What are the top 5 priorities for a startup CEO (in order)?
I am sometimes overwhelmed with all I have to balance and prioritize. What needs to be done first, what to focus on next, what tasks to delegate to my team...etc. I want to stay on top of things and make the most use of my time, while staying calm and cool. So far, it's harder than it sounds. How have other startup CEOs prioritized launching their business?
This is a gift and a curse, but at this point you will really need to keep a cool head and tap into your interpersonal and leadership qualities. You may also want to look to your team for ideas, direction and motivation just so you know you're all on the same page. Working to the same priorities and with the same levels of motivations can deliver coherent results. In order or priorities, I'd suggest the following;
1. Tasks or matters of "Urgency" - Actionable Revenue Processes (orders, deliveries, responding to queries etc)
2. Which tasks are "Necessary" for the team to be able to move operations forward (planning, procurement, etc)
3. What "Essential" operations need to be carried out in order to meet goals (producing, servicing etc)
4. What are the"Important" steps/actions needed to achieve smooth operations.
5. The "Must Do" tasks.
Using the above model, decide (together with your team), what everyone's priority list are based on the definitions above and how they meet the overall business objectives. Discuss what those priorities are and measure their output making sure there is a process for evaluation and continuity.
Finally, Before you delegate, you may want to ask yourself these questions;
1. How good are you at delegating? - There lies a problem especially if your business relies a lot on your own skills.
2. What parts of your business activity can be delegated to free you to do what you do best and improve your bottom line?
3. What will be the costs of delegating against productivity, efficiency and increased revenue?
Being comfortable delegating parts of your business activity is a good start. Identify the various activities that you feel are not your biggest strengths.
Once you have assessed all of the above, you will be in a better position to know when, what and how to delegate not forgetting to weigh up the cost implications against productivity to plot your efficiency and revenue curve.
Truth is there are people who do what they do really well and there are always those who are also really good at what we struggle to do.
Hope this helps. Feel free to connect if I can be of further help.
I don't know others, I will keep looking for sales to fill my survival model immediately after my business model looks viable (scalable, repeatable, and viable) and than expand via growth model.
If you are a startup - you probably trying to make some level of business viability first (initial product(s) acceptable by some customers), than rush to build sales to meet survival model stage. Next maintain the sales at survival model stage while fine tune the rest of the business functions to increase your capabilities and capacities.
Before you realize, you already in growing stage. You will build other models such as total defense model, task force model, business cleansing model ...etc subsequently.
Looks like you are the CEO of your own start-up business. Here are the things I recommend, in order of priority:
1. Complete a strategic plan. Yeah, I know...text book stuff. However, if this is done right, it will clearly lay out the other key things you must focus on right now. This strategic plan is not a huge book but rather an important internal document (can be a single page -- let me know if you want the format), to be used by you to stay focused on the goals and what is needed to accomplish them, and also to be reviewed and understood by your people.
2. Fully assess your team. Make sure they are the right people. Their attitude, character, and style are likely more important than their skills -- and the type of people you need in start-up are different than what you will need when your business gets bigger. Right now they need to be willing to operate without clear role definition, and be willing to do whatever is necessary for you and your business to be successful. As Simon Sinek says, make sure they share your "Why". They must be team oriented, and willing to get ahead by doing the job rather than just through expectation.
3. Take the time to lay out marketing fundamentals, before building your marketing plan. Seldom do owners take the time to outline how they will dominate their market before they attack the market. (This free video might be useful...http://bit.ly/1diY1RP )
Make sure your marketing message follows the Marketing Equation (another free ebook at https://db.tt/xRVWvG6p ). Utilize these tools to the letter and you will kill it!
4. Schedule time each week with yourself - for at least 30 - 60 minutes, to ensure you pay some attention to the IMPORTANT things for your business, and not just the URGENT things.
5.Even though you are just starting, recognize that getting your business to a point of not being totally dependent on you gives you the flexibility to scale your business and/or to sell it or pass it on for maximum value some day.
