it’s vitally important. I’m dealing with large sums of money, demanding clients, and complex business activities. At the same time, I’m responsible for steering the company in the right direction. I need good
foresight to anticipate what could happen in the next few months and years and make sure my company is prepared for all possible outcomes.

Thanks to Dean Kaplan, Kaplan Collection Agency!

#18- Building the right team

Photo Credit: Ben Fisher

Without the right leaders in the right places, there's likely to be a tiny little hope of guiding the company in the right direction. Always question yourself if you have the right people around you. Ensure that their roles are diverse and organized. Secure your team from any bad apples that are affecting the whole team or not in the exact place with the right skill. Continuous optimization to build the right team will guide your
group to the top of all the competitions.

Thanks to Ben Fisher, The Fisher Group!

#19- Leading the company

Photo Credit: Isla Sibanda

For me, being an entrepreneur came with the direct position of leading the company as well. The importance of this position is apparent in every nook and cranny of the organization. What gets me out of bed each morning and helps me fulfill my role as a CEO, is the team of dedicated individuals. Their unwavering resolve to complete the tasks assigned to them aligned with their dependence on the prosperity of the company is what motivates me to perform my duties as a leader to the best of my abilities.

Thanks to Isla Sibanda, Privacy Australia!

#20- Freedom to take on challenges

Photo Credit: Kurtis Forster

The best thing about being a CEO is that I can work “on” the company, instead of working “in” it. The freedom of taking challenges and making decisions for my own company is a feeling for me that I cannot compare to anything else. However, I never forget the fact that all my actions can have their impacts on the destiny of myself, my business, and its stakeholders. The right balance of freedom and responsibility is the thing that motivates me to drive my business towards success!

Thanks to Kurtis Forster, Forster Real Estate!

#21- Leading people

Photo Credit: Dr. John Wynn

Being a CEO means beginning with the end in mind. Leading a group of people who believe in you requires unbiased decision-making based on what’s best for the company, even if it doesn’t solely benefit you. I believe that it’s a true gift to be able to lead people and therefore requires practice in communicating, having relationships with stakeholders, valuing the support team, recognizing the efforts of all team members, and leading by example.

Thanks to Dr. John Wynn, The Wynn Network!

#22- Bringing passion into a business

Photo Credit: Ronen Yuval

For me, being an entrepreneur means starting a business around something I’m passionate about. My passion is about helping other people solve their problems and improve the lives of our customers. I truly love what I do, which helps me dedicate more time and energy to build my business. Life as an entrepreneur has highs and lows, and there’re times when I feel stuck or uncertain, but passion brings clarity and helps me overcome the fear of failure and take risks.

Thanks to Ronen Yuval, Karma!

#23- Bringing change into the world

Photo Credit: Shaun Heng

Being an entrepreneur means having the courage and belief that you can shape the world with your ideas. Everybody has ideas and projects they want to develop. Many people will say they don't have the time, but in reality, desire makes time. The difference between entrepreneurs and people with ideas is that the latter truly believe that they can bring their ideas into the world. That belief requires confidence in your own abilities, but also confidence that the world outside is capable of meeting your ideas.

Thanks to Shaun Heng, Coin Market Cap!

#24- Inspiring others by example

Photo Credit: Sean Chaudhary

Being a CEO to me means putting my best foot forward, even on days when I am not feeling very motivated. This is because others are counting on me to be there when they need assistance. When I “act” my best, it actually gives me a confidence boost and belief that I can accomplish anything. Being a CEO means modeling the behavior you want to see, so I try to value this and always follow my company morals. By doing this, I hope to inspire others to be their best as well, and to always look ahead instead of behind.

Thanks to Sean Chaudhary, Alchemy Leads!

#25- Adapting to constant change

Photo Credit: Deborah Smith

Being a CEO is recognizing that the world is in constant flux, the market is fluid and everything is subject to change. Now more than ever, uncertainty has become the new normal. A CEO cannot control how the uncertainty plays out, but a CEO can step back, observe, and adapt their mindset and gameplan by taking into account the ever-changing list of variables. A CEO recognizes what worked yesterday, or even today, may not work tomorrow.  Having the vision to see it is invaluable, but without an adaptable mindset that vision may end up being someone else’s overnight success.

Thanks to Deborah Smith, The Center Cap Group, LLC!

#26-  Creating job opportunities

Photo Credit: Peter Rossi

Being a CEO means that I can provide job opportunities for others. I do not want my platform to only benefit me, but also others. With the jobs I create, people can follow their dreams and do what they love. When I first started this business, it was to fulfill my ambitions in life. Now, I want to give those opportunities to others. The job market is already saturated. Young people, especially fresh graduates, do not find jobs. This results in increased stress in the young generation.

Thanks to Peter Rossi, By Rossi!

#27- Setting a clear vision

Photo Credit: Tabetha Sheaver

Being a CEO means setting a clear vision, rallying the talent and resources needed to make that vision a reality, and then holding the team accountable for the execution of your vision. It means you have to be a strategist, a project manager, a therapist, and a teacher. This includes taking care of people while simultaneously holding the greater good of the company in mind. It requires servant leadership, thick skin, a great support system, and the ability to see scenarios from multiple perspectives including yours, your employees, your clients, and your vendors. Nothing will shape you like being a CEO.

Thanks to Tabetha Sheaver, Plus Delta!

#28- Leading with humility and integrity

Photo Credit: Brian Robertson

Being a CEO to me starts with integrity and principles and a passionate conviction to lead and grow people to their fullest potential. Creating or making things that markets need is a byproduct of the talent that makes those things happen. Culture is king in my book and my number one job is to attract, grow and retain talent and to create an inspiring and fun place to work. Leaving ego at the door, being a servant leader is equally important, as are hard work, and honest communication with team members.

Thanks to Brian Robertson, VisiQuate!

#29- Being data-driven

Photo Credit: Denis Leskovets

Being CEO means being data-driven because CEOs are responsible for the financial success of their company by balancing all aspects of the business, including operations, sales and marketing, human resources, and finance. So they have to be analytically experts to use the data to make the right decisions and know where it's coming from. If you're not data-driven then you can't be a CEO because it's all about data and facts to run a company.

Thanks to Denis Leskovets, Office Consumer!

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.

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