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What Is Your Role as CEO?

by | Last updated: Jul 21, 2022 | Podcast

My entrepreneurial dad taught me that you have to fire yourself from every other position in your business. But when you first start your business, you have to wear so many hats: customer service, bookkeeper, tech person, assistant, and so on. So it can be quite challenging to let go of some of the roles as you grow your business and your team.

Today kicks off a new podcast series that discusses how you can become more productive and focuses as a CEO. And in this episode, I talk about how to redefine your role as CEO of your business so you don’t become the bottleneck that holds everything up.

On this episode of Promote Yourself to CEO:

3:56 – Why is it so difficult to let go of the other roles and stay in your CEO lane as your business grows?

7:07 – Founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely, gave insight on how she had to learn to get out of her own way.

12:05 – You being the bottleneck in your business has this unintended consequence as well.

13:06 – How can you start redefining your role as CEO? I reveal the first thing I did and some red flags that signal you’re getting in the way.

17:29 – I discuss the role of the traditional CEO in defining their business’s vision. I also share my favorite exercise to get clarity on your business’s vision.

22:00 – CEOs also have a responsibility to set the culture for the company. I talk about one of the values I’ve had for my business since the beginning.

26:36 – What’s the difference between how corporate CEOs go about creating the strategic plan for their business vs. small business CEOs?

28:49 – I discuss how running a small business team contrasts with running a large company team and how that’s reflected in my business.

31:53 – This final role-playing piece for CEOs is one of the most difficult. It’s the one thing you can’t outsource.

38:35 – Where do you need to put your time, energy, and attention so that you can focus on generating business growth and results? To get clear on this, here are some questions to ask yourself.

48:44 – I share how the avenues where I focus my time, energy, and attention on show up in my business every week and month.

56:15 – How do I divide up my time between doing all the things I’m focused on in my business?

Show Links

Racheal Cook: Do you think of yourself as a CEO? For years, I didn't. I happily thought of myself as just an entrepreneur. That's it. Just a humble, small business owner doing work that I loved from home while raising my babies. After all, who was I to give myself the title of CEO when my business didn't have dozens of employees? My business wasn't generating millions of dollars. My business wasn't a household name brand like Spanx. Sara Blakely? She could call herself a CEO. She had all of those things. And because she was the CEO of Spanx, she had the confidence to pitch her products to Oprah or to Neiman Marcus. She had an entire team to support her in growing her business. She had the funds to grow, grow, grow. But here's the thing. She had none of those things when she started off as a CEO of Spanx.

Racheal Cook: If you haven't heard her story, she started with just $5,000 and an idea. She didn't wait until she had the confidence or the team or the connections or the funding. She didn't even know how to make the product she wanted to create. But she showed up. She landed that Neiman Marcus deal by taking the buyer into the lady's room and literally showed herself a before and after. First, her wearing the white pants without Spanx. And then she went into the bathroom stall, put on the Spanx and then the white pants and showed the buyer the results. That is the opposite of a fancy pitch. That's connecting on a human to human, woman to woman level.

Racheal Cook: What I've learned from watching amazing women CEOs and leaders like Sara Blakely is that you can't wait to have more time, more money, more followers, more team to take yourself and your business seriously. You have to start showing up like the CEO of the business that you want to build. So today I want to talk with you about defining your role as the CEO of your business.

Racheal Cook: Are you ready to grow from solopreneur to CEO? You're in the right place. I'm your host, Racheal Cook. And I've spent the last decade helping women entrepreneurs start and scale service-based businesses. If you're serious about building a sustainable business, it's time to put the strategy systems and support in place to make it happen. Join me every week for candid conversations about stepping into your role as CEO, the hard lessons learned along the way, and practical profitable strategies to grow a sustainable business without the hustle and burnout.

Racheal Cook: Before we dive into today's episode, I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you so very much for tuning into the show and listening to me twice a week. When I'm recording each episode, it's literally just me sitting down with my microphone and my laptop all by myself in my office. So it's easy to wonder, is there anyone really out there listening to me? And I really love and appreciate when you take the time to let me know that you are. So anytime you are snapping a screenshot of the podcast and sharing it on Instagram or taking a moment to leave a review on Apple Podcasts, I just want to let you know how much that means and how much I appreciate it.

