About Closing Strong

Congratulations! Your passion, vision and energy has created the organization of which you’ve dreamed and you are doing more for clients than you originally thought possible. Now what? Where do you go from here? 

Or do you know where you want to go, but find yourself encumbered by the successes of your past? Legacy is a strong foundation, but a heavy one. 

Or how do you transition from one form of business to another? From service to product? Or product to service? And how does your business survive along the way?

Or are you getting ready to bring on new leadership… maybe even your successor?  Or building your first true executive team?   Did you know it usually takes a business owner 3 to 5 attempts to do it successfully?  Did you know each failure leaves blood on the organization and customers – not to mention what it does to the unsuccessful candidate?

I founded Closing Strong specifically to address these issues unique to the business owner/entrepreneur.

I can help. As a Small Business Coach I can help you have more fun and make more money.

“The best guide for any journey is one
who has made the journey him-or herself
—perhaps multiple times
—and thus knows something about the terrain,
the climate, the beauties, dangers and challenges present
at each point along the way.”

Ruth Haley Barton

I have been in your shoes.  I know how unique your position is and how lonely it is at the top.  I have turned around businesses and sold them.  I have created new lines of business and new products.  I have taken customer satisfaction from pitiful to engaged.  I have developed new customer bases for existing products.  And have migrated old products into contemporary ones.

I am a seasoned executive having played critical roles in multiple organizations.  I have worked for eight different entrepreneurs, six times as a member of executive management, and four times becoming the day-to-day successor to the owner.  As important, I’ve succeeded… and I’ve failed.  Most important, I know why.

The people I’ve worked with over the years will tell you I am highly ethical and practical in the way I approach business problems.  And this has benefited each of the business owners I’ve supported.  

I understand where you are.

Contact me and let’s talk.

