Wait, eight!? Isn’t it just…me?
Yes, of course it is. But, there are eight fundamental areas in your business that require you to wear different hats, making you an eight-sided CEO. That’s a lot, so I applaud you for taking on that endeavor! If it feels like you’re carrying more than you can handle, know that you’re not alone.
Many entrepreneurs—particularly solopreneurs—reach a point where their business is growing faster than their capacity. When this happens, they either need to streamline their operations to simplify their workload or they need to hire some help (whether that’s in the form of employees or a coach to help optimize their business). Some might need to do both.
If you’re wondering how to start cleaning house and creating an operational structure that works for you, it all starts with the 8 CEO hats you’re wearing. Let’s break down each one.
Money matters! That’s why financials are one of the most important areas for entrepreneurs to manage. As the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of your business, you must know how much money is coming in and going out at any given time.
You don’t have to pull exact figures from the top of your head, but you should be able to forecast your expected revenue and expenses each month so you don’t make any costly mistakes. Managing your money allows you to know what’s doable in terms of new opportunities, like purchasing new software, hiring a new team member, or renting a storefront.
Without proper operations, a business lacks strategic foresight and will struggle to meet goals (if there even are any). Your role as COO (Chief Operating Officer) means you are responsible for overseeing day-to-day admin, setting goals, developing a company culture, designing processes, and promoting business growth (i.e. partnerships, investments, new hires, etc.).
It’s your job to keep everything organized and maintained so your team can be productive and efficient (even if it’s just you!). To put it simply, you must ensure your business remains functional and sound with potential for growth.
What’s a business without happy clients? Even if your finances and operations are organized, a poor customer experience can tank a business. All it takes is a few unsatisfied clients leaving bad reviews about your company for sales to plummet.
Thus, you must prioritize your role as CXO (Chief Experience Officer) to ensure business continues to flow in and your happy clients go out and refer your services to other people. As CXO, you must ensure your brand identity is cohesive and aligns with your products and offerings, as well as implementing customer service initiatives to guarantee a reliable, positive experience for anyone that associates with your company.
Large corporations have CIOs (Chief Information Officers), but I prefer to think about this role as a Chief Systems Officer. This is less IT-based and more about using tech to develop structures that set your business apart from competitors. Some of your responsibilities as CSO may overlap with those of a COO, which is natural because great operations are built upon great systems.
While operations are more of a big-picture look at one’s business, systems are the tools and tactics that bring the business to life. Think of how your customer relationship management (CRM) software or project management (PM) platform keep your workflow steady. Your job here is to always be on the hunt for better systems that can improve your business’ operations.
Yep, you are your own Chief of Staff, too! If you have a team already, this means you serve as a leader to all of your employees whether they are on payroll or contractors. You are responsible for ensuring they have everything they need to perform their job and meet expectations, as well as providing feedback to help them improve in their role.
If you’re on your own, you might not worry about wearing this hat right now. But, when you reach a point where you need help (and you will!), you will be responsible for navigating every step of the hiring process, from writing the job description and conducting interviews to selecting the right candidate and onboarding them.
Products + Offerings
Of course, what’s a business without its actual offerings? Whether you’re product-based or service-based, you need to be putting out quality work — otherwise, you’ll never be able to keep your customers happy.
As a CPO (Chief Product Officer), it’s your duty to design, develop, and manage great offerings that solve your ideal clients’ needs. While mostly an internal responsibility, it does involve going out to the market to gather feedback that will help you adjust and improve your products and services to better serve your audience.
Now, let’s talk about your role as CMO (Chief Marketing Officer). You have established a great selection of offerings, but they won’t sell if people don’t know about them! Visibility is all about marketing your brand in a way that captures people’s attention and convinces them to take action.
This is where you need to elevate your social media presence, create compelling blog content, and send impactful sales emails to attract new customers and build the Know, Like, Trust factor that will get them to say “yes, please!” to your offerings.
Remember: While you carry all of these responsibilities for your business, you are also CEO of your personal life. The best business owners and the best leaders are those who recognize the importance of self-development and continuing education.
Create a system that allows you to nurture yourself beyond your business, so you can prioritize rest, outside passions and hobbies, and learning opportunities for personal growth. When you keep yourself fresh and inspired outside your work, you’ll find yourself bringing that energy inside your business.
As you work through each of these areas of your business, you will find new solutions to tame each of them and find simplicity in your work life once and for all. Running a business will always present new challenges to an entrepreneur, but it will really only be as difficult or as easy as you make it!
If you need a helping hand in navigating these areas of your business, Jen’s your person. Get in touch with her to learn where to take your business next.
System & Workflow Strategist
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