27 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- Leadership philosophy

Photo Credit: Pete Chatfield

While I may hold the title of chief executive officer, that doesn't mean I treat my subordinates like employees. What being CEO means to me is the opportunity to live the life of a leader and serve as an inspiration to those who work for me. As much as possible, I model my actions on how I'd like to see my direct reports and teams carry themselves in similar situations. I insist that they follow my lead because I think that in order to be an effective leader, one must first be an effective follower.  I'm known for the high standards I set for myself and my teams.

Thanks to Pete Chatfield, Household Money Saving!

#2- Constantly self-improving

Photo Credit: Lena Grundhoefer

Being a CEO means staying at the forefront of a lot of innovation. I constantly push my team to stay ahead of the curve so we are providing clients with actionable insights from the front of the pack. That means I have to be constantly on the go and am often attending major events. I sometimes give presentations, and it can be nerve-wracking. But I also know that I am the one setting the example for our employees. Our team has grown so much over the past year that it keeps me on my toes knowing I'm not just working for myself-I'm also working for everybody else on my team.

Thanks to Lena Grundhoefer, ZEITG3IST!

#3- Setting up goals and strategies

Photo Credit: Aaron Barsalou

To me, being the CEO of your own company entails defining what your position will be, setting the strategic direction for your organization, hiring staff members, and assigning them tasks. You shouldn't be the CEO of your company doing everything yourself. Being the CEO, in my opinion, entails being the leader in the overall scheme of things. The tone of the business is being set by you. You are making sure that you are setting a good example and that you are adhering to the policies established by the business. You are the one in charge of the general health and well-being of the company.

Thanks to Aaron Barsalou, Psyclarity Health!

#4- An integral position

Photo Credit: Ryan Rottman

Being a CEO is many things but most of all it is about looking for ways to ensure a result and that is why being the person responsible for finding the best ways to harness the talent of my team is what it means to me. A good CEO recognizes that their job is not to be the star but rather to find them and utilize those individuals to both the business’s and their advantage. A CEO should have the self-awareness to know their strengths, and the humility to recognize their weaknesses. Being a CEO means having the wherewithal to support when needed and to get out of the way when others can do it better.

Thanks to Ryan Rottman, OSDB Sports!

#5- Youth visionary

Photo Credit: Estella Struck

Being the CEO of Viviene New York, as a 21-year-old woman, means assuming a role as a youth visionary. In addition to the responsibilities of a typical CEO such as leading a team, CEOs like me are challenged by being the first in their industries. To me, taking on a significant leadership role in the fight against climate change is no easy task. Being a young female CEO in the climate space can also mean breaking barriers. It can mean being a role model for other young women and inspiring them.

Thanks to Estella Struck, Viviene New York!

#6- Shareholder priority

Photo Credit: Jonathan Rogers

As CEO, I have come to accept that it is my responsibility to make tough calls, regardless of how they are received. You, as CEO, have access to information that others do not and should not have. Leading others towards a common objective is a challenging but ultimately rewarding occupation. Keeping shareholders happy is my top priority as CEO. As I am the sole shareholder, it is in my best interest to ensure that I am able to live comfortably. Working in a profitable and expanding company is how I like to spend my time. This is not everyone's focus as CEO, but it is mine.

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Thanks to Jonathan Rogers, Credexel!

#7-  Thriving on challenges

Photo Credit: Anjela Mangrum

Being a CEO or business owner means thriving on the daily challenges that come your way and facing them head-on. From strategizing business expansion and driving profitability to delegate authority to the company's workforce, we have an ever-expanding to-do list. Making tough decisions and having difficult conversations are common in our daily lives. I've seen successful CEOs get motivation from completing a hard task, which makes them ready to overcome the next hurdle. I think this is the best mindset for long-term productivity.

Thanks to Anjela Mangrum, Mangrum Career Solutions!

#8- Visionary leader

Photo Credit: Maria Harutyunyan

Being a CEO is more than just a title or a job. To me, being a CEO means embodying the qualities of a visionary leader, capable of seeing beyond the present moment and into the future and driven by a burning desire to achieve great things. And as a visionary leader, I am keen on to inspire and motivate my team to reach heights that they may not have thought possible. This requires a great deal of emotional intelligence. By recognizing what motivates each team member, I've created an environment that fosters creativity, collaboration, and innovation.

Thanks to Maria Harutyunyan, Loopex Digital!

