Sometimes, running your own business can feel a little bit like you are playing in a one-man band. When you are at the helm of the company and therefore in charge of everything the business does, letting other people in to have their say can often be a bit daunting. It’s no wonder that so many entrepreneurs are self-confessed ‘control freaks.’ After building your business from the ground up (maybe even turning over a huge fortune off the back of one small investment), giving anyone else control over that is naturally a very big step. Of course, you probably have made some mistakes along the way in your business journey; but you are still convinced that you and you alone know best. While that may in true 90% of the time, a little bit of help never goes amiss. By listening to other people, you may gain a much clearer perspective on where you can take your business next, and open your eyes to opportunities you otherwise may have missed. Plus, no one is Superman. As a CEO you will have a lot on your plate, so it’s pretty unlikely that you will be able to be a great leader, a marketing whizz and a super-organized accountant all at the same time! If you try to be all these things, you will notice that you burn out very quickly – and when you burn out, you are more likely to make mistakes too. The moral of the story, therefore, is that you don’t have to go it alone when it comes to business. But just WHO are the people you need on your side in order to push your company to new heights?
Even if you are a running a creative business – even if you are running a non-profit organization – chances are there’s going to be money involved somewhere down the line. If you are not naturally financially-minded, this is where things can easily get messy. You need to be able to keep a recorded track of all your company’s finances, and that means everything that comes in and everything that goes out. If you have employees to pay, you will need to account for them in all your records, and also be aware of things like tax and VAT. Sound complicated? Well yes, it can be. That is why a lot of CEOs hire a business advisor to help them organize their finances. A good business finance expert can help you to manage your various outgoings while working towards a shared financial goal. You could even see if they could help you with your own personal finances, so that you keep them entirely separate from your company, even if you are paying yourself a wage.
Promotion and PR experts
So much of your business’s success relies on how you are perceived in the public eye. A good public image keeps current and past relations sweet, and also holds you in good stead for attracting new clients in the future. However, creating and maintaining this sterling public image is not as easy as you may think. Sticking the odd testimonial on your website and updating your social media every couple of weeks unfortunately isn’t enough. In order to engage with and appease clients, you need to be as visible as possible in the public sphere. Therefore, you should consider hiring an in-house marketing and PR professional who can promote your carefully crafted public image – and hold the fort if anything goes wrong. A PR nightmare can often prove disastrous for small to medium enterprises, but as the CEO, the last thing you need is for it to impact on any current business deals you are closing. A professional PR expert will be able to smooth over any bad press that comes your way, and that leaves you free to focus on the things that really matter.
Human resources is an integral part of any business’s structure. It is responsible for hiring and firing, for organizing and dealing with any problems staff may have. As the business leader, you will soon find that you simply don’t have the time to be sorting out employee holidays, or finding suitable cover for someone’s maternity leave. This kind of thing can often take longer than you expect it to, and when it eats into the time you could be spent actually making money, you know you have a problem. Recruit a strong HR team who will be able to manage your internal team for you.
Your own support network
This isn’t anything to do with the inner workings of your company, as such. But something that is really underestimated is the importance of having a good support network around you. Business can be brutal, and much of the time you might find yourself chasing dead ends and encountering a lot of stress at the hands of your company. It will and almost always does work out in the end – but that doesn’t mean that this ‘in between’ period isn’t any less stressful. During times like these you need to make sure you are surrounded with positive people who will help you through any difficulties you are having. Even if it’s just having an understanding partner who has your dinner prepared when you get home from the office, or your best friend listening to you rant about all the stressful things you’ve encountered recently, it can all help. Even if you are heavily committed to your business, it is never worth losing sight of yourself as an individual. Even CEOs need a work/life balance too, after all! Make sure you are spending enough quality time with friends and family and give yourself a break every now and again. With the support of your loved ones, you can then return to work rejuvenated and ready to take on the next big challenge.