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E50 | Daniel Marcos: Growing Companies One CEO at a Time

Today’s guest is Daniel Marcos, co-founder and CEO of Gazelles Growth Institute, based in Austin, Texas. Daniel is a lifelong entrepreneur and has run his company for the past 20 years. 

For the last 10 of those years he’s focused his energies coaching other CEOs, showing them how to change their mindset in order to take their companies to the next level. According to Daniel, the majority of scaling a company is all in the mind—you need to have the right mindset in order to grow your business. 

As well as running Gazelles Growth Institute, the leading online executive education company for C-level executives at fast-growing firms, Daniel also co-founded Inflection (Gazelles Mexico), a management coaching company that helps business executives and entrepreneurs grow their companies faster and with less “drama”. 

Today, however, Daniel is keen to discuss his latest project “How to be a better CEO”. Daniel has witnessed, time and again, CEOs keen to scale their companies, but without first setting a system in place of how to do it and how they are going to get the support they need from their team.

On today’s podcast:

  • Why Daniel became an entrepreneur
  • His struggles at being a CEO at age 26
  • Why running a company changes every time the company grows
  • Why the founder isn’t always the best person to lead the company
  • The four stages of growing a company
  • The Growth Institute


Today’s guest is Daniel Marcos, co-founder and CEO of Growth Institute, a CEO coach for over two decades, and a keynote speaker on scaling businesses. Daniel is on a mission to give C-suite executives the support and methodologies that he wishes he had received during his entrepreneurial journey. Namely, what it takes to be a good leader, how to successfully scale companies, and how to maintain a high quality of life whilst doing these things.

Daniel and his partner realised that there was a wealth of material and support for startups and businesses looking to grow and scale, but that there was limited support for mid-market companies, and so together they founded the Growth Institute. 

They have set themselves the challenge of helping 10 million business leaders of mid-market companies by 2040. Daniel wants to help these leaders be able to scale their impact and reduce the drama of their operations. 

So far they’ve trained 43,000 executives from 10,000 different companies in 64 countries. They’ve got a way to go, but given Daniel’s love of systems and processes, they’ll no doubt achieve their aim. 

Here Daniel shares with us a few of his tips he’s learned along the way. 

Training is vital

Most of the time people fall into positions of leadership and once there they don’t get the requisite training necessary to help them succeed. And for CEOs that is even more apparent. 

No one starts out building their company thinking ‘I’m going to be CEO of this empire’. Few entrepreneurs even think about being a CEO when they start their company. Everyone is too busy focused on what the business needs, not how to do the various jobs required to make the business work. 

According to Daniel: “Everyone gets taught how to sell, but no one gets taught how to be a great sales manager”.

At 26 when Daniel found himself the CEO of his company, he had no idea how to make it work, he just knew out of his four business partners that he was the best person for the job.  

Know the difference between being an operator and an owner

There’s a huge difference between being an operator of a business and being an owner of the business. When Daniel became CEO, all of his partners assigned themselves different job titles based on their past experiences. But within two years he’d fired two of his four co-founders because they were not operating well. He offered them shares of stock that allowed these co-founders to remain owners without being operators. 

He asked these co-founders to stand down so he could use their salaries to hire people who could do the job better. One of them was disgruntled at being told they weren’t good enough, but 15 years later the stocks he was given in return for stepping aside have made him very rich. 

Daniel’s one piece of advice to all CEOs? You aren’t always the best person to run your own company. 

Hiring the right people is key

The first step to getting a great team is hiring the right people from the beginning. Don’t hire the cheapest person and expect them to do great things. Hire the best person, find the money to do it and they will pay for themselves. 

Daniel recommends CEOs develop a hiring framework with a detailed hiring process that guarantees you only hire the best people. 

In his company the process is simple, but rigid—someone needs to be interviewed three times before Daniel interviews them. 

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