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Accidental CEO

What’s an accidental CEO?  Are you one?

You may or may not know the type.  They’ve spun out of government or a large integrator and had a good consulting gig as a 1099.  They are well connected with their customer (they used to be colleagues) and they deliver.  Since they can deliver, they are asked for additional resources.   They, in turn, hire their trusted network.  Within a few years, they’ve built a 10-20 person show churning $2-10M.

Everything is sunshine for a bit.  The SME/CEO is still billable, doing what they love.

Inevitably, the business side of the business rears up.  The SME finds themselves running a company of highly technical folks, spending most of their time on administrative tasks – cash flow projections, recruiting, contracts, minutia.  They spend less time on customer delivery and more on the day-to-day running of the company.  Their customer becomes frustrated as the SME can’t deliver the same level of service.  The employees become frustrated as their trusted colleague is always busy with other tasks and is often unavailable.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the SME-turned-CEO wakes up wondering how things got to this state.  They hate their day-to-day life.  They hate not delivering to the customer and find themselves questioning why they are running a company.

If this sounds like you, let me be the first to tell you the following:

  1. You are not alone, by a long shot
  2. It’s not uncommon at all
  3. You need to decide on your path forward before you completely lose it

There are several options that can move you out of this state, but before you can move forward, you have to take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself what you want out of your career and what success looks like to you.  For some, it’s a dollar figure in their checking account.  For others, it’s flexibility in working on high-value work.  Still for others, it’s in cultivating a culture that they want.  Regardless of the answer, knowing your definition of success can help guide your path.

Admittedly this is a difficult step to take (aren’t all first steps that way?). Luckily you don’t have to go it alone. BOOST has the resources, personnel, and experience to help guide you through this process. Whether it be executive coaching in the form of mentoring or strategic planning from a whole-business perspective, BOOST can help. Let’s sit down over coffee and discuss your next steps. [email protected]

Goals

New year, new you?  Yup, been there, done that.  How many GovCon business owners start with the best of intentions for the new year?  Any of these sound familiar?

  • This is the year I’m going to break $XM in revenue!
  • This is the year we’re going to follow a formal BD process.  No more bluebird bids!
  • This is the year we’re going after (huge IDIQ).  We’ll have our team solidified 30 days before the bid.
  • This is the year we’re going to invest in our employees.  We’ll do brown bag sessions and offer training courses.
  • This is the year we’re going to have and follow a strategic plan.  We’ll review it quarterly and assess our progress.

I’d venture to say every CEO in this industry has thought at least one of the above in the past week, with the best of intent.  Before this becomes another boring blog on goals and how to attain them, let’s stop and get real.   One of my mantras is that small business owners don’t have time or money to waste.  I know I don’t.  Achieving all of these goals this year would be great.  But in a world of tactical day to day operations, it’s hard to come out from the emails, status meetings, business development, and management of our people.  Let’s face it, running a company is not for the lazy!

So let’s focus on one goal.  One little goal.

Here it is – one goal every business owner should make (and actually do) is to THINK.  This sounds so simple.  I know.  But when was the last time you actually made time in your schedule to think about your company and its future?  When did you last turn off your phone/email/life and spend some time with your thoughts and plans?  Do you remember why you got into your field?  What your end game is?  Are you moving toward your goals?

As owner/CEO it’s on you to have a direction and focus toward which your company is moving.  How can you provide leadership and oversight if you don’t know yourself?

Imagine what a few hours a week or even a couple days a month would do for your company if you took a step back and actually spent time thinking.  You’d know where you were on your goals.  You’d have time to think about the future, competitive landscape, trends, growth potential.  You would also feel like you had a better grasp on the company’s direction.  With a roadmap in front of you, you can spend the other time leading and executing effectively.  Who knows, you may even finally get to those training sessions.

Business owners spend too much time focusing on portions of their to-do lists that can be delegated to others. Every CEO wants to be an expert on all things, but let’s face it, sometimes we need a bit of guidance. Luckily some of us seek to assist leaders in creating plans and moving forward to reach their goals. In fact, if you have questions, I’m happy to offer support.

Need help building your corporate strategy in the federal GovCon space?  Feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected]