Welcome to Creative Business Coaching, LLC

Where the Focus is on Growing Great Profitable Companies in the Range From $1million to $50 million

QUESTION - " Are you interested in honest... brutally honest... feedback?"

As CEO/Owner you're not always going to hear what you need to hear from your employees or your board. As a member of the CBC/CEO Roundtable members are going to tell you what they sense you need to hear, both about you and your business, not just what you feel you want to hear. It's like having an objective sounding board of CEOs whose only agenda is to help you and your business get better.

If this makes you uncomfortable to the point where changes are made, growth occurs and your vision becomes reality...   Mission Accomplished!!

Our Mission


To grow great, profitable companies that in turn generate wealth for all their stakeholders...their Owners, Employees, Customers, Suppliers, and Community.  To this end, our priority is to create/broaden/implement the tools required for your company to experience significant, profitable growth. This includes the use of separate Roundtables for the refinement and accountability of the CEO/Owner and Key Leadership Team members. Roundtables focused on:  

  • Vision/Mission Evolution,
  • Keeping the Business Model Up-To-Date,
  • Strategic Planning,
  • Financial Planning ,
  • Leadership Team Enhancement,
  • Exit Strategies,
  • Marketing/Sales Organization & Training, 
  • Internal Processes / OperationsPersonnel / Organizational Structure,
  • Accountability for working "On" not "In" the business.

Who We Are

What We Do

Establish and facilitate both CEO and Leadership Roundtables for Small, Growing Businesses between $1M-$50M.

How We Do It

These Roundtables consist of a senior group of experienced associates facilitating a peer group of CEO's/owners of small growing companies that mutually benefit from sharing their experiences/issues in the growth process as well as holding each other accountable for meeting their individual goals. 

They meet once per month as a group, followed by individual, one-on-one, midmonth meetings with the Roundtable facilitator.  Outside speakers are utilized from time to time to address topics of concern.

The foundation of the group consists of these basic requirements:

-Members must be coachable with minds open to new ideas.  
-Members must have a willingness to participate in crucial conversations where controversial thoughts, ideas and accountabilities are discussed and  hammered out.

-Members must be focused on growing their businesses.
-There must be an underlying trust between members knowing that confidentiality will not be violated.
-There must exist a common group chemistry among members that allows deep, penetrating, and sometimes controversial discussions to take place.

Why We Do It and Our Goal

After becoming involved with small companies, it quickly became obvious that there were a number of privately held businesses that were struggling to grow through these early stages, from $1M to $50M. That is, growing from an entrepreneurial company to a professionally managed, entrepreneurial company.

On the other hand, there were also a number of individuals that had built and sold businesses in this range and were now looking for ways to stay involved and give back to the younger business community.

By bringing these individuals together, along with the group of small business owners, in a roundtable setting... where they could all share experiences and solve problems being faced in moving their companies toward their growth goals... we saw the opportunity to accomplish a common goal. 

That was the basis on which Creative Business Coaching was formed some 24 years ago and has, since that beginning, helped numerous small companies reach growth goals that they had only dreamed about.


Our Goal at Creative Business Coaching...is to create Wealth through helping small companies grow. As companies grow, Wealth is created for:
-Employees -  through expanding job creation and associated expanding position opportunities within the growing companies.
-Business owners -  through developing an expanding, outstanding company lead by a highly motivated, competent leader/management team.
-Communities -  within which secondary companies and organizations, both existing and new, will be needed to provide the supporting services required by the growing employee population. Thereby creating 2-3 times more employees in various sectors of the communities.
-Local and state bodies -  through increased tax revenues.

These Roundtables aren't for everybody.  If you believe they might be right for you and you feel ready for these results, reach out to us to find out more about the details.


CEO/Owner Roundtables

  Membership in a CEO/Owner Roundtable is one of the few ways to receive unfiltered feedback on what others really think of your ideas and plans. Let’s face it, your employees and suppliers are always going to guard what they say, since there’s potentially a lot for them to lose.  Roundtable members, on the other hand, want to provide feedback from which you or they can make better decisions on critical issues.

The group very quickly becomes a valuable advisory board, asking open ended questions followed by insights on how they have addressed similar situations allowing you to learn and make, what you feel, are the appropriate decisions. 

