What Keeps You Up At Night?

By Generational Equity


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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