#9- Driving innovation

Photo Credit: Rahul Vij

As the CEO of a digital marketing agency, being a leader means being a visionary, a strategist, and a catalyst for growth. It means driving the company towards innovation and constantly seeking new ways to add value to our clients. It also means building strong relationships with our clients and employees and fostering a culture of collaboration. At the end of the day, being a CEO is not just about running a successful business, but about making a meaningful impact on the world by helping our clients.

Thanks to Rahul Vij, Webspero Solutions!

#10- Team trust

Photo Credit: Naheed Mir

Being the CEO of my company means having the trust of my team to make critical decisions in what direction the business needs to go in order to succeed. It is up to me as CEO to identify problems and develop solutions quickly yet thoughtfully. Being a CEO takes great leadership skills and resilience, but for me, I am passionate about investing in other women entrepreneurs as well as trusting my team. It is incredibly satisfying when coming together as a unit we are able to achieve our collective goals.

Thanks to Naheed Mir, RugKnots!

#11- Peak at experimenting

Photo Credit: Erin LaCkore

As a CEO, we generally have to conduct frequent company experiments. Starting from new strategies to monitoring the critical metrics for the company's growth. Our business has many areas where we regularly optimize and experiment with innovative tactics. This is because there are never any pre-defined rules for running a business. Every business requires a separate set of demands and strategies. Hence, we take calculated risks when we gather to expand our horizons.

Thanks to Erin LaCkore, LaCkore Couture!

#12- Creating impact

Photo Credit: Nick Allen

The insatiable desire to provide value to the world is what it means to be a CEO. CEOs are fueled by the responsibility and challenge of offering solutions to problems. They are driven by the opportunity to influence legions of people and solidify their value to their respective industries. Being a CEO means establishing a brand forged by innovation and passion. Every relationship made and goal achieved is an invaluable building block toward satisfying this desire, it is an everlasting process that CEOs do not take lightly.

Thanks to Nick Allen, SportsLingo!

#13- Visionary accountability

Photo Credit: Muhammad Waqar

Being the CEO demands to be a visionary leader who is responsible for setting the direction, culture, and strategy of the company. It also requires accountability for the success or failure of the business, making difficult decisions, managing risks, and ensuring the well-being of the employees and stakeholders. This position certainly needs a deep passion for the business and a willingness to work hard and constantly innovate to stay ahead of the competition. It is a challenging but fulfilling role that requires a combination of strategic thinking, leadership skills, and operational expertise.

See also  20 Entrepreneurs Explain What Being A CEO Means To Them

Thanks to Muhammad Waqar, Build Pakistan!

#14- Ultimate freedom with responsibility

Photo Credit: Joachim Hansen

As both business owner and CEO of our family business, I feel deeply responsible for the well-being and future stability of our company as a whole. Every work decision must be for the benefit of the business and every decision or action taken by employees will ultimately reflect on me. At the same time, as CEO of my own company, I can enjoy some freedoms I would not be able to if I were employed myself, especially regarding the use of my time. So there is both a sense of duty and enjoyment.

Thanks to Joachim Hansen, Qualiteam!

#15- Integrity and guidance

Photo Credit: Mark Sadaka

To me, being a CEO goes beyond simply generating profits or increasing revenues. Despite the fact that monetary gains and losses are an inherent part of business, I believe that a company's integrity should never be compromised. For me, being a CEO means safeguarding my company's interests while building strong and supportive relationships with my employees. As someone who has not had the benefit of mentorship in the past, I am grateful for the opportunity to guide my team members.

Thanks to Mark Sadaka, Sadaka Law!

#16- Continuous improvement

Photo Credit: Jordan Adair

To me, being a CEO means constantly learning and improving. I view myself as a leader and want to ensure I am leading with knowledge and skill. I try to continue to learn new things and improve my business techniques so that I can better aid my teams. I also am always asking for feedback from my employees to help me improve. I see myself as a member of the team, I always want to make sure I include other opinions in my decisions because I do not know everything, and others may have better ideas than me.

Thanks to Jordan Adair, ShirtMax!

#17- Always stepping up

Photo Credit: Patrick Cohen

Being a CEO means I do not have the time or the luxury to slack off. It means I have to always be on top of my game, or I might lose opportunities that may never present themselves again. More than that, being a CEO means I have a big responsibility on my shoulders, as I am accountable not only for myself but for the whole company and its employees as well. Ultimately, being in this position gives me a chance to change my life and the life of others daily.

Thanks to Patrick Cohen,!

#18- Seizing opportunities

Photo Credit: Luke Fitzpatrick

Being a CEO is truly the opportunity of a lifetime. For me, it's a chance to take control of my own destiny and make an impact on the world. I am fortunate enough to have all of the resources at my disposal and the power to bring innovative ideas to life. To be successful in this role, I must be passionate about what I do, stay ahead of industry trends, think strategically about how best to serve both customers and shareholders, and create a culture where people are encouraged and supported in their efforts.