 You will be encouraged to set performance goals and metrics so there is a basis to which they will hold you accountable.

MidMonth Meetings

Separate MidMonth meetings between the facilitator and each individual member take place between successive Roundtables. They are an integral part of both the CEO/Owner Roundtable and the Leader Roundtable. Their purpose is to review important issues and action items as well as the strategically import issues for each member that need to be addressed. 

These discussions have a strong influence on the subsequent Roundtable agendas. They assure that Roundtable discussions are  addressing concerns that members are actually dealing with.  

Leader Roundtables

  CBC’s Leadership Roundtables are an interactive assembly of emerging leaders representing different business types and sizes that come together to share best practices, exchange concerns/solutions and in general exchange guidance with peers from  other backgrounds and companies. 

During these sessions, members develop a complete  conceptual and solid understanding of leadership and management and their crucial role in developing their growing companies. This confidential process enhances decision making, provides sound advice, increases objectivity, and develops leadership skills.   

Each group consists of 6-12 individuals from noncompeting businesses who meet once a month.    In addition, each member meets monthly, one-on-one with the CBC Facilitator for  in-depth discussions on specific issues and/or educational topics.    

CEO/QBQ Social

  We have tagged this event the QBQ, “The Question Behind the Question”. It  provides an opportunity for the CEO/Owner members to get to know each other on a more social/personal basis and explore some interesting discussion topics of their choosing, within an unstructured atmosphere. 

The late afternoon and early evening typically  involves some great discussions,  sampling some great Belgian Beers along with something off the grill combined with all the fixings.  

Meetings Between Members

  Over time, members become quite close and from time to time will call/meet with each other to discuss specific issues and gather advice on how others may have dealt with similar situations. 

It is very rewarding to see how the group really comes to rely on one another for input as concerns arise.   

Individual Coaching & Information Specialist Available

  From time to time discussions will arise at meetings where one of the CBC associates has a particular background and expertise that matches with what one of the member companies needs. The coaching associates are available to work with members on special assignments. These arrangements are worked out on a case by case basis with any additional costs defined at the beginning of the engagement.   

Why Would I Be Interested??

A Close Knit Group of Peers / Your Advisory Board

  The Benefits… the key is discussing opportunities and problems and getting advice from your peers. Accountability to the group also helps members follow-through with the solutions discussed and proposed.    

  1.  An opportunity to gather with your peer group regularly to grow personally and to work on issues critical to your company and your employees… ”Rather then wrestling alone with the sticky issues that arise in running a business you will be working with your peers who are facing similar issues on a daily basis as well as having access to the Creative Business Coaching Team at each session.”  Together, this group forms an influential Advisory Board for both you and your company..  

Personal One-on-One Coaching

   2.  The benefit of a personal coach from the Creative Business Coaching team…  ”Your coach will meet with you individually at your office at least once between Roundtable sessions where together you will identify burning issues that you would like brought before the group. He will be in attendance at the Roundtable sessions to support your discussions as necessary and will also follow-up with you as you develop ways to productively integrate the feedback you receive into your business .”  

Access to the Entire CBC Coaching Staff

  3.  Access to the entire Creative Business Coaching team... “Your Creative Business Coaching Coach may invite one of the other CBC team members, as appropriate, to one of your individual monthly sessions to explore a particular topic in their field of expertise. If, from these discussions, a need is identified for discussion or support beyond the scope of the Roundtable and individual monthly sessions, this work will be defined and proposed separately".    

You May Be Wondering, "What Have Others Experienced?"

We've gathered together some testimonials that we have received from both current and past members that you may be interested in reviewing.

Then Again, You May Be Asking...

"I would really like to talk directly with a few current or past members to hear their experiences first hand."  If so, let us know and we will provide reference information to you so you can contact them directly on your own.

The CEO/Owner Roundtable

The Benefits of Membership

EXPERIENCE:  Roundtable Members are composed of other business owners just like you. In fact, a typical Roundtable can bring together between 100-200 years of actual business experience. That wealth of knowledge assures members that the ideas shared during meetings are “battle-tested,” and that the advice offered comes from first-hand experience.  

LEARN FROM OTHERS:    The most valuable insights that members gain from their participation often come from the problems of other participants. Members working to solve another member’s issue will often see a similar problem that they are experiencing from a completely new perspective.  

