From an Entrepreneur to an Entrepreneur CEO

Article by:
Lee Froschheiser, EO Affiliate
Lee Froschheiser
EO Affiliate

Lee Froschheiser is President and CEO of Management Action Programs (MAP), which offers business management consulting and executive development to the world’s top organizations, including several EO member companies. Lee is the co-author of MAP’s bestselling book, “Vital Factors– The Secret To Transforming Your Business and Your Life.” Contact Lee at mapmarketing@mapconsulting.com.

I love working with EO entrepreneurs. They possess unlimited energy and passion about their businesses. They are smart, bright and have that entrepreneurial spirit that allows them to take a business idea and make good things happen. Michael Caito of EO Orange County is a perfect example of what an EO entrepreneur is all about. His enthusiasm for his business positively transforms the people around him.

Michael, his brother Anthony and friend Matt Martha started a business delivering quality meals from local restaurants to homes and businesses. They loved the idea– all three of them readily jumped into the business with both feet. As a result of their efforts, the business took off. They went from having maybe 110 square feet of office space to distribution in major cities in Southern California and eventually San Francisco and Las Vegas, as well.

Most entrepreneurs, including Michael, are keenly aware that growth brings new challenges. Sales and profits started to flatten. The company lacked an effective management system to support long-term success. There was a lack of accountability for results, and Michael and his partners realized they needed to make changes. 

Michael began to work with our firm, and I became his business coach. I realized that Michael was that natural-born entrepreneurial leader that just needed the right recipe of solid business fundamentals to be successful. He wasn’t having much fun with the business while trying to keep his grasp on every little detail– he needed to make the important shift from Entrepreneur to Entrepreneur CEO. Through three fundamental areas, Michael began the journey of transformation.

BECOMING AN EMPOWERING LEADER

Oftentimes entrepreneurs have their company’s vision and mission in their head, but they don’t articulate it to their people. Michael involved his team in creating a common vision, mission and values. These steps supported transforming Michael’s company from an entrepreneur free-spirit organization to an organization that maintains that entrepreneurial vision through strong guiding principles. The bottom line: Michael has created an empowered team through this process.

FOCUSING ON THE VITAL FEW

Entrepreneurs have a tendency to create what I call the “flavor of the month” company mentality. They change direction so frequently, their employees don’t understand where they’re going. Michael realized he needed to focus on the vital few and ignore the trivial many. MAP’s mantra is “What gets measured, gets done,” so I worked with Michael to develop his company “Vital Factors.” Vital Factors are those critical business measures that drive achievement of your strategies, goals and ultimately your vision.

ACCOUNTABILITY

I have met many entrepreneurs who seem to be the only person in their company accountable to the bottom line. To be a successful entrepreneur in the long run, accountability needs to be cascaded down throughout the organization. I worked with Michael to implement Vital Factor Teams whereby each employee develops goals aligned with the company’s Vital Factors. This process established accountability and, as Michael soon realized, created passion about the business from his employees because they were more engaged in the success of the business.

As a result of transforming from an Entrepreneur to an Entrepreneur CEO, Michael has seen his profits climb 500%. But being an Entrepreneur CEO is not a matter of a little fix here, a little fix there. In Michael’s own words, “It’s a whole way of running your company, a whole way of doing business.”

THREE KEYS TO TRANSFORMING FROM AN ENTREPRENEUR TO AN ENTREPRENEUR CEO:

  • Become an empowering leader. Align your organization with your vision, mission and values and involve your employees in the process.

  • Focus on the vital few by developing the Vital Factors for your organization. Align employee goals to your Vital Factors to create powerful focus.

  • Establish accountability by pushing it down through your organization and holding people accountable.

Accountability is about measuring performance and taking appropriate action.


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