Racheal Cook: So today's listener shout out is from Inhale Life on Apple Podcasts. She says, "Inspiration included. I love this podcast. It's packed full of practical and inspirational instructions on how to up your game in the service based business field. Racheal offers so much high quality free content through her podcast and free challenges that it didn't take much for me to sign up for her business mastermind group, Sweet Spot Strategy. If she was giving away this great stuff for free, the paid stuff must be fantastic. Sweet Spot Strategy and the podcast workshop style fit like a glove for me and my business."

Racheal Cook: Thanks so very much. You nailed the mission for this show, to provide practical and profitable strategies to help you up your game. And I'm so glad that you joined us inside of Sweet Spot Strategy. Now on to today's show.

Racheal Cook: So what does it actually mean to be the CEO of your business? As entrepreneurs, when we get started, we're literally all the things. We are the CEO, the marketing team, the sales department, customer service, operations, tech support. We do everything just to get our business off the ground. But over time as our business gets more established, as it grows out of the startup stage, we are able to create systems that allow us to streamline our workflows, that allow us to automate some of these tasks or that even allow us to outsource or hire support. We start thinking very quickly how can we get some of the workload off of our plate so that we can get back to the high value revenue generating tasks that we know we need to be focused on.

Racheal Cook: This transition from solopreneur to CEO can be incredibly challenging. Not only are you facing a big mindset shift in the way you look at yourself and your role in your own business, but there's a lot of tactical things you have to figure out as you navigate this shift from doing it all yourself to passing the workload off to team members. And you want to make sure that you're not becoming the bottleneck in your business.

Racheal Cook: Every single time I have found myself slowing down in the business, it's because I've become the bottleneck and I haven't stayed in my lane as the CEO. We all go through this really kind of overwhelming stage of growth. I was inspired looking at Sara Blakely's Instagram feed, and I'm going to share a post that she popped into her Instagram recently showing the very beginning startup stages of Spanx. She would have the Spanx delivered to her apartment door. And when the UPS guy showed up, they would stack boxes and boxes and boxes of Spanx all up in front of the front door to her apartment. She was living in a small two-bedroom apartment at the time. And she would get home from her day job where she was selling fax machines while she was building Spanx. And she would have to move all these boxes away from the front door just so she could get into the apartment.

Racheal Cook: And then that second bedroom? That was her shipping and distribution center where she would literally take all the Spanx that had been shipped to her from the manufacturer and then repackage them and start to ship them out. That was the beginning stages. It took a lot of her time and energy. She was doing this on the side, going after this dream by herself. But as she could, she started to focus on where she provided the most value to her business. She didn't continue being the shipping and distribution center. She figured out someone else who could take that off of her plate. She didn't continue with the operations of running the business and manufacturing everything. She let somebody else take that off her plate. She realized her highest and best value was on landing the deals, on pitching herself to Oprah, on pitching herself to Neiman Marcus, and continuing to go out there and be the face and the story behind this brand.

Racheal Cook: The after picture she showed was super inspiring, going from seeing literally boxes piled up to the roof line of her apartment to suddenly seeing this huge warehouse where she has an entire team in place to distribute Spanx around the world. So I share this because everybody who has done something and created something larger than them has gone through this journey of trying to figure out "How do I get this stuff off my plate? How do I streamline? How do I really step in to what is the highest and best value for my business?"

Racheal Cook: So today I wanted to share with you a process to help you define your role as the CEO of your business. The first thing that we all do when we decide its time to get some help is we sit down and we write a job description. The first job description I ever wrote was for a virtual assistant, because I knew I needed some customer service support. I needed someone who could manage all of my clients. I needed someone who could answer all the emails, who could run my calendar and kind of be my behind the scenes gal to make sure that everyone who had hired me or who had signed up for a program was well taken care of. It was not my zone of genius. It often left me feeling overwhelmed or stressed out. That was the first thing I needed to get some support with. And having that job description made it so much easier for me to find that first person and for them to know exactly what I was looking for, exactly what they were responsible for.

Racheal Cook: But you know what's funny? I realized I never really redefined what my role was. So I would find myself getting my little fingers all over their work. I would wonder what was going on in the inbox and open it up. And suddenly I'd get a note from my assistant saying, "Rache, you shouldn't be in here. This is my job. I got it." And this all came from me not having a clear, clear picture of what my new role was now that those responsibilities were taken off my plate. So the idea of defining your role as CEO, of really creating your own job description, will help you to stay laser focused on the areas of your business, the tasks that really drive results. And it will make it so much easier for you to see what makes sense for you to outsource, where you need to hire some support, or where you just need to get out of the way and let your team handle it already.