ACCOUNTABILITY:  While business owners can hold others in their company accountable for results, there’s usually no one to hold them accountable.  Accountability is what keeps us working on the strategically important issues that must be addressed in order to achieve our corporate growth goals.

AN ENVIRONMENT OF TRUST:   The program creates and promotes an environment of respect and trust for all Roundtable members. Likewise, shared experiences within the Roundtable often lead to mutually supportive and beneficial relationships outside of the group.  

CONFIDENTIALITY:  Confidentiality is critical in preserving for all participants the value of the Roundtable. All members must agree that any information disclosed within group meetings is confidential and must not be communicated to others outside of the group. Breach of this agreement is grounds for dismissal from the group.  It is this component that allows the group to delve deep into problems members are experiencing rather than dealing with superficial issues.

What It's All About

  As companies grow from a few million up towards $50M there are some significant stages that are passed through in moving from $1M-$5M-$10M-$25M and on up to $50M. 

It all starts with a founder defining products/services and both pushing to make sales and moving rapidly to get beyond breakeven; improving cash flow and becoming profitable all the while continually pushing sales and continually improving the value proposition offered to the market. 

 As one moves through $10M toward $20M, systems become strained and focus needs to be on protocols and managing processes and procedures, adding/developing a high quality Leadership Team capable of running the business. This is the process of moving from an entrepreneurial company up toward an entrepreneurial, professionally managed company.

Pushing through $20-$50M one needs to become entrepreneurial again, searching as to how additional growth will take place… new products, diversification, acquisitions, etc. This becomes your responsibility to assure that processes and procedures are in place and the the focus of the team is sharply on target. 

With these growth stages in mind, we at Creative Business Coaching intentionally work at keeping the Roundtable membership spread across this growth range such that there is sufficient depth in the group to provide experience for all members at the various stages of growth in which they find themselves. We want all members to get to know each other well such that they feel very comfortable working with and coaching each other.  This is encouraged through our QBQ events that take place periodically.     

Finally...What is Your Exit Plan?

  Research shows that 80% of pentamillionaires (those with a net worth of $5 million or more) are entrepreneurs who sold their businesses. 

Yes, real wealth is not made simply by starting companies...and it’s not made simply by growing companies. Real wealth is made by selling your company. Particularly, selling to an acquirer who will pay a premium because they believe they can generate even more value from what you’ve built. 

Importantly, the “hidden” secret behind ultra-successful entrepreneurs is that they start thinking about selling or exiting their companies early on. Specifically, these entrepreneurs create exit strategy plans; plans that lay out the road-map for them to grow their company so they can exit for the maximum dollar amount within a defined time period. 

They do this because when you build a business to exit, you set different strategies and goals then when you merely try to grow a business. Aside from not doing an exit plan at all, the biggest mistake that business owners make in planning an exit strategy is assuming that getting out will be easier than getting in.  Exit plans are one of the typical topics discussed at both the Roundtable and at MidMonth meetings.

The Leader Roundtable

  WHO SHOULD BELONG? Emerging Leaders of Corporations who, along with the CEO/Owner, are expected to accomplish the Corporate Vision, Mission, Strategy and establish and manage the Corporate Culture.

THE FOCUS IS ON DEVELOPING LEADER/MANAGEMENT SKILLS TO:  Reach for the corporate vision, grow corporate wealth, foster corporate culture and Imagine, develop and implement strategies consistent with the vision/mission.

ROUNDTABLES DERIVE SUCCESS AND STRENGTH FROM: · Highly experienced facilitators providing mentoring, coaching and teaching/leading probing and provocative discussions. · Active member participation building peer-to-peer trusting relationships. · Peer-to-peer accountability for mutual progress.    

What's It All About?

  CBC’s Leadership Roundtables are an interactive assembly of emerging leaders representing different business types and sizes that come together to seek guidance from peers in other companies. During each session, members develop their conceptual understanding of leadership and exchange practical ideas and advice for the benefit of each others' business. The confidential process enhances decision making, provides sound advice, increases objectivity, and develops leadership skills.  

Each group consists of 6-12 individuals from noncompeting businesses who meet once a month.    In addition, each member meets monthly, one-on-one with the CBC Facilitator for  in-depth discussions on specific issues and/or educational topics.    

