30 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- Setting an example.

Photo Credit: Matthew Schneider

As the CEO of a financial technology company, I know that holding a
leadership position has both responsibility and accountability, so it's
important to lead in the same manner in which you expect your peers or subordinates to act. The example you set will influence the behavior of those around you. This can be daunting at first, but it separates the good from the great and truly demonstrates your ownership of the position.

Thanks to Matthew Schneider, e-States!

#2- Empowering the team

Photo Credit: Max Whiteside

A CEO has two key responsibilities: team building and team empowerment. To establish a team, the CEO must constantly consider the positions that need to be filled and seek candidates that possess the necessary skills, experience, and cultural fit for the firm. After assembling a team, delegate authority and step aside. Ensure that the team gets the required training, resources, and direction, but then give them the freedom to carry out the vision.

Thanks to Max Whiteside, Breaking muscle!

#3- Being a catalyst

Photo Credit: Larissa Pickens

The most important part of being a CEO  for me is helping my employees achieve their long-term goals and dreams. I believe that it’s my duty to honor their individual journeys and find ways to make the job mutually beneficial to them. By identifying and working in alignment with their individual goals, I am able to maintain steady productivity levels and low absenteeism and also keep employee morale and satisfaction at an all-time high.

Thanks to Larissa Pickens, Repeat Replay!

#4- Have the courage to take risks

Photo Credit: Jared Floyd

As a CEO or business owner, you will have to make tough decisions, take on risks, and be willing to take a few losses along the way. You get to be the one to create something that might not have existed before or to make something better. The key thing to remember is the willingness to keep going even when the going gets tough. It also means having a vision and the confidence to make it happen.

Thanks to Jared Floyd, Ajax Creative!

#5- Innovative thinkers

Photo Credit: Guna Kakulapati

Business leaders are innovative thinkers and problem solvers to survive and overcome competition. Market disruption brings the added value to consumers that they crave and helps businesses stand out in their industries. We embraced customer-focused technological innovation when few other companies knew how or had the means.

Thanks to Guna Kakulapati, Cure Skin!

#6- Being a visionary leader

Photo Credit: Kurt Uhlir

Being a CEO means taking on the responsibility for making decisions. It is about being a visionary leader, instilling trust in employees, and constantly striving for improvement and success. As a CEO I am responsible for leading my team toward achieving our established goals while also cultivating relationships with stakeholders, partners, and other influential members.

Thanks to Kurt Uhlir, Kurt Uhlir

#7- Having an entrepreneurial mindset

Photo Credit: Layla Acharya

Being a CEO means being at the forefront of innovation and creating something that adds value to people’s lives. It means having the drive and ambition to create something from nothing and turn it into a successful venture. A CEO must have an entrepreneurial mindset—the courage to pursue their goals regardless of obstacles—and understand how best to utilize available resources such as capital investment, human resources, etc.

Thanks to Layla Acharya, Edwize!

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#8- Setting the vision

Photo Credit: Karl Robinson

Being a CEO means setting the vision for your company. It’s important to have a clear idea of where you want your organization to be in 5-10 years' time, or even longer so that every decision taken today makes sense. As CEO, I also ensure that everyone who’s working for or with me understands the vision I have set. Having an inspiring and meaningful vision helps to motivate employees and encourages collaboration which is crucial for success.

Thanks to Karl Robinson, Logicata!

#9- Multi-talented

Photo Credit: Megan Mbengue

CEOs are responsible for strategic planning and decision-making. An effective CEO requires a well-developed set of skills to succeed. This includes a combination of hard skills and soft skills and both general and industry-specific talents. Common traits of successful CEOs include leadership, industry expertise, communication, data analysis, problem solver, and charismatic.

Thanks to Megan Mbengue, Trusted Canna Nurse!

#10- Having a vision and a plan

Photo Credit: Jensen Lee

Before you can even think about running a business, you need to have a plan that outlines your goals and objectives, and a mission statement that aligns with your values and what you stand for. It’s about having a clear vision and commitment to success, as well as the ability to inspire and motivate a team. Being a CEO is a demanding and rewarding role.

Thanks to Jensen Lee, Bidets PLUS, LLC!