Racheal Cook: So when we're talking about being a CEO, literally if you go on Google and google CEO job description, the first thing you're going to get is more corporate, traditional CEO job descriptions. And that can be really helpful for us, but there's a little bit more we got to add in there as entrepreneurial CEOs.

Racheal Cook: So let's start this conversation by talking about what it means to be a CEO in the more traditional sense. Well, the CEO of a more traditional company, a more traditional organization is somebody who's at the very, very top of that entire organizational chart. They're the ones who are in charge. And being in charge means, first, they've got to define the mission and the vision. They've got to define where the business is headed. Everybody looks to them to be the person who's saying, "This is the direction we're going. These are the goals we're setting." And without that mission and vision, they can't really get people all in alignment about what they should be focused on. Without that mission and vision, it's really easy for the team to kind of fall apart, because no one really understands what the priorities are.

Racheal Cook: So the first thing that that traditional CEO does is they define the mission for the statement. What does this company stand for? What is the primary focus for this company? And then the vision. Where are we going? What are our goals? What are we trying to accomplish? So that's the first piece, mission and vision. You can literally Google how do I create mission and vision statements and you'll find a ton of information. But if you can summarize it into, "Where do I want to go in the next three years?" asking yourself, "What do I want my company to look like in the next three years? What do I want my team to look like? Who are my customers? How am I serving them? What do I want to be known for? All of those things will help you craft a vision.

Racheal Cook: I really love the exercise from a book called Double Double by Cameron Herold. And he calls it the Painted Picture exercise if you've ever taken... I think I talk about this in my Fired Up and Focused challenge, but I also wrote about it in one of my books in the Fired up and Focused book. I would recommend just googling Painted Picture Cameron Herold. I'll put the link in the show note. How about that? But it's a really great exercise just to get you thinking about what is it that you're building, what do you envision your company looking like, your business looking like three years from now.

Racheal Cook: The mission piece I, again, kind of what do we stand for? And if you listen to my episode, the Confessions episode where I confessed that I've been a little bit lazy as an entrepreneur, you'll hear a bit of my mission because I really laid out all the things that I'm standing for in my business. Those two things are incredibly helpful. They're like the latitude and longitude to help you chart the course and then lead your team there, lead your business there.

Racheal Cook: The next thing that the CEO is responsible for is the culture. So this is something as a company of one, it can almost feel like I don't have a culture. It's just me. But as you start to bring people on, it is so important that they all know what your values are as an organization, and that everybody's on the same page. In fact, your culture can become a big part of your overall brand and your brand experience. So this is something that you want to really have defined for yourself.

Racheal Cook: So one of the values that I've just had since the moment I started my business was that life comes before business. I've been in the situations where it felt like it didn't matter what was going on in my life, my work came first. And I have seen this play out for so many people in so many organizations where literally women have been going into labor with their cell phones in hand typing out emails because they were worried that something had to get done even though they're about to go through this major life transition. I've been through the experience of working for companies where it was totally normal to them to think that you should be on call 24/7. The moment those dang BlackBerrys came out, I swear I never got away from my email. In fact, I felt like I was tied to that dang thing.

Racheal Cook: So for me, life comes before business. And that means in our business, in my business, not only do we have clear kind of office hours for me. I'm very clear with my community when I do and when I don't work. You won't see me sending emails on the weekends. You won't see me responding to questions in our Facebook groups on the weekends. You probably won't see me getting any work done on the weekends, because I don't work on the weekends. And if something was actually happening in my life, I've designed the business to allow me to put life first. And I encourage my team to do this as well. They communicate with me when something's going on in their life so that we can take the load off of them. So that if they have an emergency, we've got their back or if they're just traveling or celebrating their kid graduating or anything that is an important life experience they want to really be there for.

Racheal Cook: So we have to lead by example with this because it is the opposite of honestly what I feel like a lot of cultures are in business and in society. So this is really part of the fabric of the business that I am trying to create and what I want to make sure everyone who works for me or everyone who hires me or signs up for one of my programs really knows and understands. Life before business.