Program Overview

  This program is designed to meet the challenge of developing teams of leaders below the CEO level, who both grow themselves and their companies to where, if the CEO for whatever reason “moves on”, the company will continue strong and on track. The goal is to expand members’ thinking, understanding and the application of “Leadership” in the business environment. 

There are two aspects: First, the exploration of an intellectual understanding of leadership and, secondly, the transference of this understanding into a day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year impact on your company. Through the monthly CBC Leadership Roundtable and individual Mid-Month Meetings, both are addressed. 

As the individual’s confidence and trust in the Roundtable grows, shared problem exploration and holding each other to account for moving forward, results in real change and growth. As this process unfolds, the CBC facilitator provides input and ensures continuity and sustainability. 

New participants are merged into the existing Roundtables both through participation and by introducing them to the key concepts and terminology of “Leadership 101” in four extended Mid-Month Meetings. These extended sessions focus on four major topic areas: · Leadership/Management differentiation. · Company Vision, Mission, Culture. · How leader teams work to create company-changing results. · The flow of decisions from Leadership to Management through “Strategic Actions” and “Allocation of Resources”.    

MidMonth Meetings

CEO/Owner Roundtable : Leader Roundtable

MidMonth meetings take place in-between monthly Roundtable sessions and consist of just you and your facilitator. They generally are 1-2 hours in duration at a date/time scheduled each month between the two of you.

It's during the MidMonth meetings that the discussions generally become in-depth and personal.  During these sessions, no topic is off-limits. These are another one of the trusted times when thoughts and ideas are shared.  After exploring them, you and your coach will decide what might be useful to bring before the next Roundtable for discussion and input from the group.

These sessions become a crucial component in shaping subsequent Roundtable agendas assuring that the Roundtable discussions, or invited speakers, are addressing the vitally important concerns of the membership.

CEO/QBQ Social... "The Question Behind The Question"

A time to kick back and enjoy being together...

...along with food and great Belgium beers...

(About twice per year)

...and have some great, challenging, discussions.

(topics are open...)

A Team That Consistently Hones Their Skills

The Benefit of A Team...

 Although you may be working with but one or just a few of our associates, you will have the benefit of a much larger group. All jobs are reviewed on a biweekly basis by our corporate principals to ensure that the overall experience of the CBC Organization is brought to bear on each project

Agendas Developed Based on Issues Identified During MidMonth Meetings With Members

Our coaching staff prides itself on staying up-to-date on business practices and technologies and works with our clients to understand their needs and make them aware of new approaches and techniques. From Roundtable and MidMonth meetings we are able to better understand the issues members are dealing with and construct agendas to focus the Roundtable discussions that address those needs.

Access to Our Extensive Research Library & Technical Information Specialist

Staying current in the fields important to our clients requires constantly staying abreast of the state of the art, both in the literature and throughout the appropriate data bases.  Our research and library are managed and kept current by our Technical Information Specialist. 

Meet the CBC Team

Dave Hagford, President/CEO/Founder of Creative Business Coaching, Roundtable Facilitator/Coach

David founded the business in 1993 and incorporated it under its current name Creative Business Coaching in 2000. He remains the sole owner of Creative Business Coaching. The business grew out of a desire to support the owners of small, growing businesses with the broad expertise of people who have owned and successfully grown small businesses of their own. This started with one-on-one coaching and has led to the development of advisory boards in the form of CEO Roundtables which bring together a diverse range of businesses and their owners to advise, coach, hold one another accountable and challenge one another to be working "On" their business rather than working exclusively "In" their businesses.

For the past 24 years, David has leveraged this background and experience in involving others in the building of Creative Business Coaching into a valuable set of resources for small businesses looking to aggressively grow in their marketplace. CBC provides coaching support in all areas of small business development including financial management, business planning, strategic planning, marketing/sales, advisory boards, and custom training programs.

Derrick Alcock, Associate/Roundtable Facilitator/Coach

   B.Sc., M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering, University of Nottingham      

 Extensive experience in Development, Marketing and Sales of  Sensors, Actuation and Motion Control Products for Industrial Automation. Leadership roles in Royal Air Force and throughout business career. Vice president and President roles in $30 to 75 million automation and motion control companies. Leader and coaching roles in youth sports and church.cbc leadership.  Eight years coaching business leaders with CBC  

Jon Wilbrecht, Associate/Coach

  BA Physics, Wesleyan University; MBA Stanford University

For the past eight years, I’ve been a management consultant and have served as an interim Executive Vice President with CFO responsibilities. I’ve been a CBC Coach for five years. As CEO of Wilbrecht Electronics, Inc. (1984-2009), I successfully managed a multi-factory, multi-product manufacturing company in a challenging technology and economic environment. I diversified and updated product lines through acquisitions, sale of mature product lines and initiation of strategic partnerships with companies in Germany, France, Israel, and Japan.

Areas of Focus:  · General Management · Designing Practical Management Information Systems · Manufacturing · Strategic Planning · International Strategic Partnerships  

Ted Williams, Associate/ Sales and Marketing

 I bring 35 years of sales management and business development experience  to Creative Business Coaching.  I specialize in coaching leaders to  drive new business, understand and implement technology as well as coach  mindset and strategy.  

Areas of Focus:
-Relationship building and learning how to grow successful win-win programs with clients.  
-Building a sales process in which members of the roundtable can replicate.

-CEO Roundtables
-Business Development
-Building Sales Processes
-User of IMPAX sales methodology.
-Fluent in Miller Heiman LAMP, CS and SS skills.

Earned DuPont Corporate Marketing Excellence Award in 1988. 

Carolyn Hagford/Technical Information Specialist

  As Creative Business Coaching Technical Information Specialist,  I am responsible for managing the CBC’s Research Library and for providing research and reference services to the CBC Coaching Team. I manage the Collection development through selecting, ordering, and cataloging new acquisitions as well as maintaining the collection of pertinent books, journals, online databases and other library resources aligned to the mission of CBC.  

Pat Hamilton/Associate/Product Development

  Pat Hamilton is a recognized business and technical leader who has introduced several successful products to the marketplace. Included in these products are Head Mounted Displays designed for combat, and professional training products for the use by competitive athletes. Throughout his career, Pat has lead multiple teams demonstrating a unique ability to incorporate both design thinking and systems engineering to product development ventures. Pat holds a strong reputation for accuracy in project planning and anticipating the needs and challenges of a project. Combined with his ability to lead multidiscipline teams, he has demonstrated expertise in estimating and executing complex projects from inception to completion. As part of his wide breadth of experience, Pat co-chaired the committee that composed, implemented and successfully won ISO13485 certification for an engineering and manufacturing organization. As a graduate of the University of Minnesota mechanical engineering program, Pat has dedicated his career to planning, defining, and manufacturing new and innovative products.  Along with his wife Sue, Pat has lived in the western suburbs of Minneapolis for over thirty years, raising seven children. Pat has chaired the school advisory board for his children’s school and has enjoyed coaching soccer, basketball, and volleyball.   


Willie Hendrickson, PhD. CEO/Founder of Aveka Group

The talent and resources I have gained from the Roundtable are incredible. This organization has instantly created a close, confidential group of peers that I can and have called upon for advice and support. I cannot think of a better way of tapping the wealth of knowledge available from other local executives and experts.

Jon Haulton, President, Data Panel. Inc

The advice I receive can only come from meeting regularly with the same group of peers who have a sincere interest in helping each other make the decisions needed to lead their companies to where they want them to be. Our discussions have dealt with assistance in short term daily decisions as well as long range strategy issues. I have found it significantly minimizes time that would otherwise be wasted in reinventing the wheel.  With the group sharing, carefully listening, critiquing and building from mistakes made by others, has lead to sound solutions to the many different issues that have been brought up.

Keith Klein, CEO/President Manufacturing Partners, Inc

With all the demands on the time of a

corporate executive in today's business environment, its very difficult to establish relationships with peers for the purpose of sharing information and solving problems. The Creative Business Coaching Roundtable Program allows business people the opportunity to address and evaluate issues concerning sales, finances, personnel, and management in a confidential and professional manner.

John Quinn, CEO/President Technical Tool Product/PRI Robotics, Inc

Our Roundtable group has developed into a very accessible advisory board with whom I am very comfortable conferring with on most any

topic. We encourage each other to bring up problems we are currently facing, ask for input from the roundtable members and then hold ourselves accountable by reporting back on action we have taken. Recently. when one of our members missed two consecutive meetings, our entire roundtable group did not simply dismiss it as a casual absence, but became concerned that the member had become too involved in working "In" his business rather than "On" his business and immediately called him on his priorities. The instantaneous group concern was amazing.

