Entrepreneur, Business, Strategies

What's a CEO Supposed to Be Doing – Our Journey of Figuring It Out

Episode 188: Show Notes

We have both been on a very personal journey to try and figure our sh*t out and a lot of it has had to do with determining what our role is within our own company. So, what does a CEO look like and what is a CEO actually supposed to be doing? This is the golden question we’ll be tackling in today’s episode. The role of CEO looks so different in every company. It is a role that can be completely unique and takes a while to find your groove. So no matter where you are in your own business, the episode will give you additional tools in finding where you belong. Your role as CEO, what you take on and what you don’t, is a personal decision at the end of the day and takes time and a lot of trial and error to figure out. Trust us, we know!

We have both been on a very personal journey to try and figure our sh*t out and a lot of it has had to do with determining what our role is within our own company. So, what does a CEO look like and what is a CEO actually supposed to be doing? This is the golden question we’ll be tackling in today’s episode. The role of CEO looks so different in every company. It is a role that can be completely unique and takes a while to find your groove.  |  The Strategy Hour  |  Think Creative Collective

In this episode, we discuss how our role as CEO’s have evolved as we’ve slowly started outsourcing more, dropping certain tasks and hiring more. We also take a look at what other women have said about CEO’s, what their roles should be and how they can be so different. We don’t have it all figured out just yet, but as we said, this is a process and we’re getting there! So no matter where you are in your own business, come with us on this journey as we discuss where we’ve been, where we are, and where we want to be as CEO’s of our own company.

What Does Being A CEO Even Mean?

We decided to follow up with this topic because last year we went through a hiring frenzy and things just exploded! We had given up a lot of our personal roles in the company. Last year, our mission was to outsource more and to make ourselves as obsolete as possible. We of course want to grow our company and community, but we also want to not work as hard! We were so busy working on the nitty gritty things in our business that we weren’t being the best version of ourselves for our audience and for our team. This was becoming increasingly confusing and so eventually, Abbie popped Emylee the question... “What does being a CEO even mean?” What is a CEO supposed to be doing? We knew that CEO’s add value to the business but most of the CEO’s that we had seen, were rather absent. This led us to having no examples of what a CEO even does. So how do we go about figuring that out?

Different CEO Roles For Different Companies

There can be many different CEO roles for every different types of company. For us, being a relatively small business and working largely from home, our role as CEO’s is going to be very different from someone who is the CEO of a massive corporation with a building and headquarters! It becomes very confusing trying to identify that role when you as the CEO, might also be head of marketing, or leading the webinars, or you’re the only copywriter. Whether that is by choice or due to budget. It comes down to what hat you are wearing on the day. Like, are we having a marketing meeting or a CEO meeting? For Abbie, when smaller tasks where being outsourced she began to feel disconnected from the business and didn’t know what her day-to-day role in the business was supposed to look like. This confusion inspired us to ask in a couple of other Facebook groups what the hell we should be doing.

Previous Roles Versus Current Roles As CEO

We didn’t bring anybody into our business for the first year, but our first hire was an editor for our blog posts. Later we expanded and brought on a blog coordinator who took over the formatting, posting and scheduling process of the blog. Then we expanded more and brought on someone for customer service and inbox management. And then of course, we outsourced our podcast. Later we brought on a graphic designer and a director of operations, to assist with what we were still doing on a day-to-day basis.

Prior to bringing on those people, Abbie was doing all the graphics and we were doing all the photography, tech set up, community involvement, copywriting, strategic thinking, blog content and podcast guest handling. We decided we needed to step out of some of those things because they were not affecting sales or our list growth. This led us to the question, “Well what do we do then if we were to free up that time?” We now outsource our bookkeeping but Abbie is still the person that interprets all of our data; monitoring finances and the sales page. Together, we interpret that into a strategic business plan. It’s difficult to let go of old roles, make changes and have something that was once really important to you suddenly be something that you no longer touch. So how do you find a balance?

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You get to decide what your role as CEO is, you own the dang thing!
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What Other People Told Us CEOs Should Focus On

When in doubt reach out! We asked a couple of our peers what CEOs should be doing. Katy says that a business owner should look at reporting, strategies, planning ahead, looking at the quarter and mapping out the year. She said that the CEO she knows has a “CEO day” once a month. Next up, Donna spoke about a CEO being the holder and communicator of the vision and direction of the organization and the coach-mentor for the team.

Abbie had previously taken on the role of coach-mentor for the team, but she just couldn’t handle that role anymore because it’s a full-time job in and of itself! We decided, after this failed, that we are not that great at managing so many people.  We just don’t want to manage people, and we shouldn’t have to! As a result we decided to bring on a director of operations to manage the team. And hiring is not easy, it is hard! But having someone to be the primary communication source for our team, has been huge.

