A CEO’s success is determined by an ability to respond to the needs of the many moving parts of the business, from strategic direction to office space to personnel issues.
With all this demand for the CEO’s time and expertise, it’s easy to lose sight of the things that most contribute to your company’s strength. But successful CEOs keep focus on four key areas that drive business growth and profit.
The more focused you are on the drivers of business growth, the faster the company will grow. It’s critical to set aside time to focus on each of the following:
Ask yourself these key questions:
Do I really enjoy coming to work every day?
Would I enthusiastically rehire everyone on staff?
If the answer to either of these is “no,” chances are you have a People problem.
Your team is usually your biggest business investment. You should manage it as you would your stock portfolio or your supply chain. If any element is underperforming, you should be assessing your team. And performance for your team is more than work output. If any piece of your team is harming the company morale, sapping excessive resources, reserving their best efforts or causing conflict, they’re likely more expensive than you know.
If sales are up but profits are down, you’re likely dealing with a challenge in Execution.
Many businesses build their strategic advantage out of top-notch execution. Great execution can drive down your cost of sales while improving customer satisfaction, brand and market recognition. How does your company deliver on its promises? How is your customer experience? Do you have systems in play that help you control time, effort and resources in a way that provides the best possible outcomes? Addressing issues in execution can boost profits in the very short term. Just start looking for opportunities to improve.
The critical questions to ask yourself here are around sales growth, including:
Are sales growing?
How many months in a row have sales and profits exceeded plan?
If you don’t see months and months of strong sales performance, and it’s not an execution problem, then the challenge is likely Strategy.
It’s not enough to have a great product or service. You have to be proactively looking at ways to achieve revenue growth. Comprehensive marketing and sales plans can help you determine how you’re going to get in front of the right people and how you’re going to win a sale.
A cash problem can be insidious. If sales are up and profits are up, it’s easy to take your eye off the ball when it comes to Cash. Good cash management requires looking at your cash balance daily. Cash should be growing continuously. If it’s not, check if it’s an internal problem or if you’re seeing a cash shortage due to growth in other areas. If growth is the problem, it’s time to plan for how to fund future growth without tapping your cash reserves.
The solution is unique to the problem. Start by clearing the decks to make time to deal with the issue; it won’t clear up if it’s swept under the rug. If you’re not sure where to start, consider some outside help (you can always contact me) to analyze the situation fully. Whatever you do, it’s critical that you make the necessary changes now to build a platform for bigger success in the future.