Finding your niche as CEO can be difficult. You built your company from the ground up having to do everything yourself and learning on your feet. Now that your business is more stable and has some time in, you find yourself wondering around with a false sense of anxiety because suddenly you have more free time than usual. You don’t have to stretch yourself so thin anymore because now you have employees to help you. Now, you can focus on an area you really want to.
Where does that leave you, the CEO? Being a “jack of all trades” is essential in the startup of any business, but having a general knowledge of every aspect of your company can only get you so far. Now it’s time to focus in on your specialty and show your deep industry knowledge.
Of course you should be knowledgeable about all aspects of how your company works and manages itself; if you’re not, there’s no time like the present! Again, I said knowledgeable, NOT expert.
As CEO, it is your responsibility to well connected in every level of your business. You’re going to wear a lot of different hats and need to be versatile and adaptive to everything that comes your way.
That being said, everyone has areas that they won’t fully understand. It’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to be an expert in every aspect of your business’ inner workings. Whether it’s financials to content production, there are a lot of separate wheels turning that make up your whole company.
Seeing the Picture
The first step in finding out where you fit in your company, is understanding your work and progress flow. You need to create a flow document laying out the steps and progression of your company’s actions. Flashback to elementary school science where you learned about the scientific method. It’s all about repeatable actions for consistent results and controlled variables. Look at each section of your business individually, then look at how it all fits together as a unit and feeds into each other.
You’re not going to know where you fit into the picture if you don’t know what the picture is. Once you know how all the pieces of your business come and function together, then you can start to focus on your strategic part.
Ready for My Closeup
Ok, so you know the ins and outs of your company. You’ve got the progress flow documents framed on the wall and are ready to add yourself into it.
Let’s start the old-fashioned way, make a list!
Ask yourself the following:
What do you like doing most?
What do you struggle with?
What are your particular skills?
Is there an area where you feel you can best affect progress?
Essentially, create a persona document and analyze yourself from a third person perspective. Assess yourself like you would a potential employee and consider what you have to offer and what you can learn. Self-reflection and awareness are important aspects of personal growth, but they can also make you a more effective contributor and leader of in your industry.
There are several skill assessment quizzes that you can take to help you with this process. 16Personalities offers a great personality assessment that breaks down every part of your personality from “strengths & weaknesses” to “workplace habits”. I’m not saying to take the results as gospel, but your results will provide a lot of insight into why you are the way you are. I took the quiz and I was surprised at how accurate my results were. Quizzes like these can help you hone in on your areas of particular skill or interest and knowing this, you can start making a personal plan for you involvement.
As my dad says, “the whole idea is about going deep, not wide”. He’s built Cazbah around this concept and we’ve seen consistent progress from this mindset. Let me explain. You need to have a deep knowledge of something, a skill, a topic, a format.
It’s better to have a deep knowledge of one particular thing and do it better than anyone else, because that makes you irreplaceable. If you spread yourself too thin across too many topics, you run the risk of losing that “expert” title. That specialty is what you will use to set yourself apart from the masses. Even as CEO, there’s never a point to spot growing your skills set, especially if you plan on staying competitive in your market. So find your niche and then challenge yourself to do it best.
For example, my dad, the CEO of Cazbah, is a talented salesman. His degree is in International Business and he loves interacting with people. If he were to try and work in the web design and coding aspect of the company, a lot of pages would shut down and the office would be chaos.
He knows sales is his specialty, so that’s where he concentrates his main efforts. He then surrounds himself with a group of talented individuals who can manage and perform best in the areas that he cannot.
The title CEO implies you have a lot of responsibility, knowledge, and proficiency in your company and industry. As CEO, it is essential that you know the difference between “general knowledge” and “deep knowledge”, and once you do, utilize your specific skills set in one central area of your business. Anyone can know something about everything, but only an expert’s knowledge is valuable and sought after.