Racheal Cook: Okay. The third part of a traditional CEO role is going to be around creating the strategic plan. This is what you do in order to get to where you're going. Now, businesses are all different. A huge Fortune 500 company, maybe that CEO is not sitting down and actually creating the strategic plan. Maybe they have different executives who are all coming together to figure out what that strategic plan is going to be. But at the end of the day, the CEO is the one responsible for putting their stamp of approval on it, for committing to it and then communicating that strategic plan to everyone else in the company. So they have to set the vision, tell us that latitude and longitude, where are we going, they have to tell us who we're going to be while we're getting there, and they have to tell us what we need to do.

Racheal Cook: The strategic plan, again, depending on the size and scale of your business, the bigger your business, the more your employees, the more your directors, the more your executives under you are going to be handling the nitty gritty details of how. But if you're a smaller company like mine, if you're a small team, then you have to have a real finger on the pulse of, "Okay, what is that strategic plan? What are the milestones to get us to where we are headed? What are the kind of short term goals to get us to the long term goals?" That's one of the most important parts of a CEO's role. And that's why I'm so passionate about hosting these quarterly CEO retreats. It's why I absolutely love talking about having a weekly CEO Date, because all of that is the short term strategic planning that we need to do on a regular basis to make sure that we can get to that bigger vision.

Racheal Cook: Okay. So far in the traditional role of CEO, we've talked about, first, mission and vision. Second, values and culture. Third, creating that strategic plan. There's two more things I want to talk about under the traditional role of CEO. The next one is they're in charge of leading the team. Now again, in a bigger organization, they're really focused on helping others lead the individual people on the team. If you look at an organizational chart for a bigger company, you're going to see layers and layers of management and people doing different specific tasks. And really at that point, the only people who are coming directly to the CEO is going to be like the chief marketing officer, chief financial officer, et cetera, cetera. They're only talking to the other executives. The C-suite, right? But if you have a smaller organization, that org chart is getting flattened, it's getting squished, there's not as many levels in there, you still have to be responsible for and communicate to a team.

Racheal Cook: Now, in my business, again, we have a small but mighty team. And I have a number two, Amber. She's amazing. She's been my operations director for... Oh my gosh. I can't believe it. Probably eight years now, for a long time. She literally knew my twins when they were about 18 months old, and now they're nine years old. So yeah, Amber's been with me for quite a while and she is my number two. So when I am leading the team, for me that means I'm communicating to Amber, my number two, and she's helping manage the day to day tasks, but I'm kind of giving her a big picture of what I need the team to know and what I need them to be handling and taking care of business wise.

Racheal Cook: If you don't have a number two, then you are going to be responsible for every aspect of hiring, training, and communicating with that team. Now this is something we got to be careful about because there's a lot of research that once you get beyond five to eight team members, you really need someone who can be their go-to or else you end up spending all of your time managing other people instead of getting any other work done. And because we're entrepreneurs and not corporate CEOs, we have to be able to do things a little bit differently. So we can't just spend all of our time managing people. But that's a big part of being the CEO. It's all about leading the team, making sure the team's all fired up, they're all excited, they're all on the same page, communicating the mission, the vision, the values, the strategic plan, all of those different pieces.

Racheal Cook: Okay. Final piece about a more traditional definition of CEO is making the big decisions. This is one of the hardest things about being a CEO, believe it or not. Because when it comes down to it, you are the decision maker. You are the one who has to decide to invest the big bucks into a new marketing strategy. You're the one who has to decide to invest the big bucks into hiring a team member. You're the one who has to decide to invest the big bucks to attend a conference or to sign up for a mastermind or to get some extra training. All of those decisions are big decisions, right? So you have to decide where are you putting your resources? And that includes your money.

Racheal Cook: And I get it, sometimes that can be scary, because sometimes it can feel like, "Well, what if I invest this money and I don't get the return on investment? Can I afford to not get it? What if I invest this money and I feel like I don't get anything out of it? What if I invest this money and I chose wrong? These are hard decisions and I totally understand it having made a lot of these myself. Some of them have been not the perfect ones. But the good news is, once you start making them, you get better at making them. You learn what you actually need and you get better at prioritizing where your money should be going, right?

Racheal Cook: You also make the big decisions on big key decisions. Are you going to market your business this way or that way? Are you going to offer this program or that? Are you going to kill a product or a service that you're no longer excited about? Is it time to rebrand your business or is it okay? These are big decisions that are often time intensive, they're expensive, and it can feel really overwhelming. But at the end of the day, you can't crowdsource these decisions. Because posting that question in a Facebook group and hoping for a real response, that's a dangerous position for a CEO to go to. What most CEOs have though is a board of directors, a board of advisors, a group that they can go to when they need to make big decisions. They can go to these people and say, "Here's what I'm thinking. Here's where I'm stuck. Here's where I could use some support or advice or some feedback." And then they can make a decision from an informed place instead of crowdsourcing from random strangers on the internet place.

