Thinking like a CEO, and not just a Creative

December 2, 2015

Think Like a Ceo, not just a Creative, by Maine Photographer Tiffany FarleyDecember…. blink, blink…. I swear it arrives faster and faster every year! I don’t know about you, but this time of year gets me thinking about goal setting for 2016, and taking a good look at what worked and didn’t work this year.

I listened to an awesome podcast this past week (more on my favorite business podcasts here) and they were talking about the importance of setting apart specific time each week, and each month, to not look at your business like the one who just works IN your business – the one who is answering emails, the one checking off the little todo lists every day, etc- but instead to be sure you take intentional time to view your business as a whole and look at it from a “CEO” perspective.

To me, this means taking a big step back, and thinking more “big picture”- and thinking through the lens of strategy, vision, and direction. To take time to think more like a CEO, and not just a Creative. Taking time to check in with yourself and ask how your business is REALLY doing, and if you’re getting closer to where you want it to be.

I personally find one of the greatest challenges in business to be finding that balance between maintaining– the everyday tasks that need to be done to actually BE a business, and intentionally growing my business. It’s difficult to take on projects that will bring growth to your business- such as that new idea you had, that creative thought you wanted to spend more time thinking about, that new experience you wanted to start offering your clients- when all your days are spent just staying afloat really- just keeping things in motion- just maintaining. 

So this idea of intentionally setting time apart each week to think like a CEO and be more strategic and develop business growth goals, really caught my attention as I was listening to it because it was presented as such as easy action step. Schedule just one hour a week where I focus on nothing that a CEO wouldn’t.

A CEO wouldn’t be the one posting on social media- even though that can be important- rather the CEO would be asking- how effective has social media been in our website traffic this week? This month? How many inquiries are crediting social media as their referral source? Which platform is the highest? Is it worth spending more or less time on social media marketing? How can we make social media less time consuming and more efficient?

A CEO wouldn’t be answering that email- even though that too is important- rather the CEO would be asking- how much time a day is spent just in the inbox? Are emails being answered in a timely professional manner? Are emails being sent after office hours and out of boundaries that should be set between home and life balance? Is there a way answering emails could take LESS time? Be more efficient? 

A CEO would ask the hard questions. The growth questions. The questions that ultimately really matter if you want your business to do better next week, next month, or next year. The questions that when you’re spending all your time maintaining your business, you never even take the time to think about!

Quite a while ago now, Virginia wedding photographer Katelyn James blogged about her genius idea to have a once a month Duty Day– to intentionally take care of the small tasks that fall through the cracks in the “maintaining”. Tasks like tracking mileage, filing receipts- things that aren’t fun and creative, but if they go ignored for too long create a huge mess. I implemented this system for a while and it was AMAZING. I felt so much more in control and on top of things when my schedule got hectic. I admit that this year was an epic fail on staying committed, but I am making it a big goal to start again in January!

As I thought about this idea of taking a day to think like a CEO over my business- undistracted, strategic, completely goal & growth oriented- that it sounded like something that I could commit to much like a monthly Duty Day. Something that would be scheduled just like a client appointment that can’t be skipped on my calendar. And I thought, to make it even easier, that I would create a worksheet specifically designed for this time. My Duty Day wouldn’t have been productive if I didn’t have that checklist to remember everything. And likewise, I may quickly find myself at the mall if I don’t show up to that coffee shop meeting with myself holding a plan.

I am spending time thoughtfully creating this worksheet, and will be sharing it with my email subscribers for those who want to see intentional growth in their business next year too. I think sitting down and thinking about goals ONLY in January is a growth killer. How often does an entire year fly by, when December just rolls in like a tidal wave, and you’ve been so busy and distracted with the maintaining, that you honestly don’t even remember what you even jotted down for goals at the beginning of the year?! I am totally raising my hand with you here.  I definitely want this to change. 

Would you like to be able to download my worksheet? Be sure to subscribe HERE, and be on the look out over the next week! I can’t wait to finish putting it together to share with you! It definitely makes me feel like 2016 will be handled with a lot more of the right intention with my business, and those BIG CRAZY GOALS will finally see momentum!!

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