So you’ve got your business up and running. You’ve found your groove. In general, work is steady. Everything seems to be ‘on track.’
But in order to stay on a path of progress and keep your business running smoothly, it’s essential to sit down and reflect on your effectiveness.
In short, it’s time to evaluate how you can make your processes more efficient and become a more dynamic CEO.
What makes for an effective CEO?
How do you implement good leadership?
And what are winning strategies for success?
As a business owner, you ask yourself one if not all of these questions on a regular basis. And while there may be many ways to interpret the answers, there are tried and true steps you can take to become the leader your business needs.
That’s why below I want to invite you to explore seven scientifically proven steps that impactful leaders take to increase effectiveness and productivity.
1. Collect feedback and reflect on what your clients are saying.
It goes without saying that as business leaders, we want to keep our clients happy, loyal and engaged. And while we laid the groundwork for strong consumer relationships through extensive market research and positioning, we simply cannot know what our clients actually think of our service without asking them.
Good leaders and CEOs are more effective because they want their clients to succeed by using their product(s) and service(s). In order to make sure this desired result becomes a reality, they regularly collect feedback from their audience and users.
Some of the most effective feedback collection tools include Net Promoter Score surveys, product and/or service satisfaction surveys, chatbots, email surveys, focus groups, as well as social media monitoring and analysis.
2. List top accomplishments and ‘wins.’
Taking account of your victories and successes are crucial to the future advancement of your business.
Because knowing what you’re doing right will lead you to more successes.
And inevitably, when you know what you’re doing right, your opportunities and areas for improvement will also become clear.
The best ways to do this are to evaluate your core activities, analyze your financial position, and review your offer(s).
Try and nail down the answers to the following questions:
When did your products or services perfectly match a customer need?
There is always a moment of synchronicity where your offering lines up with market demand. Think about what brought on these moments of synchronicity. To build on these successes, continue to market and sell the products that are clearly satisfying your consumers.
Which products or services are experiencing consistently high sales?
It’s safe to say that your most successful products and services are usually the most profitable too. Therefore, it’s very important to review your sales numbers. Identify the characteristics that distinguish your most popular products or services. Use innovation to include these characteristics when you launch new products or services.
Which marketing actions and CTAs garnered high engagement?
Another key component of your business success is your communication and relationships with your customers. For this reason, your community’s reaction to your marketing messages and campaigns are big clues to your most effective behaviors. Try replicating these successful and engaging core marketing messages.
Answer these questions and then pat yourself on the back for your successes. These are major victories!
3. Recognize areas of opportunity and address them with strategy.
There is no such thing as a perfect business. Processes and practices can always be improved. Relationships can always be strengthened. New tactics can always be forged.
Hence, it’s great to look at your business with a critical lens.
Be honest with yourself about your weaknesses, or better way to call them, ‘areas of opportunity.’
A good way to do this is to make a list of positive characteristics, traits, and skills that your business idols, competitors and role models have.
Then, make a list of the positive attributes that you possess and compare and contrast the two.
If there are things that are missing from your list, they are your areas of opportunity.
To ensure that these skills are on your list the next time you do an efficiency evaluation, create a plan of action.
What concrete steps will it take to convert these characteristics from opportunities to achievements?
4. Analyze data, revenue, KPIs to see what goals were met/unmet.
Simply put, numbers don’t lie. Track and follow your finances to see where your greatest efficiencies lie.
There are plenty of digital tools that make this not only possible but painless too.
Most of these tools aggregate your data for you into neat, clean formats or graphs.
In fact, tracking data is one of the business pillars that often distinguish successful businesses from the ones that don’t last.
Track all the metrics that you can to see where you’re succeeding and where you’re falling short.
This will give you a great snapshot of your most efficient processes and the ones that need some fine-tuning.
For example, by tracking your website traffic, clicks and retention, you’ll get an idea of how engaging or “sticky” your website is.
If traffic is low during some months you know that you need to direct traffic to your website through marketing campaigns during certain periods of the year.
You’ll see what goals you met and which ones you have yet to reach.
5. Measure communication, networking, and new high-value contacts.
In short, your most profitable and loyal customers will be the ones that have relationships with you and your brand.
This means that taking the time to strengthen old relationships and forge new ones can actually be a hidden money-maker.
However, the efficiency of your communication makes a huge difference.
Track your networking efforts to see how often you engage with potential customers and how rewarding these engagements are.
Note how many LinkedIn messages you send out to prospects, how many outreach calls you make and how many networking events you attend. Then calculate how many of your new connections actually turn into paying customers.
See if you notice patterns in terms of the platform, time of day or format that garners the most new contacts and customers.
You’ll be more tuned-in to the communication behaviors that are the most effective for your business.
6. Check innovation, creativity, and USP(s).
Marshall Goldsmith is quoted with saying “what got you here won’t get you there.”
In fact, it’s the title of one of his bestselling business coaching bibles.
And we couldn’t agree with this statement more.
In order to maximize your effectiveness, you’ll have to get creative.
Doing the same thing again and again is sure to get boring fast both for your business and your customers.
Trying new tactics, doing A/B testing and infusing creativity into your daily business practice aid in efficiencies.
Innovation and creative business practices can be as simple as working from a different room, brainstorming as a team, rearranging a work space, revamping your website or content, journaling or drawing a picture of your ideal business.
It always gets the wheels turning in terms of nailing down your USP or perhaps shifting it.
Either way, integrating creativity into your business more regularly should be a given.
It greatly enhances efficiency instead of detracting from it and keeps your business competitive.
7. Set SMART goals for growth and development.
Last but certainly not least, set goals, schedules, and plans to ensure that you invest your time in the 20% of core aspects of your business that deliver 80% of the results.
A goal backed by a plan is essentially an efficiency roadmap to get you from A to B.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound.
This means that the best goals are simple but meaningful.
Make them straightforward but consider the true impact that reaching them could have on your business.
Make sure they are realistic, possible and within reach.
Yes, shoot for the stars, but shoot for the stars that are within your business’s universe.
Make sure that they are results-based. This means that a goal shouldn’t be loosey-goosey. You can’t track what you cannot measure.
Finally, the goals that drive efficiency are time sensitive.
Set an end date for your action plan and stick to it. Sure, the roadmap may change and there will be unforeseen bumps in the road, but if you cross the finish line at your predetermined time, you’re sure to be more efficient in the long run.
8. To Conclude…
All in all, being a more effective CEO simply uses the right tools, knowledge and develops good habits.
With these seven proven methods, you’re sure to learn some key information about your business that may have been missing.
Everything becomes clearer with the right processes.
Setting goals, being creative, analyzing data, addressing areas of opportunity, celebrating your ‘wins,’ and reflecting on feedback are all crucial parts of the entrepreneurial journey.
…And, of course, they are all intrinsically tied to effectiveness.
Therefore, to become a more effective CEO, incorporate these actions into a monthly, quarterly or yearly model.
You’ll be glad you did when you can look back in one year’s time and marvel at how far you’ve come.