The top CEO tasks to scale a business: These are absolutely crucial. You must realise that the CEO is likely the highest paid employee, and as such, his time must not be deployed on low-impact tasks.
The founding entrepreneur typically transitions to be the CEO of the business. However, this may or may not be a permanent move. One of the things that can happen is that the organisation hires a CEO for the business. In that case, the entrepreneur may take on other roles or may just remain on the board instead.
One good example of a non-CEO founder is Ben Francis, who is the founder and majority shareholder of Gymshark. You may or may not have heard of Gymshark before, but you should find out more about it because it’s a modern day David and Goliath story. I love its story, because Gymshark is a fitness apparel and accessories brand founded in 2012 that managed to tremendously outperform the traditional big brands like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour.
To give you perspective, this is a business that’s founded by a 28-year-old former pizza delivery boy, and in 2020 is valued at more than £1 billion. A large part of the business’s success is due to its social media following, and it is significant. It has 4.7 million followers on Instagram, and more importantly, has cornered a lot of the fitness influencer market, which was how the brand got popular.
The thing is, Francis has been Gymshark’s chief brand officer since 2017. When asked why he hired someone else to come in as CEO, he said succinctly: “You’ll need to set your ego aside and ensure the business is always put first, and the people strongest for each role are in those roles.”
When Vodien grew, my co-founder and I started finding the roles that were best suited for our own strengths and personalities. I became the CEO of Vodien, and my co-founder became the COO, and together we complemented each other and made things work.
Despite having roles, it’s still clear that it’s a team effort. We would still help each other, and discuss everything, but we were clear about what roles meant. With roles, ownership of tasks and the final decision-making is left to the role.
The CEO’s top priority is to scale up the business. I see the CEO role as a big responsibility that comes with major sacrifices. I believe in servant leadership, and the CEO role is the greatest servant of the organisation. This is something that you’ll need to be doing for your entire team and your customers.
I know some people who might see it as a prestigious appointment, but make no mistake, if you’re CEO, then you’re the strategist and visionary who is supposed to lead your organisation to success. There might be prestige that comes with a successful job, but it will not be easy or without its sacrifices.
The best way I think about leadership is that it changes the default case. If we let things happen by default, or in other words, we don’t do anything, then some things will still happen. Leadership, particularly effective leadership, changes that default case to something that’s desirable to the leader and the organisation. That’s leadership.
In terms of organisational planning, you must realise that the CEO is likely the highest paid employee. The CEO of a business is typically paid higher not because of the difference of hours worked as compared to the rest of the team, but the difference of the results that the CEO brings. As such, the CEO’s time must not be deployed on low-impact tasks.
This point is tremendously important. It means that if you are the CEO, and if you are spending your time on tasks that anyone else can do, then you are wasting valuable time and resources.
That’s why a CEO must be crystal-clear on what he needs to work on, especially when trying to scale up the company.
Owning the vision is a key fundamental responsibility of a CEO. It is why it’s also an essential part of the 5E Scale Engine that I teach to entrepreneurs to scale up their businesses.
Owning the vision means the creation, iteration, and evolution of the vision over time. As you can imagine, this is not something that you can do if you’re not living and breathing the business.
Besides this, here are 10 other critical tasks that the CEO will need to handle. You might notice that these tasks are very different if you are a 6-figure CEO as compared to a 7/8-figure CEO. These are the tasks that you’ll need to handle as CEO, when you are Super Scaling your business.
10 Uncomfortable CEO Tasks To Scale A Business
- Communicating the vision: This isn’t a small task. You need to tell everyone about the vision, because people are not mind-readers. And it’s not just repeating words off a page – you need to communicate the passion behind the vision, and the exciting future that it entails. Do this for everybody, but primarily for both your team and your customers.
- Owning the business strategy: Businesses are huge, complex beasts. It doesn’t help that they exist within an even more complex ecosystem. Your business needs a strategy, and this must be driven by the CEO. You should have the 3 pillars of a sound business strategy: Near-term, Mid-term, and Long-term.
- Be the public face of the company: this means taking on all marketing, public relations, and communications. You’ll need to be present on all kinds of media that are relevant to your target audience: traditional media and social media.
- Develop strategic partnerships: This is something that the CEO is best-suited for. You can engage with CEOs and top management of other companies so that you can form partnerships.
- Mergers and acquisitions: Organic growth is good, but don’t forget about inorganic growth through mergers and acquisitions. This can be for expanding revenue, acquiring market share, technology, intellectual property, or talent. As the CEO, you should be thinking, considering, and hunting for these deals.
- Build systems: You are the only one in the business who has a clear oversight of all departments and functions. Only you can spearhead initiatives and systems and drive the implementation.
- Recruit and grow an A-star team: One of your main roles is to build up a team. This means recruiting, onboarding, training, and progressing your employees. If systems are not in place yet, then you have to take care of this yourself personally.
- Resolving bottlenecks within the company: Change is a constant, and the other constant is bottlenecks. With any business, bottlenecks will form within your operations. Even department heads can’t solve them, especially if it spans across multiple departments. As CEO, you need to be the one actively putting resources to resolve these bottlenecks.
- Managing and raising capital: You should have a finance team, but the ultimate oversight of your business’s finances should lie with you. That means management of cash-flow and large expenses. In addition, if the business requires capital, you will need to be the person raising it.
- Developing products: You founded the business to solve a market gap. That market gap will change, so don’t neglect this. Your product and service must evolve with the times and changing customer needs. You might find that you have to create better pricing, better features, or even completely new products or product extensions.
These are the 10 critical responsibilities that a CEO must bear. These are fundamentals that apply to any business. In fact, depending on the business that you’re in, there might even be other tasks that the CEO needs to focus on to scale up the business.
When scaling up your business, one of the other things that you can do is to use the ARSAD funnel to ruthlessly increase business efficiency, and focus on the tasks that truly bring your business forward.