If you own your own business, you have the weight of a huge responsibility on your shoulders on a daily basis.
Although entrepreneurs have a reputation as serial risk-takers (and they certainly have to be to even contemplate starting their own company), the reality is that as any organization grows and the growth is sustained through time, the “fears” of a typical CEO increase as well.
Recently our friends with Vistage released a very interesting piece on this topic. Vistage is the world’s largest CEO coaching and peer advisory organization and have been researching and documenting business owner behaviors for years, and are experts on what keeps CEOs awake in the wee hours of the morning.
The article, entitled “The 6 biggest fears of any CEO”, is a great analysis of the common fears most CEOs face. All six are quite telling and ultimately lead to the biggest common fear, which is simply the fear of failing. However, the one that caught my eye was the one that we all experienced in 2009 during the Great Recession and most recently in 2020 with the Pandemic impacting so many businesses: The fear of risk and a bad economy.
I think this one is the most troubling because on the macro-economic level, "stuff" happens that can impact business owners that they have very little control over. This is how the Vistage team summed this fear up:
A bad economy can destroy the best companies. Even Amazon almost went out of business as the dot-com bubble burst. CEOs know this well. According to the February 2021 WSJ/Vistage Small Business CEO survey, 76% of CEOs said that they were very or extremely concerned about the national economy. Two-thirds reported the same level of concern for their local economy.
Now the flip side to this, and what amazed us last year about so many of our clients, was how resilient many were in adapting, innovating, and simply overcoming the negative consequences of the Pandemic in 2020. So even though the fear of the unknown was very real, many of our clients recovered quickly because they used that fear to come up with new ways of doing business.
In our Growth and Exit Planning Conferences, we spend a great deal of time talking about the importance of intentional growth and why in every businesses' life cycle there comes a point where if you stagnate, if the business has plateaued and is possibly even shrinking, that it is vital to come up with tactical and strategic plans to re-invigorate the entire organization.
Our team with Generational Consulting Group (GCG) has proven to be quite successful in doing this for lots of our clients. Here is what a few of them have to say about this guidance:
So as you have heard, the fear of failing can not only be overcome, but it can be significantly reduced by having our growth consultants work with you and your team to develop and implement tactical and strategic growth plans that really work. Use the following links to learn more about how we can help you get back to sleep at night!
Carl Doerksen is the Director of Corporate Development at Generational Equity.
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The process was much more involved than I expected and your help, experience and advice was a big factor in making the negotiations go as smoothly as possible.Terry D. Wickman, President, Keytroller
Generational Equity educated and informed us – so that we could be on the upside of a good decision (to sell).Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
T.D., thank you so much! You are a great leader! I love how you are using your gifts and talents to better others. You are clearly a GREAT COACH! This 3 day session undoubtedly changed the future of our business, and very well may have been the sole catalyst to save my company, my health and my marriage! A genuine “thank you” from the bottom of my heart.Bryan D. Horn, Owner, Over Under Clothing
Tom Staszak is one of the most professional people I have dealt with in my last forty years of business. You’ve got a great group of people and you have built a truly professional organization.Michael J Polarek, President, Paragon Packaging
We thank you Eric and Generational Equity making our dream come true.Larry Moore, Owner, A Company Portable Restrooms
We will highly recommend Generational Equity and Musa Jagne to any business owner about to embark on the same process.Karen S. Williams, CFO, BW Manufacturing
I quickly recognized that Don was working for Sharpe Mixers above all else, and held our interests above others.Jay Dinnison, Owner of Sharpe Mixers
Your wisdom and experience were invaluable to me during this once-in-a-lifetime transaction.Ralph Noblin, President of Noblin & Associates
We are extremely pleased with the way Generational Equity handled the sale of our company. Your associates, Tom and Chris, did an outstanding job of getting us (me) through the process.Michael J Polarek, President, Paragon Packaging
I need to say an immense thank you to Don Ho for his stellar work ethic, attention to detail, and tireless effort. Also thank you to the whole crew at GE! Without you, Don could not do such a phenomenal job. We were shooting for closing and funding before the end of 2020, due to the uncertainty of the political landscape and taxes. I am happy to report we closed last week and will be funding tomorrow.Dr. Caty J. Catron PhD, RN, VA-BC – Owner, Vic The Picc, LLC
I am pleased that I was able to work with Andrew Byrd throughout this experience. From the first meeting we had in Minneapolis I felt that I was in good hands. His knowledge and expertise is second to none. He guided the process consistently throughout. I feel lucky that I was pared with Andrew and could not be happier that I chose Generational Equity to handle this major life event. Thank you Andrew and GenEq for everything!Eric Erlandson, Owner, Action Fastenings, Inc.
Thanks again Phil and feel free to have a future client call me if they would like a referral. You are a true professional!Andy Graham, Vice President, Modern Heating & Plumbing
I couldn’t have asked for a better team than Michael and Deborah. We couldn’t have done it without them.Robert Evans, President and CEO of Mealtracker Dietary Software
We are very happy with the end result, and are very happy to be able to move forward with all of our future growth plans.Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
Generational Equity’s assistance was invaluable in compiling and marketing our business.Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
Dear Chris and Andre, I just wanted to say thanks for all your help. Even though this process was not an easy one, it was comforting to know that I had a capable team standing beside me. You made me feel like we were almost your only client or at least the most important one. Thanks again, and I will recommend your service in the future.Shenille Engelhart, Owner – CLS Technology
The help you provided us during each step of this process made us feel very comfortable and confident we were selecting the right approach to transition our Company.Andy Graham, Vice President, Modern Heating & Plumbing
We were happy to see the interest in our company and what we cherished has not just a valuable company but an important company to the communities we served in.Larry Moore, Owner, A Company Portable Restrooms
Bruce and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Generational Equity for assigning Musa Jagne to our transaction. In Bruce’s words, “Musa did one hell of a job for us!”Karen S. Williams, CFO, BW Manufacturing
Michael worked tirelessly, He followed every lead meticulously and urgently to make sure nothing was missed.Robert Evans, President and CEO of Mealtracker Dietary Software
Greetings Mike. Thank you for the captivating and compelling presentation you made at the Phoenix presentation last week. Over many years in business yours was the most informative and well-presented presentation, on any subject, that I have ever attended! Your energy and enthusiasm combined with your concise and captivating support of your positions with easily understood examples and data was compelling.Pete L.
Thank you again for all your guidance and support. Any company will achieve what they intend, if they have you on their team!Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
I must say that I have never worked with a more driven, competent and focused individual as Don Ho.Jay Dinnison, Owner of Sharpe Mixers
I wanted to write you a quick letter to express our appreciation and our delight on the outcome of helping us through the process of our recent sale. We are very happy with the end result, and are very happy to be able to move forward with all of our future growth plans.Terry D. Wickman, President, Keytroller
I would like to thank you and your firm, Generational Equity, for being our valued advisors in our journey.Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
We knew it would be a difficult task to have someone really understand our business and our market, prior to researching a possible buyer, so it was imperative that we found someone of your caliber, with definite proven experience in this area.Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
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