Becoming business leaders in CEO Now

CEO Now facilitator reflects on business owners going from reactive to proactive

Business owners often find themselves with multiple roles and constantly playing catch up.

CEO Now, a cohort-based executive education program for growth-oriented business owners, was designed to train founders to build and strengthen systems to get ahead and keep growing. That’s something few small business owners have time to do on their own.

“The biggest benefit is the fact that they're finally engaging with stuff they have probably been running from for the entirety of their business,” said Dr. Stephen Crawford, executive coach and CEO Now facilitator. “Everybody is so busy being stuck behind the eight-ball; trying to make payroll, trying to keep cash flow, trying to stay alert. They're always chasing things. CEO Now gives them the ability to gain control and begin to look at things from a leader's perspective.”

Crawford said he sees business owners undergo a major perspective shift during their participation in CEO NOW as they build a three-year strategic plan to take their businesses to the next level.

He said many cohort members are entrepreneurial technicians, i.e., the people doing the work and running the business between all the work. As the amount of work grows, the time to develop the business often shrinks. When that happens, a lot of things can get overlooked.

“It’s the marketing, it's the sales, it's the culture and leadership, it's the hiring and recruiting,” said Crawford. “There's so much that can get forgotten.”

From across industries like healthcare, retail, manufacturing, foodservice, each CEO Now cohort member has some business challenge to work through. Crawford said he sees a lot of ‘a-ha’ moments through coursework and in guest speaking sessions.

He called out one of many speakers, Elevate Hennepin advisor Tammy Dahlvang, a financial advisor and business strategist from WomenVenture.She taught a recent CEO NOW cohort best practices around banking and how to set up a more sophisticated financial system built for growth. He said those insights were transformative for many cohort members.

As for the peer support, Crawford said t has been incredible to see a network of business owners and founders come together to generate ideas with fresh eyes, support each other, and become a trusted group of advisors for the long term.

“There is a significant amount of support that they're getting from one another,” said Crawford. “Some of them that have really built strong groups.”

To join the next group of business leaders in CEO Now learn more and join the waiting list for the next cohort..

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