There are many challenges in business that are hard. Many of the challenges facing the owners of small and medium business enterprises (SMEs) are also shared in common by the CEOs of small, under-resourced organisations. Here are some of those challenges:

  • There is always too much to do. Deadlines to be met, crises to be dealt with.
  • If it’s a new business there will be staff to recruit, systems to establish, new suppliers and customers to be found.
  • If you’ve bought a second-hand business or taken a CEO job in an existing organisation, it will be a bit like buying a second-hand car.  As you head on down the highway, you’ll probably discover there are a few things under the hood that could do with a tune-up.
  • If you’re the business owner or the CEO, you won’t have a boss from whom to seek guidance about the problems that are inevitably arising. It’s lonely at the top.
  • On the other hand, you will be the person from whom the staff will want to seek guidance and engage with on a number of levels.  If you want a happy workplace you’ll need to be both visible and engaging. 

This list of challenges is exhausting, but not exhaustive.  So, it’s little wonder that a recent study found that CEOs work more than 60 hours per week on average and that they work both on weekend days and when they’re officially on holiday.  The work of a CEO or SME owner is relentless.

In the face of grueling schedules and challenging workloads, the biggest challenge of all is to avoid getting trapped by the daily “urgent” tasks and deadlines of the business to the exclusion of the single most important activity of CEOs and business owners – THINKING.

Because good productive thinking takes something that CEOs and SME owners lack most – TIME

Irrespective of how successful a business is, there is always a lot to think about:

  • Business planning issues – strategies, goals, objectives (including tracking performance)
  • Resourcing issues
  • Monitoring the changing operating environment
  • Dealing with various business shocks
  • Improving organisational culture
  • How to be more effective as a CEO or business owner
  • Anything that’s keeping you awake at night.

Some people say that good productive thinking takes not only TIME but also SPACE.  That’s why some management teams go offsite for periodic meetings or planning retreats.  No matter how busy a CEO or business owner is dealing with the day-to-day operations of the business, it’s important to regularly get out of the business and put in the thought required to work effectively ON the business.

The time spent doing the hard thinking always pays dividends – more time devoted to productive thought about the business will make every other aspect of the business easier and less time-consuming.

Would you rather spend your time dealing with day-to-day crises, or avoid most of those crises by thinking about the business?

If you could spend more time thinking and less on the daily business grind, what are the issues that you would like to solve first?

Our business owner boards provide the environment to regularly step outside your business and do some hard thinking. Click here to find a board near you.

The Alternative Board - OwnersAuckland NorthHard Thinking
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