I commend you! I've founded 4 companies and each had its own challenges. Roland gives you very good advice, but whatever you're doing is unique and all the suggestions may/not fit.
First and foremost you need to be clear why you started your company. Do you seek to fill an unmet need? Do you have a product/service that doesn't exist or is better than others? Have you come up with the "next great thing"? Whatever it is, always keep in mind why you started this company and make sure you keep that goal in mind in all your decisions.
If you've built a team of 1 or many, do involve them in planning, decision making and execution. You have the final say, but sometimes that means a change in direction advocated by your team - if you feel they have created a compelling reason to do so. Nevertheless, you should always stay laser focused on the goal - even if it changes by agreement.
Delegation is definitely a key. Your team has come together to provide you the necessary resources you need to join you in the journey of building your company. You can't (and shouldn't) go it alone. Call upon your team to help you and challenge them beyond their comfort zone. This is the only way you'll learn what the team is capable of, it will help you assess where you need more resources and it will help you grow.
Scaling is always important and can be the great killer. We all want to grow as fast as possible, but sometimes it's the worst thing you can do. You should only take on new business you are able to handle. Depending on what you're doing that can mean new customers, sales, product expansion, etc., but you need to keep an eye on growth so you don't outstrip your capabilities and resources (human, financial, technical, etc.) to meet the demands of new business. Growing too fast is often what kills companies.
Finally, make sure everyone (including you) continues to enjoy themselves in the pursuit of success. It's far too easy to get bogged down in the grind and lose sight of why you started this journey in the first place.
Good luck. I hope this helps and let me know if I can help you further.
You need to, above all, have a team that you believe in. Not a team that just tells you what you want to hear with, no basis for, the pie in the sky projections that feel good. You also need to let them do their jobs. Many founders get in the way of their own success by feeling they need to do everything.
To get traction, work with advisors that can give you a realistic goal for year 1, 2, 3, and on. Realistic goals put aside "the product will sell itself" and rely on specific business and marketing bugets and strategies.
If you are able to get a customer (provided that is a good revenue start - not knowing your product/service or price point this is just a guess) have them work with you on product management based on real customer needs and pain points.
All good answers, especially those that lay out a plan of attach with regards to strategy (if you don't know where you are going, any road will take you) that has tactical actions that are delegated to each of your team members to be responsible for. The big KEY here is that you need to have a way to measure the activities that you and your team perform, so when you meet weekly, you either did what you needed to do or did not. If you did not, is it the person or the process? All of this is objective, not subjective.
Yes, you will need to ascertain their competencies at some point, now is not the time. You need to understand the processes of your business so you know how to grow it repeatedly. Once you understand process, you can determine what type of person fits, not the other way around. This goes hand in hand with the comment above.
I found that surrounding myself with others that knew more in their respective areas. I business advisor once told me that you should pick out 4-5 topics, know a reasonable amount about 3-4 and a lot about 1-2. This helps you grow and start to look at what questions you need to ask yourself as you move through this wonderful process.
BEST OF LUCK!
Great insights of @Ronanld. Much inspired. I am not CEO or might you call much junior to all member here. but i heard that SEO is also a kind of CEO. with respect want to add some lines.
3- Integrity, and respect for everyone in the workplace
These are all qualities of successful leaders. But Jeffrey J. Fox, the founder of a marketing consulting company, also gives these tips:
1- Never write a nasty memo
2- Skip all office parties, and overpay your people.
These are a few of his key ways to climb the corporate ladder.
1. Funding, how much is needed and where is it coming from?
2. What makes our product or service better than the competition?
3. How am I going to market my product and / or service?
4. What is the estimate market for our product or service?
5. How am I going to create the product and what sort of team or suppliers do I need?
Answers given here are all good ones from m y view...i would add have business plan reviewed by a mentor...Focus heavily. On your marketing message and then sales and k ow our fixed costs...
