Is this your story?

As a business owner, how often do you wake up in the morning feeling all fired up about going into that organization you put your heart and soul into creating?

I’ll bet it’s not as often as it used to be.

Remember the early days? What a blast!

Scary too, but you were passionate about what you were doing, and could see all your hard work, sweat, tears and financial investments begin to pay off.

Fast forward to now…

You’re still as passionate, but now it’s becoming harder and harder to maintain that growth curve.

And the more you get caught up in the everyday whirlwind of running a business, the more remote those early days feel.

It feels like you’re constantly putting out fires

And the bigger your business gets, the more you are aware that your decisions impact on a whole raft of other people that are relying on you for their mortgage payments.

Working late from home

No-one knows the business quite like you. So you make the excuse that it’s easier to just do a job yourself rather than take the time to explain the task to one of your team.

But this impacts on all the other stuff you have to do…

So you figure that the best way to deal with this is to just work harder. You start taking work home. Working weekends.

Without realizing it, you are disengaging from the people who love you most. 

(Hint: they have noticed, and are not happy…)

You can unlock the secrets to a successful leadership journey


Founder2CEO™ is a unique mentoring program that will help you transform your business and make the transition from Founder to CEO.

This one-of-a-kind program has been 32 years in the making.

It captures everything I’ve learned on my leadership journey – and all the stuff that I’ve seen work for others.

And it has been created for business founders and small business owners everywhere. 

People like you…

The program includes 1-2-1 mentoring sessions, weekly problem-solving calls, and dozens of worksheets and tools covering topics like strategic planning without tears, managing your team more effectively, and how to find your niche so you’re not trying to sell to “everybody”.

All delivered virtually to wherever you happen to be working from, so a minute carbon footprint (yaay for the planet!).

You get to set the pace as well. You can choose whether you want to do the program as a 90 day sprint or a 6 month jog.

And because I’m not a snake-oil salesman, it’s not just about the learning: together we will make sure that Founder2CEO™ stays relevant to your leadership needs as well as making them work in your business. 

“As a mentor, Carri has not only helped me with my confidence but also help me become more literate in understanding what it means to be a business owner. Her business knowledge is second to no one and she is helping me grow every day.”

Abi Adamson, Founder of The Diversity Partnership – International DEIB Consultant to Google, Slack and many more

How Founder2CEO™ got started…

Path through a forest with signposts saying this way or that way at a fork

In the last 6 years, my regular 1-2-1 mentoring sessions with my InfiniteHorizon™ and Growth Circle® clients have been an intensive, in-depth, learning program in the challenges that leaders face as they grow their businesses.

As time goes on I’ve realised that there’s a definite journey that leaders make as they successfully transition from Founder to CEO.

One which requires not only a growth mindset, but the ability to master and apply certain skills and learning along the way.

And the more Founders I work with, the more clear it is that all of them have obstacles in common – the growing pains that every business faces as it moves from kitchen table to Board Room:

  • People
  • Planning
  • Finance
  • Products
  • Markets
  • Sales
  • Customers
  • Reputation
  • Culture

I – and they – learned the hard way that “what got you here won’t get you there”. That there is no wand that you can wave to make growth magically happen.

The truth is: 99.9% of the things that you really need to know to successfully scale your business are not taught in business schools or collected in one easy-to-read book.

But I have identified the “secret sauce” that you need to learn about and implement to make those common growing pains go away. And that the impact of these is much greater if you do them in a certain order.

That’s why I created Founder2CEO™ – so that you can shortcut the 30 years it’s taken me to figure this out. Giving you an edge on the competition without feeling like you’re constantly running in a hamster wheel.

This program is absolutely my calling.

It’s now my mission to share all this learning and the insights I’ve gained over the decades, so over the next 10 years my big audacious goal is to support at least 600 Founders on their journey to CEO.

“I really cannot recommend Carri highly enough. She has taken me and my business to a whole new dimension. She is practical, straight forward, challenging and simply quite lovely. Carri is an outstanding personal coach, leadership coach and business coach. She brings a unique combination of real world experience and professional qualifications and training, together with a focused approach and incredible emotional acumen.”

Kate Cooper-Fay, Founder of CXY Ltd and global go-to guru on Customer Experiences


Do you ever feel that there’s stuff everybody else seems to know about running a business, but you don’t?

I know I did!

Like there was a secret society for other business owners and CEOs – people that I really respected and saw as being super successful. But I couldn’t join it because nobody had given me the special handshake and password…

You know who they are in your world.

They’re the ones that make running and growing a business look effortless. 

And their confidence?  Wow!

But here’s the thing.

As I got to know more of these leaders I admired, I found that probably 90% of them would admit that a lot of the time they’re making like a swan.

Swan on the water

All gliding serenity on the surface, but under the waterline they’re paddling like heck to keep up momentum.

And that deep down, they’ve often been as scared by the challenges they face as you and l.

Because imposter syndrome is more common at the top than you would ever believe.

