Friday, July 23, 2010

CEO or Small Business Owner - Is there a difference?

There are many elements required to ensure the success of a CEO; however, two key elements that come to mind are:

• knowledge of industry, products and services, and
• access to a team of highly qualified individuals.

Having a background providing Personal Assistant support to CEO level has made me realize how much a CEO relies on their Personal Assistant as well as other members of their team. This made me think: what is different about the small to medium business owner/manager?

The main difference is that small business owners don't have the same resources available to them that a big business CEO does. Common threads of thought among many small business owners are:

• I'm not a CEO – why would I need a support team?
• I feel it is best if I do it myself.
• It will take me too long to train someone to do things the way I like them done and I can't spend the time on this.
• I don't have the resources for a support team.
• I don't want to worry about whether or not I'm up to standard with leave entitlements, superannuation and insurance required for team members.
• It's too hard to put a new team member in place and I can't afford the time to do so.
• I wouldn’t know where to begin.

I’m sure you will agree that these belief systems are limiting. What makes a small to medium business owner different from a CEO? Other than the size of the budget you have to work with, really nothing. Just like a CEO in big business, the small to medium business owner has (among other things):

• knowledge and expertise within their industry
• knowledge of their business and business goals
• responsibility for attaining business goals and targets
• control over setting/changing goals and targets
• responsibility for ensuring an increase in the bottom line from year to year
• accountability for targets met/not met.

Following is some food for thought for the small to medium business owner:

Q: Could you imagine the CEO of a big business designing and typing up the company's Annual Report?
A: In my experience, the CEO only writes the 'Directors’ Report' or 'CEO Report' and in one of my corporate positions, I actually wrote this for my CEO. The creation, formatting, design and organization of printing, production and distribution would fall to the Personal Assistant.

Q: Would the CEO organize the company's AGM or other events?
A: This task would fall to the Personal Assistant or administration team to handle and ensure that all aspects of the event (i.e. venue, catering, invitations/notices, marketing etc.) were completed.

Q: Could you imagine the CEO typing their own correspondence or reports, designing templates and forms, creating their own presentations, handling their company's social media marketing or troubleshooting IT issues?
A: Simply put, no. There are team members available who specialise in areas such as: copywriting, IT, HR, marketing and design (to name a few).

Q: Does the fact that the CEO wouldn't consider doing these tasks make them lazy?
A: Of course not! Firstly, most CEOs wouldn’t have the expertise and completing these tasks would take far more time than leaving it to an expert in their team. But, more importantly, taking care of the multitude of tasks that their team can handle would not be the best use of their time. The CEO’s time is much better spent on core business issues that require their expertise and knowledge–tasks that build the business.

I ask again ... how does the small to medium business owner differ from a CEO? The answer is: you don’t. You still need to make the most of every second you have. It is imperative to the success of your business to spend your time on core business requiring your expertise and knowledge and concentrating on building your business.

So, how do you address the issues, discussed above, that many small to medium business owners face? The solution lies in partnering with a Virtual Assistant.

Consider how partnering with a Virtual Assistant will impact your bottom line, when you look at these benefits:

• free up time in your day to focus on core business and building your business
• no office space, hardware or software required
• no training required when you partner with a VA Certified Virtual Assistant
• no superannuation, income tax, leave entitlements or insurance to worry about.

You may not carry the title 'CEO' but you ARE the CEO in YOUR business. Your time is just as important as a CEO’s in the top 100 companies. The question is: do you value it as such?

Often, small to medium business owners have built their business up from nothing and letting go of control is difficult to do. It is in your best interests and in the interests of your business to partner with team members who are highly qualified and certified to ensure you receive the results you deserve. When partnering with a VA Certified Virtual Assistant, you can be sure you are partnering with a highly skilled professional who will require little or no training. Often, your Virtual Assistant can teach you something new.

As an independent contractor, you will only pay your Virtual Assistant for time spent on the project or a monthly retainer fee and perhaps some incidental costs (i.e. envelopes, printing and postage for a mailout) that you would incur if you did the job yourself.

Where do you start?

Engaging a Virtual Assistant is designed to be a hassle free process. To find out more, take a look at our recent article answering the question of how to engage a Virtual Assistant. This article will give you a good idea of where to start.

As the CEO of your business, why not consider building your team today to ensure your success. I’d like to invite you to continue reading about how one ‘CEO’ in small business found partnering with Online Personal Assistants.

“Before we began working together I lacked time to complete all necessary tasks. Also, my weak technical/computer skills meant I was slow to complete some tasks and other tasks I couldn’t complete due to a combination of both of these issues. After working with you I started doing my newsletter again on a regular basis. My last workshop was a joy and a pleasure and also financially successful because I was not exhausted and stressed. You took the pressure off by attending to tasks I didn’t have time for but which were essential to the success of the workshop. I now have peace of mind knowing I can make plans now and develop systems that I couldn’t do before left to my own devices. Further value is gained by your proactive approach and your office and business experience means you make suggestions as to what I could or should do that I was not even aware of. You are a legend and an answer to a prayer.” ~ Marlene Rattigan, ‘CEO’ of Kidz-Fiz-Biz

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