Top Challenges Facing CEOs (How to Solve Them)
If you’re a CEO — whether your company is big or small, new or old, successful or working on it— there’s no doubt certain problems do a great job of keeping you up at night.
These are the challenges you just can’t seem to master. They plague you day-to-day, quarter-to-quarter, year-to-year. Yet try as you might, there seems to be no getting around them.
The good news is, yours are likely the same problems that all CEOs face. In other words, you’re in good company.
Below, we take a look at a few of these common CEO challenges and offer up some useful tips for tackling them once and for all.
Top Challenges CEOs Face
#1 – “How do I hire the best talent (and keep them motivated)?”
Attracting the best employees is certainly a leading cause of concern among CEOs. As a CEO, your team is the engine that drives your business. You may be the “ideas man” or “ideas woman,” but you need great talent to bring your concepts to life.
The Solution: Top employees can definitely hard to find, but it’s important to take your time. Quality hiring is doable if you know where to look, what to look for, and how to entice the right people.
First, make sure you’re clear about your job descriptions. Don’t be wishy-washy with prospective candidates.
Next, know where to look. Job fairs, sites like LinkedIn, and open job searches are good places to start. Still, you should always thoroughly review applications and prescreen candidates with a tight checklist before narrowing your best options.
Be thorough about checking your candidates’ references, backgrounds (job and education history), and experience. After you’ve made a short list, hold in-person interviews to get a feel for each candidate’s interest level and how they behave.
Lastly, when you find the right candidate, make sure you have a stellar hiring package ready to show them. Make it one they won’t be able to say no to. Budget restraints are certainly a challenge here, so if your resources are tight, find ways to promise pay and benefit increases with improved performance and company success. This shows your investment in your company — and in your employees as members of the larger company family.
#2 – “How do I retain my talent?”
Keeping employees motivated is certainly essential for extending and prolonging the flow of unique, creative ideas and hard work. Still, if you’re not taking care of your employees in other basic ways, some of them will walk away. Of course, this won’t necessarily be because they want to … they simply might have to.
The Solution: To ensure a consistent, long-lasting team of the best talent in your industry, you have two jobs:
1. Find ways to keep your employees motivated to do well.
2. Reward them for their hard work.
Many CEOs have trouble grasping the fact that their best employees won’t necessarily hang around just for the love of the work. This is often because, as CEOs, they’ve turned over their own life over to their business.
But remember that your employees — no matter how similarly passionate they are about your company — have lives of their own. Many have mouths to feed at home, student loans to pay, and second mortgages on their homes. If you’re not providing for them (as you said you would when you hired them) and incentivizing them to continue doing amazing work … you can probably expect their two weeks’ notice sometime soon.
In order to motivate employees, you’ve got to have a great idea that’s worth working for. Of course, it helps if you’ve hired a team that’s passionate about the same things you are.
Team-building is another great way to keep employees motivated. Organized company events, fun incentive programs, a comfortable work space, and opportunities for self-development within your company are key.
# 3 – “How do I make my product (or service) stand out?”
Yes, your company solves “problem A” … but so do six other companies. What you have to decide upon and sell is how you solve your problem better than anyone else.
Easier said than done, right?
The Solution: For the most part, the key answer here is creativity. Unfortunately, whether you like it or not, there are a lot of creatives out there doing awesome work. You’re probably creative too. But you have to be more creative than your competitors.
The good news is you have some options.
If you know for sure that your company is just like another company, for example, look for ways to differentiate by:
- Unique branding
- Varied size, shape, or level-of-service options
- Amazing discounts and sales
- Bonuses for loyal customers
- World-class customer service
- Added, unique features
- Exceptional marketing *
* This is key. By investing in your marketing strategies, you’re tinkering with the first thing potential customers and clients will see — and that’s the right place to begin.
It’s true, if you can get someone to your website to read about your unique product features or see your amazing discounts, you might be able to turn them on to your product or service. But if you can “have them at hello,” you’re going to see a much higher and more immediate rate of success. Smart marketing will also give you one of the highest returns on your investments.
Generally speaking, all CEOs will face the above challenges at one time or another. The key to overcoming them is two-fold: First, try to anticipate whatever key issues you’ll have before they become serious dilemmas. Second, using the advice above, don’t be afraid to face these issues head-on. When something doesn’t work, don’t give up — simply try a new tack.