So what can the example of those top paid professionals tell you about how to build your own SMB? There are plenty of self-help books out there that draw from top CEO successes, such as The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People or Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. Just about every high-powered CEO from Lee Iacocca to Donald Trump has published a book with the “secrets” to their success. So what can you learn from the top CEOs in CT? Can their examples teach you about business growth? Absolutely!
There Are Lessons in Common for Every CEO Success Story:
Know your market – Know the role you plan to play in your market. Understand the forces hqat shape the market such as the competitive players, the regulations, and the intangibles that will affect your chosen market niche.
Know your customers – Markets are abstract but customers are tangible. Your customers are individuals with pressures and problems that your company is helping to address. Know your customers and what keeps them awake at night. If you can empathize with your customers and their needs, then you can offer better solutions and build customer loyalty.
Know your products – Have to have an intimate knowledge of your products and services. Understand what you do for your customers. Consider that Apple was built on products that Steve Jobs himself helped to develop. If you know your market and you know your customers, then you are in a better position to know what they need.
Loyal employees make you a winner – No CEO operates in a vacuum. They depend on the team of employees who handle day-to-day operations for their success. Employee loyalty is what drives performance, but CEOs have to earn loyalty. Successful CEOs are leaders, not dictators, and they understand that empowering employees promotes both productivity and loyalty. Workers want to have a sense of achievement and an investment in their tasks as they contribute to the company’s overall success. CEOs can nurture that empowerment by taking care of team members, supporting them and helping them grow without worrying that someone will outshine them or take their job. The best CEOs can expect their employees to volunteer to do more because they believe in the company and its leadership.
Know what you don’t know – CEOs who think they have all the answers seldom go far. The smart chief executives have a solid foundation in business fundamentals, and they know where their expertise is lacking. They know when to ask for help, who to ask to get the best advice, and are savvy enough to know when that advice is unsound in light of best business practices.
Be data driven – Today’s business leaders rely heavily on facts and data. Rather than surrounding themselves with junior executives who tell them what they want to hear, successful CEOs demand unbiased data to guide business decisions. That’s one of the reasons big data initiatives are becoming so popular for businesses of all sizes; because big data helps CEOs harness untapped data to yield new insights.
Delegate to the experts – One of the biggest mistakes CEOs can make is they become distracted by operational issues that detract from the company’s mission. Good leaders stay focused on core competencies and outsource anything that isn’t vital to business operations. Finding the right suppliers and service providers frees the company to address customer needs and business development, and it keeps the company nimble in the event those business needs change. That’s why more successful CEOs are outsourcing their IT support, for example, rather than trying to maintain the own data center.
Money isn’t everything – Although the top CEOs chosen by the Hartford Courant are ranked by their salary, money doesn’t define success. More toys such as expensive cars, big homes, and private jets often create a foundation of failure, since maintaining the lifestyle that goes with such ostentation requires work and it alienates customers, employees, and investors. Money is one way to keep score, but it should rank lower in the overall definition of success.
What the top Connecticut CEOs can teach the small business owner is how to lead. They offer an example that we all can aspire to, but not because they are the top earners, but because they have been able to successfully build their companies using proven leadership strategies. Being open to new ideas and learning from another’s successes are the best way any business leader can get ahead.