9 Things CEOs Should Stop Doing If They Want To Scale
Charles E. Gaudet II discussing the nine things that CEOs should immediately stop doing to better grow their business
When you’re first building a company, much of the success of that business depends on your sole efforts. Even as you scale to your first seven figures and gain momentum, it’s largely a function of sheer effort and hustle. So it’s not surprising that the instinct for most founders looking to get to the eight and nine figure marks is to continue to focus on working harder and doing more. The paradox is that building a sizable company at scale actually requires doing less and using the concept of leverage.
Charles E. Gaudet II is the CEO and founder of Predictable Profits, one of the leading coaching firms for seven and eight figure entrepreneurs looking to scale to the next level. As the author of the 2014 book, The Predictable Profits Playbook: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Dominating Any Market — And Staying on Top he quite literally wrote the book on what it really takes to scale. In a recent interview, Gaudet discussed the nine things that CEOs should immediately stop doing to better grow their business. Here are some of the highlights!
Taking advantage of opportunities that don’t fit your core business
When they’re first starting out, entrepreneurs often say “Yes!” to every opportunity; however, there comes a time when businesses simply “max out of time and resources.” Remember, saying yes to one opportunity means saying no to another.
Overcommitment dilutes everyone’s focus and wastes time. Instead, carefully pick opportunities and focus on those that lead to sustained growth.
Predictable Profits coaches clients to “eliminate distractions and remove the guesswork” so they know the most important thing to immediately focus on to reach their goals.
Engaging with headaches
An important key to creating a positive company culture is to make a list of “non-negotiable laws” that apply equally to clients, vendors, and team members. In other words, one hard and fast rule should be “no headaches”.
What this means is?
Everyone treats one another with politeness and respect. Actions are documented into processes that are easy to follow so that the company isn’t overly dependent on the CEO. Employees are “solutions-oriented” — when a problem arises, the question is “How do I fix it?” Don’t make excuses; instead, take ownership — the buck really does stop with the CEO. Most importantly, CEOs need to follow through to do what they say they will.
Working longer hours
According to Parkinson’s law, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” CEOs must limit the number of hours they work. Leading effectively means “working smarter, not more”. Restricting their time forces CEOs to innovate and think of new ways to accomplish tasks.
As companies grow, CEOs have more demands on their time. However, to be effective, they must “do only the most important tasks and delegate, delete, or automate the rest”.
Thinking ‘only I can do it’
Despite the inability to replicate themselves, CEOs often think, “Only I can do it.” This common trap limits growth and scalability. In other words, CEOs need to trust their people to do their jobs so CEOs can do theirs.
Dr. W. Edward Deming once declared, “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing.”
Instead of doing everything themselves, CEOs need to become “more scalable and create systems and processes around all repetitive activities.” Teams can then be trained to follow the process while watching for variation in the results. Variation can be removed through “optimization, consistent training, and monitoring.”
When CEOs engage in repetitive tasks, they are “working the business” instead of “growing the company”. CEOs should list all of the repetitive tasks they have been doing and delegate them to a capable employee or automate through technology.
Without having to perform repetitive tasks, CEOs can focus on company growth.
Doing most of the selling themselves
It’s common for CEOs to be among the top salespeople in their companies; however, “that doesn’t mean they should be selling”. A CEO as a salesperson provides short-term revenue boost; however, according to Gaudet, CEOs should be “developing new capabilities, innovating new products/ services, forming new partnerships, and creating new profit centers to further scale the business”.
Maintaining the status quo
Business is dynamic. The competitive landscape evolving and changing all of the time—so too are customers’ needs. Failure to evolve is one of the leading causes of companies failing. To grow their businesses, CEOs must pursue growth and change.
Thinking too small
Thinking small is often associated with complacency. CEOs must ask whether their business is too dependent on the CEO and a few key employees driving everything. Break the habit and start thinking big.
Profits are fine; many people are in business to make profits. However, it’s critical to reinvest at least a portion of your profits back into growth. Look for areas that need investment, such as marketing, advertising and labor.
In other words, take some of the profits and reinvest in the business.
Following these guidelines can help CEOs to focus on what’s important — growing their businesses — while avoiding distractions.