Most of are weak CEOs because we hide in our product.
Most of you own your own company. You’re the CEO by default. And maybe you’re a great CEO.
But most of us aren’t.
The CEO’s job is to increase the company’s value to its shareholders. This is true even if the CEO IS the only shareholder.
The conflict: most of us opened a business to buy ourselves a job doing the thing we love.
Some wanted to make donuts all day long.
I wanted to be a personal trainer for a living.
Maybe you wanted to be an accountant or print t-shirts. You’re probably really great at your job – maybe the best in town.
When you’re an employee, that’s enough. When you own a business, it’s not. Your new job is to grow the business.
Being a really passionate, hardworking expert isn’t enough to grow a business. To grow, you must focus on getting more clients; increasing client value; and keeping clients longer.
Those are hard enough. But you must ALSO hire and manage other people. You must train them to do “the job” as well as you do–or better–so that you can focus on growing the business.
Our job is NOT to get better and better at making the donuts. Our job is to replicate ourselves with a process, delivered with excellence; and then get on to growth. We should create the process as quickly as possible, and then give it to others to execute.
But most of us don’t. Most of us use “product development” as our hiding place.
Instead of calling potential partners, we tweak the product.
Instead of allocating money to marketing, we audit the product.
Instead of learning advertising skills, we add features to the product.
We wind up with something amazing that no one will ever see. Instead of ruling the kingdom, we crouch in a cave, twisting and turning the shiny product in our hands, mumbling like a Gollum about “the Precious…”
What are we hiding from?
- Sales calls
- Marketing introductions
- Firing staff
- Reviewing our KPIs and metrics
- Public speaking
- Training staff
What are some signs that we’re hiding?
- We “update” the product every few months
- We don’t look at our bank account
- We spend more on product development than marketing–even after the product is built
- We do low-value work, like cleanup and ordering
- We make excuses for slow sales (“The industry trend is slow” or “Because Covid”)
- Most of the time, we lie to ourselves to justify hiding.
- “If I just have the best product, eventually people will find me” – (the “if I build it, they will come” lie)
- “I’m not ready to go all-in on marketing until my product is better”
- “I don’t have time to market!”
- “I’ll find someone else to do the marketing for me…”
- “It’s my team’s job to sell this thing. I invented it!”
- “My personality profile is IX for ‘Introverted Expert’ – I’m not a salesman!”
- “If people were interested, they’d ask me how to buy.”
The truth? You’re hiding. I’m hiding. We’re all hiding.
Hiding from our real job by doing our former job.
There’s a reason you opened a business, or wanted to be CEO. What was it? Use that reason as your beacon to come out from your hiding place and grow.