Racheal Cook: So this is one of the big things that we all have to kind of up level into in our business. And I'm asking you, who's your board of advisors? Who are you going to when you need to make these big decisions? And you want people who understand you, who understand your business, who understand what you stand for to be the ones giving you advice.

Racheal Cook: Okay. So those are five key pieces of a traditional role for a CEO. If you were to go, literally google CEO job description, you'll probably see these types of things. First, define mission and vision. Where we're headed? Second, define the values and culture. Who we're going to be? Third, create the strategic plan. What we're going to do to get there?What those milestones are? Fourth, who do you need to help you hire, train and lead a team to get there? And fifth, making the big decisions along the way. Obviously, that's all a full-time job all on its own. But we're entrepreneurs, we are up to it. We are up to the challenge of being not just CEOs but entrepreneurial CEOs. And that means that if we have a team, it's maybe a little on the small and mighty side as opposed to layers and layers of org charts, right?

Racheal Cook: So we have to think about how can we make sure that we are handling those CEO roles that we just talked about and we're doing the things that we need to do to continue growing our business. For a lot of the people in this community who have been following along with me and who connect with me regularly, I know that most of you are serviced-based business owners, which means you're very much in the trenches with doing the things in your business, right? But how do we make sure that we aren't getting our own way? We're not becoming bottlenecks to our business growth? Well, here's where we need to define your role as an entrepreneurial CEO. You need to handle those five things that we just talked about for a more traditional CEO role. But as entrepreneurs, we really got to be clear about where we're spending the rest of our time and energy. Because in all honesty, that's probably going to be most of our time. Most of our time is going to be in the doing of the things that help us generate results in our business.

Racheal Cook: So here's a few questions I started asking myself and I encourage you to write these ones down and really journal on them. Take some time with them and think about this. It is a process. The first question I ask myself is, where do you provide the most value to your business? Where do you provide the most value? This is where you are doing your highest and best level work. Now this can almost feel like a trick question because as entrepreneurs, we get pretty good at lots of stuff, right? And we tend to think, "Well, because I can do it, I shouldn't outsource it or I shouldn't pay for a tool that can do some of this."

Racheal Cook: But I can tell you, my highest and best use of my time and my energy and my attention is not scheduling social media. My highest and best use of my time and my energy and my attention, all my resources, my brain power, is not going to be doing things like managing my calendar or answering all the emails or double checking on people's billing questions. Those aren't the highest and best value that I can offer the business. Where can I offer the highest and best value? I can create amazing content and share my expertise. I can work closely with my one-on-one clients. I can give those personal touches to people who are inside of my group programs. I can go out there and make personal connections and grow my network. I can speak. I can do interviews. I can think about the big picture strategy for my business. So maybe just do a quick brain dump. What are the activities you do that provide the highest value to your business?

Racheal Cook: Next. What of those activities drive results for your business? Now, this is a little bit of a trickier question, right? We can come up with the things we do that we know adds value to our business or we hope it adds value to our business, but then we really need to ask ourself, "Okay, what is actually getting me clients? What is actually helping me get paid? What is actually growing this thing?" And that's where you really have to tune in and pay attention to what all the activities you're doing have to do with the clients coming in.

Racheal Cook: It's really easy to believe that just because you're posting on social media every single day, that means you're getting clients. But that's not actually true. In fact, I find for a lot of people that when I give them this specific take on this question, to write down your last 10 clients and then write down where did they come from, you might find very quickly that the things that drive results are not the things that you're doing. In fact, I often hear from people who, because of all the noise and the online space, they do that exercise and they're like, "I can't believe it. I spend hours every week posting on social media and trying to create all this content. But in my business, referrals are what drive results." And I'm like, why are you spending so much time creating content, doing social media when that's not actually driving any results for your business?"

Racheal Cook: Anyway, that's a bigger conversation we could have. But it's important to think about that. What drives results for your business? And if you're not sure, if you don't know how to figure that out, the easiest way is to write out your last 10 clients and figure out how they found you and how they signed up to work with you. That will give you a lot of insight into what is actually working in your business.

