Nowadays, it’s easy to start your business, find resources to help you, attend networking events in all shapes and sizes, and use online tools to market and run your business.
The drawback is that there are a lot of small business owners out there who are really glorified service providers or hobbyists. And they’re missing out on running and growing a true business. They need to be CEOs, not worker bees.
How does that land for you? Do you consider yourself a CEO, or does that word seem too big to describe you? Do you run your business consciously and intentionally, or do you let it run you?
A CEO of a business runs the business, whether it’s for a company of 1 or 1000. Here are the top 10 duties of a CEO.
1. The CEO knows the Deeper Why. More than likely, she started her a business for a reason… to provide a much-needed service or product and, in her way, to change the world. There is a Deeper Why that drives her, especially since much of running a business can cause someone to leave her comfort zone.
2. The CEO determines the trajectory of company. Along with the Deeper Why, there’s the Big Vision. Where is the company headed? What’s the big picture? As CEO, he doesn’t necessarily need to know how to get there each and every step of the way, but there is vision to guide action.
3. The CEO makes sure company runs smoothly. She looks at every problem, challenge, mistake, threat as an opportunity to plug holes, develop procedures, outsource. The buck stops here, as they say, but that doesn’t mean that the CEO has to do everything herself. Certainly not. But she does need to be ready to solve problems, not run and hide.
4. The CEO sets policies and establishes boundaries. CEOs get to decide what they want, how they want the company to run, how customers and prospects are treated, their value. If something isn’t going right or someone isn’t doing his job properly, the CEO needs to speak up and state what needs to change.
5. The CEO assigns work and delegates. The smartest CEOs know that they can’t do it all and that they shouldn’t. The company is going to be most successful if the CEO is working in his Zone of Genius and not in his Zone of Competence or Zone of Incompetence. CEOs hire well and pay well.
6. The CEO has goals: revenue, product development, personal development, etc. A CEO doesn’t just react to situations, people, and emails. She has a plan (most likely developed from her Big Vision) with goals. While she may have team, staff, and employees to help the company reach its goals, she’s the one setting them.
7. The CEO is detached. Of course, he is passionate about his work and the company. And it doesn’t mean he doesn’t get disappointed sometimes. But he doesn’t make decisions out of resentment, fear, or lack of confidence. A CEO understands that he is responsible for his actions and reactions, and not in control or responsible for actions or reactions of others.
8. The CEO knows the numbers. She knows revenue, monthly and year-to-date. She knows number of products sold. She knows retention rates. She knows the monthly expense budget. She knows how many new clients need to come on or how many products to be sold in order to make revenue goals. She has revenue goals.
9. The CEO grows the business, not just does the work. That might mean finding other markets or collaborating or hiring (or firing). This is the difference between working ON the business and working IN the business.
10. Most importantly, the business has a legacy beyond the business owner. It could go on once the business owner is gone or steps down. That’s when someone is a true CEO. Otherwise, he’s really just a glorified service provider.
If some of these duties smacked you upside the head a bit, no cause for alarm. We all falter a bit. My assistant just recently solved a problem that had been a problem for two years. Two years! I had tried this and that to no avail, and I finally threw up my hands and gave it over to her. Within a few weeks, problem solved. I should have put my Big Girl CEO panties on much earlier in this instance.