Bob Van Hecke, President, Van-Tech Corporation - Advancing Mobile Hydraulics

 I joined David's Creative Business Coaching 5 years ago and he has had a great influence in helping our business grow. He and the group of other members have given us some fantastic advice that we applied to our business to help us grow. Both Dave and the group are a great bunch of comrades that also own businesses and have helped us with many struggles we encountered in our journey to build a very successful business. It is really great to bounce Ideas off the group and Dave and get advice on business decisions we needed to make. Their support was invaluable.I would highly recommend any Business owner or CEO to join Dave's Group. They are the Best of the Best. 

Mike Verdon, Vice President and General Manager, MGS Machine Corp

 Creative Business Coaching  provides an effective opportunity for the Leaders of entrepreneurial organizations under $50M in annual revenues. Dave along with his staff share years of personal experiences with the roundtable members, coaching them to be better leaders and providing provocative insights on how to grow and make their organizations more sustainable. Roundtable sessions are predicated on open and honest feedback from the CBC Staff and the members of the Roundtable. The sessions are well organized around a timely topic with strong and expected participation by the members. CBC has been a strong, positive, influence on me and MGS Machine Corp! 

Rick Bonlender, Senior Ag & Commercial Lender

There are many reasons CBC is a high achieving business round table.  The foremost reason is the trust and commitment that has developed among members.  CBC members have an open and genuine sharing that is remarkable.  That level of trust helps members hold themselves and each other accountable.   As a result, members make steady progress toward improving their businesses.  Over the years, there has been very little turnover in the group, a testament to its effectiveness.

Other reasons members get more out of the CBC experience is the structure, common language and depth of the organization.  All the business owners and CBC Associates meet together monthly.  Then, follow-up meetings occur mid-month with each separate owner and CBC Associates.  At these one-on-one coaching sessions, members drill down into specific assignments identified at the group meetings.  This commitment to CBC’s focus of “working on the business – not in the business,” every couple weeks, insures that energy and momentum is not lost between roundtable gatherings.  

Furthermore, CBC members share a common framework and language for business growth and organizational development.  Business owners know where each other is, on their journey to maximum advancement, allowing them to compare and contrast their knowledge and experiences.  Then, the CBC structure and common language is reinforced in second tier roundtables of senior leaders of member businesses who participate with their peers in their own forum led by CBC Associates.

Finally what sets CBC truly apart is the skill and depth of Dave Hagford, the main facilitator, and the many CBC Associates.   The CBC team has unparalleled business histories and they mesh and complement each other’s perspectives seamlessly. 

Greg Loeschke, Managing Principal, Lindgate Financial Group

I am happy to recommend David Hagford and Creative Business Coaching.  I have been an invited presenter to CBC peer groups on business valuation, transition planning and other M&A topics and had a chance to watch first-hand as David and his team help business owners.  The CBC tools and strategies and peer feedback should be a welcome addition to just about every business owner's tool box.

Dave Swanson, Director of Operations, Viking Drill & Tool, Inc.

Creative Business Coaching was a great way to hear what other professionals were doing in today's volatile business environment. The problems encountered while struggling to be successful, while being challenged with finding quality staff and working through issues associated with the many pitfalls businesses are up against, is shared with the other members who offer much needed advice, and sometimes solutions. The group has an atmosphere of helping each other rather than the "me first" attitude that's so prevalent in these times.

Jeff Campbell, Vice President, Fidelity Bank

David has assembled a great peer group for CEO's.  I have been very impressed with the caliber of its members, all of whom view Dave as a key component to their success.  I consider Dave a trusted resource and a valuable asset to our business community. 

Contact Us

Better yet, see us in person!

It would be useful if we could meet and share thoughts on what a peer group means to a growing business. Meeting with  us would involve no more than an hour with no obligation on your part.  We feel it is important that company leaders, such as you, get as much support as possible in developing a strong business base in this area. 

Creative Business Coaching, LLC

Office: 952-927-8796

Ted Williams: 612-413-2735 / twilliams@creativebusinesscoaching.org

Dave Hagford: 612-250-2487 / dhagford@creativebusinesscoaching.org