#11- Having an unwavering passion

Photo Credit: Walid Hajj

To be successful as a CEO one must have the ability to see beyond the current scenario and envision the future. They must also have the willingness to take risks and learn from their mistakes. To make it as a CEO, entrepreneur, or business owner requires having an unwavering passion and believing in themselves. Be able to think outside of the box and be open to learning new things.

Thanks Walid Hajj, On The Move Canada!

#12- Believing in yourself

Photo Credit: Yatrik Naik

Being an entrepreneur means being willing to take risks. It means having a vision and being able to see the future that your company will create, even when other people don't see it. Never give up on your dreams. But most of all, being an entrepreneur means believing in yourself. In your own ability to make things happen, to create change in the world, and to make money doing so—even if there are a million reasons why you shouldn't.

Thanks to Yatrik Naik BabyHood!

#13-Being an Empathetic leader

Photo Credit: Adit Jain

For me, being a CEO means two things: 1) Having a high-growth mindset and 2) showing empathy. The world now needs compassionate leaders who can drive growth. The first point encapsulates everything a CEO has to possess for achieving sustainable growth – decision-making skills, resilience, adaptability, etc. On the other hand, empathy is something that all leaders must definitely cultivate because it makes all their actions more humane.

Thank you Adit Jain,!

#14- Being a leader

Photo Credit: Deborah Sweeney

I'm a business owner who believes being a CEO affords entrepreneurs the chance to become the master of their own destinies. Running a business offers many learning experiences, especially when you manage a team of employees. Seize the chance to evolve your leadership style! Leadership is a skill that can be honed and improved upon. Make sure you are present and engaging. Be a leader where the team moves in the same direction toward success

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation!

#15- Being transparent to your community

Photo Credit: Will Yang

Personally, being a business owner means I get to influence my stakeholders such as my employees, clients, and the industry I’m a part of. Having said that, I believe more business owners should consider the social impact they have. It's a far better approach than solely focusing on profit. As a CEO, if you want to inspire entrepreneurs, you yourself should be transparent and accountable for the influence you have on your community.

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Thanks to Will Yang, Instrumentl!

#16- Setting up goals & strategies

Photo Credit: Marissa Johnson

Being a CEO means being responsible for setting the overall strategy and the direction of the company, creating an organizational culture that encourages and rewards success, and ensuring that the company meets its financial and operational goals. Being a CEO means that you have the privilege of leading an organization to success and making a meaningful contribution to the world.

Thanks to Marissa Johnson, Inflatable Blast!

#17- Having a Commitment and Dedication

Photo Credit: Dr. Dev Batra

Being a CEO means having a commitment and dedication to your work and to the success of your venture. It requires a great deal of hard work, passion, and discipline. This includes decisions relating to the growth of the company, the hiring and firing of employees, the development of products and services, and the overall financial performance of the business.

Thanks to Dr. Dev Batra, Dallas Vein Institute!

#18- Constantly self-improving

Photo Credit: Tommy Gallagher

Being a CEO means pushing the boundaries of what is possible and taking on the responsibility of leading a team to success. It is a chance to prove as a leader, to make a real difference, and to show that you can use whatever resources you have to make a lasting impact. Being a CEO involves taking risks, constant self-improvement, and making challenging but rewarding decisions.

Thanks to Tommy Gallagher, Top Mobile Banks!

#19- Being a professional parent

Photo Credit: Sheila Stafford

Being comfortable in my own skin and letting my professional intuition lead my team and me to success are the keys to holding this office for me. It involves remaining upbeat while failing in order to prevent others from becoming disheartened by witnessing their leader lose hope. Being a CEO entails serving as the ‘professional parent' to all employees who look to me for guidance. It comes down to having the perfect balance of authority and kindness.

Thanks to Sheila Stafford, Team Sense!

#20-Being authentic

Photo Credit: Brian Dechesare

Being a CEO means showing up authentically every single day – especially the difficult ones. The CEO sets the tone for the entire company. Leadership isn’t about presenting the perfect image all the time, which will only breed unrealistic expectations and perfectionist tendencies in your team. Instead, it’s about acknowledging and embracing imperfections and transparent communications around issues. Authenticity is the only way to deep, lasting, collaborative relationships with your team.