Moving on to Kylie’s feedback (which scared us a little bit!). She says that a lot of people end up hiring CEO’s for their business because vision isn’t their strong suit. It’s not that we don’t think this might be right for some businesses, but for us we think it’d be a massive mistake. Wendy Bernard gave us some specifics for the role of a CEO, which probably hit home the most. She has been doing this for twenty years and this is where she believes a CEO should spend his/her time: “Evangelizing and stewarding the mission, values and vision of your company.” (Evangelizing? We’re not too sure if that means start a cult, but we like the word anyway!). Wendy went on to say that CEOs should be, “Looking over the horizon at both the internal and external competitive landscape, opportunities for expansion, customers, markets, new industry developments, trend standards and so forth.” This is kind of where we would like to be spending our time.

Wendy continued by stating that CEOs should focus their energies on, “Setting and implementing strategic goals and initiatives to move your company forward in a way that aligns with your mission, values and vision.” Although that is hard, that is our vision right now and we’re trying to implement it.  Wendy goes on to say that another distinct responsibility of a CEO involves, “Creating and nurturing relationships with referrals, influencers and partners who will further the interest in your company’s strategic goals.” Yeah, we’re not so sure about this. In addition to these items, Wendy suggests another core role of a CEO includes: “Meeting with senior leadership to guide their actions and help them manage their people, operations and offerings.” This is something we feel we are very good at, so yay us!  Wendy states that, ”setting and monitoring your key performance indicators.” are vital part of being a CEO and running a business effectively. KPI’s, guys, KPI’s! We need a whole episode for KPI’s. This is Abbie’s job and what she is doing now and what is what she wants to do more of. So, we think we’ve got some of that down.

Problems For CEO’s That Wendy Bernard Speaks About

Excerpts from Wendy Bernard’s article continues by suggesting, “When you don’t let go as CEO, here are the other problems that you are causing: 1) You prevent the people from growing into the positions for which you hired them. 2) You are limiting your ability to exit the company.” The thing that we have struggled with in our business is automating things. Theoretically speaking, someone else could set up our funnel and sell our stuff. That is a possibility but it becomes really hard when you have no intentions of leaving your business. But we are having to have a dreaded meeting with a lawyer about what happens if one of us dies! Right now it is not set up properly in the unlikely case of one of passes on. It’s a hard question, especially when there are two of you in the business. But the truth is, you need to slowly be letting go of things and have other people do them for you because you are not going to be around forever.

Wrapping Up With Some Words From Katie Hunt

Our friend Katie chimed in and said, “You know what? It’s funny, I put myself in the CEO role for this past year and now I want to go back into the trenches.” Which is exactly what WE did. During the early part of our business journey we had encountered a steep learning curve when it came to making hiring decisions and had to make a huge correction. So we are now refining our strategies, refining where we were putting energy, taking stuff back onto our plates because we either miss doing it or we’re just 100 times faster and better at doing it. So until we can perfect a process, we need to take it back on and recognize that one step forward and two steps backward, is sometimes just part of the process. So it’s interesting to hear about people like Katie who are also taking stuff back on as CEO’s. But of course we need to challenge ourselves to be very careful as to what those things are we take on again. At the end of the day, we both started to feel too far removed from our audience and from what was going on with our sales. We can’t allow  that cannot happen again. All of this, however, is a personal decision. You get to decide what your role as CEO is, you own the dang thing after all! This is not something you can decide overnight, you evolve into this role, it doesn’t just happen. It takes time, so take the time to figure where you want to go as a leader of your own company.

Highlights

  • What Does Being A CEO Even Mean? [0:04:12.1]
  • Different CEO Roles For Different Companies. [0:07:30.1]
  • Previous Roles Versus Current Roles As CEO. [0:09:50.1]
  • What Other People Told Us CEO’s Should Focus On. [0:18:00.1]
  • Problems For CEO’s That Wendy Bernard Speaks About. [0:39:00.1]
  • Wrapping Up With Some Words From Katie Hunt. [0:47:00.1]

Today’sGuest

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ABAGAIL & EMYLEE

The Strategy Hour Podcast

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We help overwhelmed and creative entrepreneurs break down their Oprah-sized dreams to create a functioning command center to tame the chaos of their business. Basically, we think you’re totally bomb diggity, we’re about to uplevel the shiz out of your business.

KeyTopics

  • Role of CEO.

  • What is a CEO.

  • Outsourcing.

  • Hiring.

  • Business building.

  • Advice to CEOs.

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