Thanks to Luke Fitzpatrick, Drsono!

#19- Visionary leadership

Photo Credit: Mark Timmons

To me, the title of CEO represents an opportunity to have a great impact and build something meaningful. It means taking the initiative to create something from nothing, utilizing all the tools and resources at my disposal. It is having a vision for success with a plan to achieve it. To me, being a CEO means seeing challenges as opportunities and knowing that I can call upon others who share in my vision to see them through. It also
entails deep reflection on the people, processes, environment, and technology I use to build a successful business.

Thanks to Mark Timmons, Aqua Judge!

#20- Freedom

Photo Credit: Alesha Brown

Being a CEO to me means freedom. I have the freedom to pursue my passion, charge my worth and value, create multiple streams of income, and make a positive impact on the world through what we do. I also take pride in being able to employ talent and impact their financial wealth and their families. Although the freedom of being a CEO comes with great responsibility, it is an invaluable privilege that I honor versus my former life as a corporate employee.

See also  25 Entrepreneurs Share Their CEO Nugget

Thanks to Alesha Brown, Fruition Publishing Concierge Service!

#21- To make an impact

Photo Credit: Justin

Being a CEO means making an impact. We spend more waking hours in the office than we do at home. Employees who are growing, fulfilled, and well-compensated contribute to happier families and communities. Because of this, we pay above-market salaries, provide unlimited time off, and use salary transparency to make sure everyone is treated equitably. We also donate 1.5% of our revenue to charity each month – the more money we make, the bigger impact we have.

Thanks to Justin Nassiri, Executive Presence!

#22- Leading and making decisions

Photo Credit: Khamis Maiouf

Being a CEO means that I have the privilege of leading a team and an organization and making decisions that will shape its future. It’s a responsibility that I take very seriously. On a day-to-day basis, I focus on creating an environment where my team can grow and develop, and I strive to provide the resources, knowledge, and tools they need to succeed. My ultimate goal is to ensure that our company has the best opportunities to achieve its business objectives and make sure that our customers are satisfied.

Thanks to Khamis Maiouf, Book of Barbering!

#23- Cultural leadership

Photo Credit: Nadir Marcos

To me, being a CEO is about tone-setting for the entire company. Apart from leading the company through operations and growth strategies, the CEO is responsible for setting the tone of the organization. The tone is about how potential customers and the general public view your company, but also how the organization's culture can be defined. As the CEO, I am in a unique position to be able to encourage a culture of care and high-quality work that affects how our company is seen. Being able to directly impact people's lives, through internal and external strategies is an incredible position to be in.

Thanks to Nadir Marcos, PlanHub!

#24- Dream pursuit

Photo Credit: Nikola Baldikov

To me being a CEO means being able to pursue my dream. It means being able to create a business around the one thing I am passionate about the most and putting together an amazing team to help that business grow. It means waking up every day with new challenges to overcome and new horizons to pursue. It’s a position that brings an immense amount of pressure and responsibility, and yet, also a lot of joy.

Thanks to Nikola Baldikov, InBound Blogging!

#25- leading from the front

Photo Credit: Doug Van Soest

For me, being a CEO means providing the best service and leading from the front. Having the vision and leadership skills to guide my business through both good times and bad, making tough decisions, managing risks, and navigating complex challenges. I also believe in building and maintaining strong relationships with employees, customers, investors, and other stakeholders, as well as staying current with industry trends and adapting to changing market conditions.

Thanks to Doug Van Soest, SoCal Home Buyers!

#26- Responsible leader

Photo Credit: Ringo Li

Being a CEO to me means having the responsibility of leading a company or organization. It means having the power to make strategic decisions that affect the future of the organization and its employees. It also means having the ability to inspire, motivate, and guide those who work with you. From setting the company vision to implementing successful strategies, the CEO is the face of the organization. Being a CEO is an incredibly rewarding experience that requires determination and dedication.

Thanks to Ringo Li, RingoLi!

#27- Reimagining leadership

Photo Credit: Joseph Hill

Being a CEO means so much more to me than simply running a profitable business. It means creating a culture of growth, learning, and empowerment, where everyone on the team is encouraged to reach their full potential. It's about embodying the values and principles that I want my team to follow and leading by example as a servant leader. Being a CEO is not just a job title for me; it's a way of life.

Thanks to Joseph Hill, Classy Women Collection!

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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