Being a CEO of a startup or a small business is very different from being a CEO of a company that is already successful. What exactly is the role of a CEO in a small business in South Africa. Let’s look at the roles you will have to play in your startup.
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A CEO of a small business is responsibly for everything; you will have to take on virtually every role. This pushes you to learn new skills, especially if you can’t afford to hire people; you will have to do everything yourself. Here are a few things to focus on.
The main role of a CEO of any company, is to come up with an executive strategy. To decide the direction that the company will take, set goals and devise ways to achieve them. As a CEO; you are being paid to think; to make high quality decisions.
A lot of CEOs in startups don’t even know what the next three months of the business will look like. They’re hoping for a big break that will come “someday”. That’s not an efficient way to run a business; you have to have a timeline, that is based on calculations and certain metrics.
For this reason; you must not sacrifice your mental health; don’t spend hours working and only sleep for 5 hours. It’s not healthy and will definitely affect the quality of the decisions that you make. There are times when you will barely catch some sleep; but that should be done when you are under immense pressure; don’t overwork yourself as a lifestyle; it does more harm than good.
Managing company finances
You also have to manage your company finances; most small businesses; especially in South Africa; can’t afford to have a full-time accountant. The role of managing finances is left to the CEO, including raising funds for the business.
For this; you have to learn some basics of accounting and be able to use Microsoft Excel; to help keep track of all finances. You have to have good knowledge of the financial state of your company. Especially if you want to raise funding from investors.
Being a CEO is more like being the government; you have to allocate capital to certain departments of the business. Some will get more money than others; it is your responsibility to draw and set a budget. This is magnified in a small business; where you have too many ideas but very little capital to pursue them. You have to allocate capital to the products you think will perform well.
Creating company culture
This is very important as it will affect the behaviour of your employees; if you have them. You should strive to create a culture that rewards excellence, creativity and integrity. A lot of employees generally try to mimic the CEO, a dishonest CEO will create a culture where employees feel like they can cut corners and get away with things.
Create a culture that your employees want to be a part of; one that gets them motivated. Your employee’s level of motivation directly affects production.
Part of the CEO’s job description is to delegate tasks, this means you have to hire people; who in turn can hire other people; within the limits of the budget. However, you barely have any employees when you are just starting out; this means that you have to do almost everything yourself or outsource some tasks to freelancers.
Using freelancers is probably your best option; instead of hiring an IT guy, pay a freelancer to build a website for you and have them maintain it. As the company grows; you should delegate more tasks and spend your time devising the executive strategy.
This was an overview of the roles a CEO has to play in a small business; these roles include marketing, sales, production, designing and everything in between. Do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below.