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How Do You Maintain the Passion for Your Business? Six Thoughts

Situation: The CEO of a company is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain the passion that she had when the business was young. Day to day work feels like having a monkey on her back with too much time spent on sales and business minutiae. Too little time is spent on strategy and growth. How do you maintain the passion for your business?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Look at what you like and don’t like – delegate what you don’t like.
    • Delegate activities which are inappropriate for a top executive – like answering the telephone when others are present to do this.
  • Get everybody in the same boat – get them rowing in unison.
    • Delegate more responsibility – with the understanding that others will make mistakes. When they do, they must understand their responsibility for repairing them.
    • Prioritize tasks as they are delegated to reduce conflict or confusion.
  • Strengthen relationships with key suppliers and customers. This is a strategic move to reduce future risk to the company.
  • How did you get the monkey off your back?
    • Ask managers and employees for their input – have them develop solutions. If they push back that they don’t know how or don’t have the resources, let them know that their job is to provide solutions, not just to identify problems.
    • This takes time and patience, but if the CEO is steadfast this can yield results in a surprisingly short period of time.
  • Reduce time spent on sales. Become the closer – the only person who can do that little something to close a sale.
    • Have the others do the heavy lifting our qualifying the customer, developing the solution, crafting the proposal and presenting this to the customer. Limit the CEO’s involvement to reviewing the proposal prior to presentation, and to acting as closer ONLY if sales can’t do the job themselves.
  • Learn to take time off – develop other interests. This is the first step in being able to take longer periods of time off.

How Do You Assure Consist Reliable Service? Six Solutions

Situation:  A company has remote employees who are on a wide variety of schedules. Retaining great employees is a challenge, and with this consistent service due to turn-over. How do they improve the relationships that they have with remote employees? How do you assure consistent reliable service?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Guarantee employee income for a period after they lose a client and as you seek another assignment for them. Limit your exposure by setting hurdles – an employee must have served the company for X time to qualify for this benefit.
  • Create your own “down time” bank. Say you pay an employee $10. Give them $9 and put $1 into a bank so that you can pay them once they lose their current client. The fact that their bank is limited to the amount of these contributions creates an incentive not to draw down the bank.
  • Offer a paid day off per month of service.
  • How do you shift your business from commodity to specialty, as a value add business?
    • What Peace of Mind features could you provide to your clients to create added value and stickiness? For example, can you provide a portal into your system so that clients can access information on the services that you’ve provided, or enhance their ability to communicate with their own clients? What about access to time schedules, account notes, etc.
    • Look for a solution that will shift the industry.
    • Look at menu driven packaging and pricing options. Examples include discount pricing for purchase volume commitments or iPads for a significant level of investment.