5 habits of successful CEOs that small business owners should embrace

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Not many people understand the unique demands of being a small business owner. You have the main role in every initiative and the final say in every decision. If you’re not leading, no one is leading. And just like the CEOs of huge corporations, you shoulder responsibility for the success or failure of your organization.

That’s no small thing.

With so much on your plate, you owe it to yourself to approach management in the most efficient, effective way possible. Adopting a CEO mindset means taking the best practices and KPIs of corporate leaders and translating them for your operation, so you can lead more effectively, ensure future success, and carry your unique responsibilities with confidence.

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How to adopt a CEO mindset?

Every small business is different. So is every big corporation. But there are some habits and key performance indicators that are universal among the most successful leaders. Review these 5 practices that set successful CEOs apart, and reflect on how you can adapt them to manage your small business more effectively.

1. A successful CEO puts in the hours (and knows when to sign off)

CEOs typically put in more hours than the average employee, and the best ones make the most of their time. According to the Harvard Business Review, successful CEOs work an average of 9.7 hours per weekday, 3.9 hours per weekend day, and 2.4 hours on vacation days.

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But that being said, breaks are important too. Focus on shaping your schedule in a way that allows you to live fully at work and at home – allowing time for family dinners, doctor’s appointments, and quality time with loved ones, while maintaining the productivity you need to reach your business goals. Healthy boundaries are an important part of being a successful (and happy) CEO.

2. They understand the market – and where their business stands.

A successful CEO knows that strong sales and marketing strategies start by understanding the market in which their operation exists. They do their research, read industry news, stay up to date on their competitors, and perform the necessary analysis to understand where their company stands as far as strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities go. They also attend industry events whenever possible in order to discuss the current climate with colleagues and competitors.
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Don’t forget to keep your finger on the pulse of your marketplace. It will prove valuable when it comes to establishing or revisiting your unique value proposition and optimizing your sales strategy.

3. They cultivate a strong, engaged team.

A good CEO knows that their company can’t possibly succeed without a strong, motivated team. They not only provide the necessary training and resources to keep their team engaged and informed – they also take the time to listen to employee requests and concerns. This dynamic keeps employee satisfaction high and ensures an organic exchange of ideas.
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As a small business owner with a smaller team, the morale of each individual employee is even more vital to your business’s future. Take a tip from top CEOs and celebrate, listen to, and encourage your employees. You’ll retain your top performers, who will, in turn, help you succeed.

4. They improve internal processes.

Internal processes can either keep a business running smoothly, or they can gum up the works and hinder productivity. Top CEOs regularly examine their company’s internal processes and talk with employees about what’s work, what’s needed, and what needs to go.
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Think about ways you can improve or update internal processes, from your approval processes to your CRM software and beyond.

5. They delegate.

Many CEOs would be inclined to do everything on their own if they could (we bet you can relate), but they know they need to delegate projects and responsibilities in order to accomplish their goals. They put trust in their team – especially those top players they’ve worked hard to retain – in order to keep everything moving at maximum efficiency.
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You have big goals for your business, so trust your team to help you reach them. You can also make the most of your budget by outsourcing services like sales and digital marketing support, ensuring you get the expertise you need without the cost of another full-time employee (or three).

Next steps.

Whether you founded your company or took on ownership responsibilities, you got to where you are because of your experience, leadership skills, and uncompromising vision. Now is the time to take your CEO mindset to the next level – putting in the hours, doing your research, empowering your employees, improving processes, and delegating responsibility in order to achieve even more for your small business.

An experienced sales and marketing partner can help you make the most of your new mindset. Schedule a meeting with a PEER representative to learn more about our solutions. You can also learn more about how we’re helping other small business owners like you by reading our Core10 case study.

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Sara Hanlon

Sara Hanlon is the President and co-founder of Peer Sales Agency. At Peer, she guides clients with sales-focused strategies that unlock revenue and helps them scale. She’s happy to ideate and orchestrate, providing solutions that move the needle.


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