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The CEO's role in a business cannot be overstated as everything in terms of production, profit and effectivity all come back to the CEO. While they don't manage everything personally, they over see everyone that does and that can be as much a burden as it is a blessing.
Our CEO, Stacy Jones got to sit down with a business consultant who specializes in business management specifically for CEOs and how they can improve their efforts. In this blog post, Hollywood Branded gains insight on the best practices to running a business as CEO from the expertise of Unstoppable CEO's Steve Gordon.
Steve Gordon is founder of Unstoppable CEO, a company specifically designed to help professional service business leaders approach their company with a new way of thinking to allow breakthrough to real freedom, with a business that grows more and more with less and less effort from you.
Steve has developed marketing strategies and client attraction systems for businesses in over 30 industries, and helps get the businesses back on track to grow independently, allowing CEOs to reclaim their own independence and freedom.
Question: Could you start off by sharing a little bit about your background and what got you to where you are today?
Answer: I always tell people I'm a recovering engineer. So I started off in life with a technical degree. My degree is in this little tiny field of engineering called geomatics. And I got hired out of college as the 10th employee of a little consulting firm here in Florida, and was there for about four years, and then was asked by the CEO to take over and run the business as CEO, and then ultimately be kind of his exit plan. At the ripe old age of 28, I was running a company and not knowing what I was doing at all. And so I got a lot of on-the-job training and paid some expensive tuition at the School of Hard Knocks.
With that business, we're able to grow that. Gravity wise, by about 10 times. And it was a lot of fun. We had a great team. I realized through the course of that that the thing that I loved doing wasn't so much the technical work, but really enjoyed sales and marketing. And I knew that a lot of the service businesses that were friends of ours and folks in our industry and related industries really struggled with how do we go get clients particularly when they felt like maybe they weren't natural at selling.
I'd always approached it from a systems perspective. Like, how can I build a system that will sort of deliver me a client, and do it without me having to spend all my time on business at all. And so I decided to, in 2010, to go off and start of helping businesses do that. And so I've been doing that for almost 10 years now.
Question: So can you start off telling people and sharing with them what are some of the common mistakes CEOs make. What is it that business owners go in and think that they're going to do and where do they actually end up?
Answer: When it comes to marketing, I think the first and fundamental mistake is going too broad. I had a client, he described his market as anyone with a heartbeat and a wallet. It's impossible when your definition of a potential client is that broad to actually create a message that's meaningful to any of them. And so I think the biggest mistake is not focusing on who you really want to be a hero to in your business. And when you get that focus, all of a sudden things open up.
Opportunities that were there before but you couldn't see them, they become visible to you. You're tuned in to them. I mean we see it time and again with our clients. We come in and we sort of force them to narrow down their marketing focus and get their message really focused in on one particular type of client, and all of a sudden they start picking up momentum and speed. Because everything just gets easier when you're speaking to a specific group of people.
Question: That makes absolute sense. And so with all of the different things in marketing that one can do and going sideways and going too broad with that, what are some other things that CEOs typically do that may hinder them a little bit in business of running a business?
Answer: I look at the CEO as having really four roles. And so the first is to set the vision for the organization, obviously. Second is to take that vision and translate that into a core message. So you're responsible for vision and message. The third is to take care of the relationships, the key relationships in the business, and those are internal and external. And then the fourth is to look at from kind of a high level, what are the systems that we need to get where we're going. Not go and build all of these systems, but really begin to think about how do we put this together.
And what I see most CEO is doing is a whole lot of other stuff that doesn't fit into any of those four buckets. And I think the whole game that we're playing in leading businesses is about stripping away everything that doesn't fit in those four buckets and getting them done some other way. Whether it's automation, or getting them delegated, or however they get done. So that you can focus on the things that are going to move the business forward.
Because at the end of the day, it's the relationships that are are compelled by the vision that you have and compelled by the message that you're communicating to them, and then the systems that deliver underneath that to create a result. And that's the business, and everything else is just noise. I think we get distracted by it way too much. I think it's a huge, huge mistake that most CEOs make.
And growing the business is hard to do, particularly in smaller organizations, it's really hard to do because you're wearing a lot of hats. And so you've got to begin to look for ways to create time where it doesn't currently exist. I'm not going to sit here and tell anyone that what they're doing currently is wrong and they're bad, but there's a better way. And I know that getting there isn't necessarily an easy thing and it's not an overnight thing, but you want to begin working in that direction I think and getting there as quickly as you can.
Question: So there's a better way. How do they go about it? What's the first step?
Answer: Well, we could talk about it broadly across all business and maybe that's the first place to start. And oftentimes you know, we work with companies on their marketing, but particularly for smaller companies, when I'm working with the business owner, the first thing we have to do is free up time so that that business owner can work on the four things that we just talked about.
The fastest, simplest way to do that is to go hire an assistant. And I am shocked at the number of business owners that are walking around these days without having a personal executive assistant totally dedicated to them. That'll instantly free up a pile of time. And now you can take that time and use it on your marketing, and your message, and the relationships that you need to grow the business. But until you can free your time up, you're sort of stuck.
Question: And what else should someone do?
Answer: We obviously think marketing is pretty important, right? Because that's what we do. I think that's a big lever. So once you've got a little bit of time, then I think you want to be looking at how can I start to build systems that will take someone from being a complete stranger, in other words, they're not aware of our business, introduce them to the business and bring them along a journey so that they are prepared to become a client. And begin thinking about how you're going to do that.
So there are really sophisticated ways of doing that and for bigger businesses, those are awesome probably the more appropriate thing to do, particularly if you got a marketing team that can go and and create that for you, and a sales team that can fulfill on those leads as they come in. But if you're smaller company, you've got to find a way that's really leverage, where you're getting a lot of bang for for every bit of time that you put into it.
Wan to keep learning more of Steve's suggestions on the best approaches to running your business? Check out the rest of the interview on our podcast!
Want to learn more tips from other entrepreneurs, business owners and marketing experts? Check out these other podcast interview highlights!
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Topics: Business Advice, Podcast Interviews, HB Podcast