Advertising, socialising, organising, promising / "bribing", and maybe flaunting comes to mind. :-))))
Vision and values
Policies and procedures
Lots of good advice already Jack.
Understanding what your business is for and more importantly why it makes sense (check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sioZd3AxmnE if you haven't already).
Then remember you are defined by choices including what you choose not to do! Understand what needs to get done, decide what your time is best focussed on and then delegate, recruit, coerce others to do as much of the rest as possible
Mindfulness. When you are in the present moment your energy is centred. As a result you know what is important and urgent without getting stressed. Train and develop your team, then you can delegate with confidence. Every time you delegate agree the priorities, and arrange regular reviews. The great leader is when the people say "We did it ourselves!" Lao Tzu . Be a transformational leader. Inspire others with your compelling vision. Respect others and they will respect you. Barry Thorogood
Dear jack kemper.
1) You must know the priorities in your premises and out side.
2) Prepare yourself before tomorrow.
3) Make a friendly and achieve able team.lead like captain.
4) knowledge of production and products.
5) Utilizing the finance. Minimizing the loses.
Strategy for quarterly goals, Patience for things to run their course, Deligation for the hardest workers need the most support, Instincts that take advantage of good opportunities, Legal understanding to get blood out of stone.
1. Understand the company Mission Statement and vision
2. Review the analytic s of the company to understand the "health" of the business
3. Review the management of the company to establish company capacity
4. Prepare a game plan with "audit" for the company
5. Prepare a Time and Action Plan to implement the Game Plan
Well here you go: 1) Understanding of the customer base; 2) Realizes and understands the value proposition of the business and its competitive advantage; 3) strategy and understanding the actual sales model to insure sucess for the business; 4) ability to assertain the how to maximize productivity of the team, top to bottom and 5) and finally manage effectively the cash flow and balance sheet of the busines. These are odds on true leadership qualities that leade to ultimate business success.
1. consider and commit to a real, written vision statement;
2. determine, working top-down, what is required to achieve the vision and write down as a statement of objectives and budget over the realistic forecast time period;
3. evaluate the resources required and obtain or recruit additional skills if necessary;
4. This is the key "parity of authority and responsibility" at every level and for every person: delegate following the framework of (i) the specific objectives of the individuals or groups (sections / teams etc) (ii) the implicit responsibilities that match the specific objectives and (iii) the implicit levels of authority that are required to match the responsibilities (iv) the KPI's that match the responsibilities and (v) the rewards for achievement.
5. routinely and constantly monitor performance relative to KPI's and reward achievement, assist where necessary and be generous, both materially and in spirit.
I don't understand how people can answer this without knowing you, your experience, whether you have a team, how big it is, what your values are, what your product or service is, who your clients are, what the model is, how you plan on executing and growing...Sure, you can buy every book about startups and read all the blogposts out there but you might end up losing valuable time and might be more confused than before...Every startup is unique - if you feel flooded with information and want tailormade support and fast help, I would really suggest that you get a mentor or business coach, you will save yourself lots of stress and bad decisions.
Wishing you heaps of clarity and success!
There are many great answers here.
As a my own boss – leader when I decide to grow my company this is what I want to focus on
1. Surround myself with great people. Remember you are not going to know everything at a given moment. It is the people you add with their level of expertise that help you manage your organization.
2. Know your competition; I say this with a ton of passion. I work with numerous companies in the digital world who all want to be number 1 and I always ask what does you competition look like and I get a blank stare or silence on the other end of the line.
3. Have that go to person in the organization. You want an individual or team that can tell you at any point during the day how the business is doing.
4. Communicate, but communicate in person. Too many leaders rely on email to communicate. Face to face, conversation is a lost art. I have learned to get things done it is easier to talk to someone instead of spending time having a email conversation.
5. Lead by example, treat your customers like gold and they will always come back. Show that you value everyone.