Keith

CONTACT

"Keith has the ability to learn new businesses and organizations quickly, and to adopt their missions as his own. However his true gifts lie in being able to become part of the team in developing the appropriate strategy and goals, and define the processes and KPIs needed to fulfill it with great efficiency."
Al Mueller
President/Owner / Excellence in Giving
"Keith is a true motivator and leader. Keith obtains a great ability to break a complex business into simple, easy to understand, business strategy.”
Matthew Blake, MBA
CEO / Franklin Data
"I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Keith over the last five years as an IT service partner and most recently as a client of Closing Strong. Keith’s intimate knowledge and understanding of the challenges of the legal technology and consulting industry has been invaluable and would be difficult to replicate. His perceptiveness and insight based on years of direct leadership experience has provided me with the guidance needed to make changes that positively impact the bottom line. One of the most important things my sessions with Keith provide, is the dedicated time to review my challenges and assess my decisions. Keith is quickly able to understand the situation, drill down on the actual issue and make me confront them. In the very short time we have worked together in this capacity, Keith has helped me to identify and focus on some of my biggest challenges towards developing a strategy for growing the firm without compromising our values. I have no hesitation in recommending Keith. I am confident I’ll continue to leverage his guidance as we advance to the next phase."
Angelo Whitfield
President - Sophus Consulting - Public Sector Information Technology and Services Consultant / Sophus Consulting
“Keith's decision-making ability, confidence and continued support are key in helping get through difficult situations while continuing to contribute to the bottom line. His professional and very approachable leadership style streamlined many operations and promoted continued unity and morale within the organization.“
Lentz Ferrell
Director ISS (ret.), / Silverton Healthcare
“I’ve known Keith since 2001. I have had the pleasure of working with him in a variety of settings, including as members of an executive round table where we collaborated on the challenges of building our respective businesses. First, he gets it: growing a business, leading an organization, managing diverse organization, managing diverse individuals, inspiring results, setting uncompromising high standards and ethics. Then, repeatedly, he delivers the results. Keith is someone I trust and rely on for counsel and feedback, and our relationship is one that I highly value.”
Stephen Sweeny
Chief Operating Officer / 3Coast
"(Elephant Tales is a) wonderful book. Very thought provoking. I can definitely see the value of presenting one of these stories to a leadership team for discussion and potential issue solving as the opportunity presents itself. As a professional who also works with Entrepreneurs and is one, these stories are on point and typical of what I see on a regular basis. Sometimes being too close to the problem is the problem. Stand back and look at it from an outsider perspective. Does it look the same? How many story related events have you experienced or caused? I definitely narrowed in on a few that I could relate to. Funny how much alike most business's are. It's those leaders that recognize it and do things differently who win."
Salty Thomason
President / LeaderShift, LLC
"Keith is a true leader; he’s got great, natural leadership skills. My experience as an officer in the military has confirmed that leadership can be taught – to a point, beyond which instinctive leadership traits emerge, but only from the exceptional leaders. That’s where Keith shines. Keith creates an inspiring vision for organizational goals. And then he knows how to inspire and motivate his team to achieve those goals. He takes teamwork to a whole new level. Keith’s team members routinely exceed their performance expectations.”
Chip Cooper
E-Commerce Attorney ✔SaaS Attorney ✔Custom FTC Compliance Programs ✔ Author ✔ Speaker
"Keith Okano brings a clarity-of-thought to the executive team. He has a measured and seasoned approach to problem solving, a highly responsive, yet fair and even-handed style when dealing with crisis, and an overall intuitive sense of what it means to be a leader."
Mike Dalton
SVP Worldwide SaaS Software Engineering / BAE Systems
"I've had the pleasure of working with Keith for the past few months and it's been an incredibly valuable experience. Keith offers a lot of creativity and wisdom when tackling business issues. Keith inspires new ways of thinking and is easy to collaborate with which inspires the best possible outcome to complex business matters. I consider Keith's ideas and feedback instrumental in many of the positive changes we've made this year."
David Balzen
Chief Executive Officer / SalesStaff, LLC
“Keith has proven over time to have the perspective, vision and patience in working with others to build teams and accomplish goals for the business he runs. He leads with passion, focus and determination.”
Ernie Rapp
President & PCCA Vice President of Business Development / PersonalMed
“The stories, imbedded in “ELEPHANT TALES “, depict in a humorous way realistic encounters between CEOs and their Organizations. “ELEPHANT TALES” is a required read for any CEO interested in improving his/her leadership by understanding the relationship between the Elephants, the Ants, and the Mahouts. There is much wisdom between the lines of each story. CEOs skilled in understanding what these stories reflect are better prepared and more able to discern and focus on the appropriate courses of their Corporate Decision Making.”
A. "Butch" Madrazo
President and CEO / MMM Enterprises, Inc.
"I've known Keith for years, and his ability to translate deep leadership lessons into easily-relatable messages has been part of his "special sauce" as long as I've known him. I'm so pleased he collected his messages into "Elephant Tales" -- it's an inspirational read, filled with practical, powerful leadership advice. My advice? Get a copy for yourself, and one for all the members of your team. Thanks, Keith!"
Bob Tipton
Chief Executive Officer / R S Tipton, Inc.
"Keith truly values individuals, with all their strengths and shortcomings, and enjoys lending his experience and long track record of success in support of others."
Mark Poag
Managing Director / FitzRandolph Gateway Ventures
"For the past few months I have been meeting with Keith and find our conversations to be the highlight of each month. I leave each meeting feeling like I have a heightened level of clarity, inspiration to continue challenging myself as a leader and motivation to think about things in a new way. Keith provides such a balance in his coaching: he gives advice, shares anecdotes from his extensive personal experience, asks the right questions, pushes me to think and act boldly and provides genuine encouragement.”
Amanda George
Consultant / Sterling Associates
“Keith has the ability to get an entire company focused in a positive direction while empowering managers to take responsibility of working as a single team. Keith is fair with outstanding business ethics.”
Brad Thompson,
President, Epex LLC
“Keith Okano has this unique and uncanny ability to make everyone feel comfortable, important, and as though their opinion is truly valued. He communicates as openly and effectively with a client or partner as he can with one of his own staff. He can easily discuss details at a technical level, business level, market level, or executive level. He is thoughtful, creative, thorough, and a visionary.”
Wayne Ford
SVP WW Commercial Sales / Kofax