Racheal Cook: The third question here is, what is your zone of genius? Your zone of genius is the work that you could not outsource because you are literally one of the best people to do that work. So if you are running a business and you are a yoga therapist and you have been doing incredible work with yoga therapy for years and years and years, in fact you've got more than a decade of experience and now you're teaching other yoga therapists how to do what you do, then for you it doesn't make sense for you to try to outsource that role as the actual hands-on yoga therapist or the teacher of new yoga therapists, right? That's your zone of genius. That's your best thing that you can do for your business.

Racheal Cook: But are there other things you could outsource in your business? Absolutely. There's plenty of things you might be kind of good at, but it's not your zone of genius. It's your zone of excellence. I find myself there all the time. It can be a dangerous place if you haven't identified your zone of genius versus your zone of excellence.

Racheal Cook: So for me, the answers to these questions, it all boils down to my top three, my essential three tasks as a CEO. And these are the tasks that I spend the majority of my time on throughout the week. It's content, clients, and connection. So I'm going to share with you a little bit about what this means for me. And then I want you to go back and ask yourself those questions again. So first of all, content is a huge driver of results for my business, a huge driver of results. In fact, most people at this point are finding me online because of the shows that I produce, because of my Instagram feed, because of the interviews that I give. All of those things are content I have created for free to attract and engage and nurture my audience. So for me, me sitting down in this chair and recording this show for you is incredibly valuable to my business. No one else on my team can take this off my plate yet because it is my zone of genius. This is the best use of my time and energy in my business.

Racheal Cook: Now, this can be free content, like me going out there and doing an interview, me being a public speaker, me giving a keynote, me recording the podcast, me creating another challenge or masterclass. It can be free. Or it could also be paid. So I spend a lot of time creating or upgrading the content inside of my paid programs. This is also obviously incredibly valuable. Anytime I take my intellectual property and package it up so people can buy it, I'm creating ways that I can generate income without necessarily having to be physically there to teach them the things that I'm here to teach them. So creating that paid content is also really, really valuable.

Racheal Cook: Now the next thing that drives huge results for me is connection. This is different from being somebody who's creating content, right? Connection is my alternative word for networking, because I hate the word networking, but I know that whenever I make an effort to connect with other people, as in get out of my little entrepreneurial bubble which a lot of us tend to do, we get in our little caves and don't come out, but I know that most big opportunities that have been extended to me have come because of my network, because of the connections that I have.

Racheal Cook: So how can I make sure I'm spending time here? I can be signing up for events to attend. I just booked two events that I'm going to attend. Not even speak at. I'm just going to attend coming the fall because I know that I will meet new collaborators, I will meet new referral partners, I will get opportunities to be on other people's podcasts. Connecting at events is amazing for me.

Racheal Cook: Another thing that is a huge part of my connecting strategy and why I spend a little bit too much time on Instagram is social media. I don't spend a ton of time like creating a ton, ton, ton of content on social media. I'm not an influencer model for social media, but I do spend a lot of time connecting with people. So I'm making sure that I'm commenting, that I'm direct messaging back with people, that I'm engaging with. People who are leaving comments on my content. I do spend quite a bit of time on there and I can be the first one to tell you I have gotten more opportunities to speak more clients who've said yes to a program just because I answer some DMS in Instagram than I could have ever imagined. So just taking a little bit of time to actually connect human to human on social media has been incredible.

Racheal Cook: How else do I connect? One of my favorite ways is to just make sure I'm nurturing the connections I do have. One of my favorite things to do is to send off introductions. If I meet somebody and I think, "Oh, you need a brand strategist. I know three amazing brand strategists. Let me tell you about these. Do you want an introduction to anybody?" Or someone comes to me and says, "Do you know a lawyer?" And I'm like, "Hey, I know a lawyer. Let me introduce you to her." Making those connections is really valuable. I know that when I send people business, that it comes back to me. It always comes back, right? So I love being able to connect people, refer to amazing service providers. I love being able to introduce people. Anytime I see someone who has a call for podcast interviews, I'm the first to say, "Oh, I know somebody who'd be a great fit for that. Can I email you an intro?" Those connections have really, really helped me establish those relationships.

Racheal Cook: I also make sure to nurture my local network. And this is something it's so easy to overlook. But I live in Richmond, Virginia, it's like one of the top 10 cities for entrepreneurs and small businesses. So I make a point to try to get out of my office once a week. I head down to The Broad, the co-working space that I'm at, or I attend an event with RebelCon or another community or another organization. I just try to get out of my comfort zone and make sure I'm meeting one or two new people a week. It really helps me to just make sure I'm, again, expanding those connections, nurturing those connections. Super, super valuable to my business. A lot more of a long term strategy. It's not like I'm going to go out and ask people to send me new clients tomorrow, but it always pays off for me.