But what these awesome individuals have in common is that they have been on a journey of leadership transformation over the years.

Their transition from Founder to CEO has not been easy, because transformation never comes from a place of comfort.

But they all figured out that if they were serious about growing the business that they had created and loved, they were going to have to change themselves, as well as the organizational structure and processes.

How do I know this?

Picture of Carri Nicholson - the creator of Founder2CEO™

I’m Carri Nicholson, and my clients call me The Leader Whisperer® (and yes, that is trademarked – because who wouldn’t with a gift like that!)

I’ve worked with close on 1,000 businesses of all shapes and sizes over the last 3 decades: as consultant, advisor or mentor.

Always at C-suite level. Always strategically.

From pre-start, pre-revenue, high-potential tech companies, to service-sector solopreneurs, to multi-national, multi-site, multi-billion-dollar businesses. 

I’ve advised state and national governments in the UK and overseas on everything from small business creation and growth to Inward Investment. 

I set up the first 5 small business centers to train and support entrepreneurs after the fall of the communist regime in Poland. 

You can even ask me sometime about my support role to the Middle East Peace Process in the mid-90s…

I’ve created, facilitated, and mentored CEO mastermind groups which helped their members drive stratospheric growth.

“Carri’s mentoring and coaching has been professionally transformational over the past four years. She has crafted a development agenda within her coaching group to bring in experts to challenge and stretch my capability and thinking. Beyond that, her direct and personal (but fun) coaching helped me maintain momentum as I transitioned from executive roles to entrepreneurship.”

Andy Biggs, Founder, InfoSuperstar – Powerhouse Growth Circle member since 2017

Over my career, I’ve:

  • Become the second generation in an internationally renowned, yet family-owned consultancy practice
  • Been the “hired gun” CEO for someone else’s dream
  • Run the MBA programs at a global top 40 business school
  • Founded businesses of my own (7 to date)
  • Raised millions of dollars in funding for my businesses and for clients
  • Heck, I’ve even worked with royalty to build a philanthropic support program for a joint conservation initiative…

That’s some of the good stuff…

But my journey’s definitely had as many downs as up. I’ve also:

  • Experienced the impact on families when a Founder gets too involved with their business
  • Watched people I admire make a fundamental mess of their business because they got bogged down in operational weeds
  • Seen apparently awesome businesses unable to scale because their Founder didn’t know how to
  • Had to manage the very conflicting expectations of a 52-strong (yep that’s 52) organisation Board
  • Walked away from two roles that I loved because the culture in those organisations had become toxic
  • Closed businesses down because they’ve outlived their “Why”

There’s pretty much nothing I haven’t seen over the years – from the great to the good, to the downright awful (and occasionally illegal!)

And I have the memory of an elephant – coupled with an apparently unique ability to help my clients apply the best practices I’ve seen over the years (and avoid the worst).

But more importantly…

I’ve walked in your shoes, I’ve been that leader, and I really 𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 understand how scary and lonesome that journey can be.

At that time, I would have given pretty much anything to have someone who would walk by my side, and who understood what I was going through – because they’d been there themselves.

Two people walking side by side in a winter landscape
  • Someone I could share my problems with. 
  • Someone who could help me find my own truth, and the right answers for me and my business.
  • Someone who would share their wealth of learning and wisdom with me. 
  • Who would open their networks and help me make the connections that matter.
  • Who would allow me to admit that sometimes it’s ok to not be ok
  • And let me know that asking for help is not a sign of weakness…

Trust me – the decisions I took would have been much easier, and I’d have made them much quicker too. I wouldn’t have spent forever trying to second-guess myself.

And I would have killed for someone to sit down with me and say:

“Y’know what? There’s a different way you can solve this problem.  Alternative routes you can take. Shall we talk about how we can crack this nut together?”

The mentor I wished I’d had…

Does Founder2CEO™ work?

The first Founder2CEO program was tested to destruction over Q4 of 2020 and Q1 of 2021 by the founders and leaders of 45 UK-based small businesses. They worked in 5 mastermind groups, and came from almost every sector you can think of.

They ranged in size from solopreneurs making $75K a year (but with big dreams) to businesses with 200+ employees and over $38M in annual revenue.

Every founder came away with:

  • A renewed sense of purpose and clarity about their business vision and mission
  • A clear strategic plan for the next 3 years, with milestones and OKRs
  • Better self-management: not just in how they use their time, but with the confidence to delegate
  • A far better understanding of team behaviours and communication
  • Resources to help them empower and engage their employees
  • The ability to identify and exploit the very best niche market for their business
  • Their route map to becoming a best-in-class business

“Carri provided me with a voice of reason to help me work through issues around business growth. She uses her experience to ask the right challenging questions of me. This has resulted in me thinking about my approach to business growth and to look at some of the barriers with a new sense of determination.”

Jayne Hart, Owner, The HR Department Newcastle – Founder2CEO™ client

And the program impact?