Thanks to Brian Dechesare, Breaking Into Wall Street!

#21- Being ambitious

Photo Credit: Deniz Efe

Being a CEO, entrepreneur, or business owner means having the drive and ambition to succeed. It means being able to think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas. It means having the tenacity to see those ideas through, no matter what obstacles stand in your way. And most importantly, it means taking responsibility for your actions and for the success or failure of your company.

Thanks to Deniz Efe, Fitness Equipped!

#22- Accepting failures

Photo Credit: Nick Oberheiden

Being an entrepreneur means being open to failure, yet maintaining a strong resolve. Any good businessperson knows not to frown upon defeat, but rather use it as fuel and valuable learning lessons. An essential aspect of being an entrepreneur is to take the experience of setbacks to work harder to achieve the next goal. Failing with an open mind allows you to obtain valuable information that can be used to devise new strategies.

Thanks to Nick Oberheiden, Oberheiden P.C.!

#23- Leading by example

Photo Credit: E L Forestal

Being a CEO means developing innovative ideas and strategies to achieve success. It involves taking calculated risks, making sound decisions, utilizing resources strategically, and inspiring others. It also entails setting personal goals for yourself that can be achieved through hard work and dedication. Ultimately, it’s about leading by example and setting an example for others to follow.

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Thanks to E. L. Forestal, Find Black Therapist!

#24-  Ambassadors of organizational culture

Photo Credit: Ben Miller

CEOs are ambassadors of organizational culture. They infuse in their people the customs, values, and beliefs of their organizational culture that help sustain the business by creating differentials to achieve the business goals. They have the power to influence the behavior of employees so that they deliver and put in their best efforts to generate the desired results.

Thanks to Ben Miller, Focus On Digital!

#25- Driving force behind the success

Photo Credit: Corey Tyner

To me, being a CEO means being a visionary and leader. It means being at the forefront of decision-making. It also means having the ability to inspire and motivate others, as well as being able to navigate complex business challenges and make tough decisions. Ultimately, being a CEO means being the driving force behind the success of a company and its ability to achieve its goals.

Thanks to Corey Tyner, Buy Yo Dirt!

#26- Creating solutions

Photo Credit: Andrew Chen

Being an entrepreneur means creating solutions. Entrepreneurs create meaningful and innovative solutions to drive success and continuous growth. Every decision they make is clear, concrete, and made with confidence. Additionally, entrepreneurs are resourceful, flexible, and adaptable; if they don’t have an answer or resource needed to accomplish their goals, they are great at finding the necessary resources to do so.

Thanks to Andrew Chen, Videeo!

#27- Shaping perspectives

Photo Credit: Cody Candee

To me, being a CEO means building loyalty and shaping perspectives. Being a CEO gives me the valued opportunity to influence legions of people and businesses alike. I’m driven by the idea of establishing a brand forged by innovation, creation, and passion. Every relationship made, transaction completed, and goal achieved is an invaluable building block toward satisfying this desire.

Thanks to Cody Candee, Bounce!

#28- Building relationships

Photo Credit: Joshua Rich

I think a CEO should be someone who balances their money-making ambitions with providing value and making an impact as well. This not only means providing value through their product and/or service but also by the relationships they have with all their stakeholders. This is what it means to truly lead by example as a business owner. They should be empathetic and compassionate, not let the capitalist side of them override their human side.

Thanks to Joshua Rich, Bullseye Locations!

#29- Making a positive impact

Photo Credit: Rhys Charles

Being a CEO to me means having a clear vision for the future and being able to inspire others to achieve that vision. It means being a strong leader who can make tough decisions and rally people around a common cause. It also means being able to build and scale a successful business. To me, being a CEO is about making a positive impact in the world and leaving a lasting legacy.

Thanks to Rhys Charles, Mower on the lawn!

#30- Being accountable

Photo Credit: Will Ward

Entrepreneurs are accountable for everything that goes on within their company and should be always looking out for their own. They accept responsibility from investors, partners, customers, and their employees. The influence and decision-making power of a CEO within a company should always be balanced out with this idea of ultimate accountability.

Thanks Will Ward, Industry Arabic!

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.

Ashok - 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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