Racheal Cook: The final thing that I'm focused on is clients. So you might be surprised to hear that because most people do not work with me one on one. In fact, currently, the only way that you can get one-on-one time and attention with me is if you are in my mastermind, the CEO Accelerator. And that's a mastermind. So it's part one-on-one, but it's also part a group as we're work through in things together. But I spend a lot of time with my clients even if they're in group programs, because this is something that's important to me personally. I know I can help them get where they want to go faster if I know more about their business.

Racheal Cook: So I do things like I read all their intake forms. Every single time somebody signs up for a program like Sweet Spot Strategy, they've complete a questionnaire and tell me about their business. So me simply taking the time to read that every single one helps me understand who they are, what their goals are, where they're going. And then when they have a question in our live Q&A sessions, I actually have context to give them a good answer, right? I want to be on their board of advisors. I don't want to just be somebody they're crowdsourcing information from. So I make sure I'm paying attention and I'm adding in those touch points where I can get to know people even if they're in a group program.

Racheal Cook: I make sure that we've designed a customer experience for our group program where they're getting those high-touch touch points in there, everything from how they're onboarded to how we wrap up with them, how we send them additional little bonuses or gifts in the mail, checking in on them when we notice that they've not been super active, all those things are super important to me. I make sure that I'm thinking about how I can just up level the experience for all of my clients. Sometimes this is as simple as sending personal notes. I've been obsessed with the app BombBomb, sending little video messages. Those are all super valuable to me.

Racheal Cook: Okay. So content, clients, and connections, those are my top three most essential task areas for me as an entrepreneurial CEO. That, plus the other five tasks that we talked about, the other five things, are how I spend probably 90% of my week. Now, I will be the first to tell you the kind of more traditional pieces of being a CEO. The vision, the values, the strategic plan, the team management, making the big decisions, that's what my CEO Date is all about. And I'll include a link in the show notes so you can go check out the whole show that I did on the CEO Date. But that's why I dedicate Mondays to doing my CEO Date and having our team meeting, because that's kind of my day, it's my CEO day, to do all the most high level CEO level tasks that need to be done in the business and to make sure that we're always kind of lifting our head up and looking out at the future instead of being kind of head down at just the here and now.

Racheal Cook: That helps me make sure I'm on track. That helps me make sure that the team is all on track, we're all on the same page. And it makes sure that we're not kind of hopping from emergency to emergency. We're working ahead. We're feeling good. We have a real plan for what we're doing. Then the rest of my week is the entrepreneurial CEO. That's where I'm spending my time on clients, on content, on connections. That's where I'm blocking out time to create the show. That's where Thursdays are my days to do Q&A for Sweet Spot Strategy. That's where I have my client calls for my CEO Accelerators, all on those specific client days on every other Tuesday. That is how I structure my week around those three core task areas.

Racheal Cook: Okay. So my challenge for you today is to define your role as the entrepreneurial CEO. What are your three essential task areas? And if you really want to go for extra credit, sit down and write your own job description. Write a job description for yourself as if you are going to hire you, you're going to interview yourself for the role of CEO. What do you want the CEO of your business to make sure they're on top of, that they're in charge of, that they're going to really take ownership of in your business?

Racheal Cook: If you loved today's episode, I want to hear from you. I want to hear what your three essential CEO tasks are. So please take a quick screenshot of today's episode just on your phone and share it on Instagram. You can tag me @rachealcook, and let me know your three essential CEO tasks. Thanks for listening in to Promote Yourself to CEO. Visit rachealcook.com/show to see the latest episodes and full show notes. If you don't want to miss any future episodes, make sure that you subscribe to the show via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever else you have podcasts. Thanks for listening. Talk soon.



Listener Shout-Out

Before we begin this episode, I wanted to take moment to say thank you for tuning into the show and listening to me twice a week. When I’m recording each episode – it’s literally just me and my microphone all by myself in my office – so it’s easy to wonder if there is anyone really out there listening! That’s why I want to take just a moment for a listener shout-out.

Thanks so much, InhaleLife! You nailed my mission for this show – to provide practical and profitable strategies to up your game.


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