Profits vs. Culture: Why This Entrepreneur Torched His Business at the $100 Million Milestone

Matt Manero, president of CFF, shares how "torching" his $100M business cured a toxic company culture.

Show Notes: Interview with Matt Manero

Hitting the $100 million a year milestone is the moment when most business owners pop the cork on a bottle of champagne. For Matt Manero, it was the catalyst to torch his company and do better.

As president of Commercial Fleet Financing, which offers financing for industrial equipment in the trucking industry, Matt is proud to help his clients succeed. But after realizing in 2015 that his company culture didn’t support his employees, he decided to gamble everything to rebuild and help them thrive. The move cost him several top performers, but Matt’s only regret is neglecting his culture for so long.

I recently caught up with the Birthing of Giants alum to find out what led him to this pivotal moment and what inspired his latest book, You Need More Money (Penguin, 2018).

Great Entrepreneurs Nurture a Solid Company Culture

Despite the title of his book, Matt says money is a secondary concern for him. Giving back to his people always comes first.

“As an entrepreneur, you have a responsibility far greater than just earning profits,” he says. “You must impact other people’s lives to be a truly great entrepreneur, not just some slumlord who just wants to make money from people.”

Do What You Love, But Follow the Money

Building a successful business takes big dreams and plenty of elbow grease. But Matt believes another element is more important: finding a platform that’s right for them.

“People have tremendous aspirations, but they’re in the wrong platform,” he explains. “Can you actually make the money you need to make doing what it is you’ve chosen to do?”

This is an important concept that I devoted an entire chapter to in my book Business Brilliant. Hard work and talent are essential to succeed in business, but, as Matt points out, you also have to exploit the right opportunities.

Stay the Course With Your Business 

Every entrepreneur knows that overnight success is a pipe dream. But Matt cautions that it can take longer than you might expect. After 23 years in the game, his company is thriving, but it wasn’t always that way.

“It took a doggone long time!” he reflects. “The first 10 years were just pure hell. The next five years were probably worse because I had committed on a deeper level. And then the last eight have been very, very pleasurable!”

Matt’s decision to reinvent his company culture at such a pivotal moment in the business’s growth carries an important lesson for all entrepreneurs. To hear my full conversation with Matt, listen to the podcast now.

Check out my extended interview with Matt Manero on

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