Every business survived the perfect storm of pandemic plus Brexit

Hand holding mobile phone showing an image of business growth
  • 3 businesses avoided the equivalent of Chapter 11
  • 4 created new business groups – 2 of which are multinational operations
  • A minimum of $20M in additional sales by Q4 2022
  • 100+ new jobs
  • 2 have grown through strategic acquisitions
  • Over $160M being raised in new investment and licensing deals
  • 50% of participants realigned their leadership team
  • 90% of the Founders reclaimed their evenings and weekends
  • 2 said it saved their marriages…

“We, as individual business owners and leaders in our respective areas, will not be the same again. Our outlook, the ideas and not least the vision and belief in ourselves, is now so much greater than it was when we started.”

Mark Duckworth, Owner, Martin & Mortimer Chartered Surveyors – Founder2CEO™ client

What’s included in Founder2CEO™?

Founder2CEO is a best-in-class leadership and business growth mentoring program that puts you and your needs front and center. 

There are six 1-2-1 learning and mentoring sessions covering the following topics:

Backpack with equipment for a journey
  1. Reconnect Your Why – Creating a Mission Driven Organisation
  2. Strategic Planning – X to Y by When
  3. Thief of Time – Take Back Control of Your Life
  4. Dysfunction Kills Businesses – Managing Teams & Behaviours
  5. Inch-wide, Mile Deep – Why Niching Matters
  6. Moving from A to The – Become First in a Class of One

You also get

  • Weekly follow-up “laser coaching” calls to keep you on track
  • Resolution for the biggest challenge you face each week
  • Ongoing email or WhatsApp support
  • An exclusive collection of worksheets and reading that builds into a unique Leadership Toolkit

And there’s more..

Founder2CEO™ Bonuses

  • All the learning resources I’ve created and collected over the last three decades, as and when you need them
  • Access to my quarterly Powerhouse Distilled Wisdom sessions: live learning from the very best subject matter experts
  • The Ultimate Business Book Club – a three year program containing the most impactful business books PLUS structured workbooks to allow you to capture the key takeaways and implement them
  • Membership of Powerhouse Peers, an exclusive community of like-minded Founders and CEOs who are all on the same journey as you

Fortune 500 CEOs pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to big-name business gurus for programs that will add less multiples to their businesses than Founder2CEO™ will to yours.

I’m not Jay Abraham, Jim Collins, or Patrick Lencioni – but I’m a heck of a lot more useful to you on YOUR journey.

And, to date, my clients have found their ROI for Founder2CEO™ is already an average of 20X.

What if I’ve already mastered many of the topics?

If you reckon you already have these topics nailed, there’s another 12 modules that build on this base. We can use these to build you a custom program designed completely around your needs, wishes, and vision.

But if you’re still not sure, why not put me to the test?

Schedule a call with me today.

But will Founder2CEO™ work for ME?

What got you here, won’t get you there

Marshall Goldsmith

I can’t promise miracles – certainly not overnight! Even with my support, it takes time and determination to create transformational changes.

You are going to have to do some heavy lifting. And there will be homework and reading that you will need to complete if you want to maximize the impact of the learning.

What you get out of the Founder2CEO™ program will be in direct relation to the time, thought and effort you put into it. 

If that daunts you, you may not yet be ready to make that transformation.

In other words, I can take you to water, but I can’t make you drink unless you already know you are thirsty…

Some caveats…

I’ve learned the hard way that I shouldn’t work with every Founder who approaches me about Founder2CEO™ support. 

So, I know that for this program to be successful:

  • The personal dynamics have to work, as we’re going to be spending quite a bit of one-on-one quality time together. 
  • We have to share some common values and have a similar ethos
  • I have to be as excited at working with you as you are to work with me.
  • You have to be willing to face hard truths and make changes that might feel uncomfortable at first.
  • You get that while I will be your biggest cheerleader, I’ll also be the first to tell you if I think you’re making a mis-step or heading in the wrong direction
  • You also have to understand that when I challenge you, it comes from a place of kindness.
  • And I have to be absolutely sure that what I do will add value to your business.

Because together we’re going to create transformational change for you as a leader, and for the business you created.

We’re going on a journey that will take you from Founder to CEO…

Be aware, though, that this program will NEVER be available as an el-cheapo DIY course, because I can’t replicate the mentoring conversations where the real learning and magic happen.

Equally, there’s only one of me to go round…

Still unsure?

To quote the great Jay Abraham:

“Business owners who decide to do it alone (or to hire mediocrity instead of greatness) are facing a tough future.

Being able to mastermind great outcomes (and outrageous breakthroughs) today isn’t simply a piece-of-cake.   It takes enormous / exquisite mastery of an unimaginable spectrum of implications, applications, assumptions, probabilities, and predictive outcomes.

It’s the depth, breadth, and true empirical understanding of what moves people, markets, and business growth that denominates the expert wheat from the chaff.

Super-star business growth brains exist—and are accessible to your business or challenge – IF you grasp their unimaginable impact and competitive / economic value.”

Jay Abraham, 2019 blog

I’ll just leave that there, shall I?

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