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Why You Need a Top CEO Coach or Peer Group

CEO coachAs Chief Executive Officer, you are expected to know everything, to handle all situations with aplomb and assurance, to lead your company with the confidence that you can do it all, and probably run someone else’s company with the same success. This would include virtual offices, as Marissa Mayer had to handle in the early days of her leadership of Yahoo. To others, it seems like you have the superhuman power to do it all on your own, and you might think that you have to somehow do it all by yourself. However, even CEOs can use a little support and guidance, and that’s where a top CEO coach or a peer group can come in.

You don’t have to do it all on your own, and as a CEO you shouldn’t. If you did, then you’re running something more similar to a regime than a company. A CEO coach or peer group helps you to become your best self, and when you’re the best possible self, you can have the best possible company. Here are four reasons why you need a Top CEO coach and peer group to provide the support and guidance necessary to take you and your business to the next level.

A Good Coach/Peer Group Emphasizes You

As a CEO, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of running the business, of making the important decisions and working to solve every crisis that comes up. This makes it difficult to worry about other aspects that affect your job performance, such as your health, your relationships, and your mentality. Sure, you can be professional at work and not let that fight with your spouse get to you, or excuse your poor diet and sleep schedule on the fact that you need to get work done and that you employees need you. That doesn’t mean a sour marriage won’t leak into the business, or that all that fast food won’t affect how your endurance and how your mind works. A good coach or a caring peer group can emphasize those aspects and their importance in running a company well.

Your Coach/Peer Group Doesn’t Work For You

Great! One less person you have to manage and to boss around, but that’s not the best thing about enlisting the help of someone outside your company. The best part about having the outside help of a CEO coach or peer group is that they can offer a fresh perspective on business decisions. Need advice on handling a troublesome employee? You can trust what your coach or peer group has to say, since they don’t know the person and don’t have a conflict of interest. Unsure about a current marketing campaign or on your overall business strategy? Your coach or peer group would not only have the expertise to answer your questions, but they also don’t have to worry about how the decision would impact them. For example,  a marketing manager may want more time on an unsuccessful campaign to prove that it worked because it was his/her idea, when your coach or peer group would not have such a vested interest in the campaign or the decision.

Your Coach/Peer Group Could Help Tackle New Challenges

The point of having a coach or a peer group is because you don’t know all the answers, so it’s helpful to have someone, or a group of people, to help you find those answers. Virtual offices and workers can fall into this category, as it is a phenomenon that’s only become popular in recent years. It’s not a problem that all 20-year veterans in leading companies can answer and handle correctly. However, any other CEO or executive can bring to the table that fresh perspective, knowledge and experiences that you don’t have. That knowledge, expertise, and confidence is vital when you need help taking on new challenges, in finding new solutions to old problems, or even in getting feedback in what you’re doing right and wrong. This feedback can not only help you and your company reach its goals, but can also make clear what you are/aren’t doing, or what you need/don’t need to be doing in order to run your company well and to be the best CEO possible.

Networking Opportunities

This applies more to the peer group than the coach, but both can offer additional networking opportunities. Peer groups often host events of their own, swap events that they’ve heard of, and share events that individual members are hosting themselves. Don’t forget that networking is much more than amassing contacts and hopefully getting a lead or two. It’s also about facilitating relationships that could even up vouching for you and your service down the road.

Overall, CEOs aren’t infallible. They are still regular human beings like their customer and employees, good people who from time to time need a little extra support and guidance. A CEO coach or peer group can do just that, and can probably provide much more than a friend or family member who doesn’t know what it’s like to run a company, or to work in your industry.

Why CEOs Need to Be on Social Media, and 3 Ways to Do It

CEOs social mediaLess than 50 percent of CEOs participate on social media sites.

Ouch.

That one hurts, especially since 81% of employees believe that CEOs who engage in social media are better equipped to lead their companies in the digital world. This is critical since virtual offices are a big part of the digital world, and if you’re utilizing virtual offices in any way, then social media is a must have in staying connected as a CEO. It would seem like an obvious move to use social media as a business tool, but many are missing out on an opportunity to lead in the digital world and to interact with others in a very personal way. Need a little help participating, and participating in a way that markets your company and markets you as the awesome, social-savvy CEO of your company? Then try one of these three ways to engage in social media:

Blog

If you’re company already has a blog (or two, or three), then make it a point to contribute a post every week or two. It shouldn’t be about anything that you or the company is doing, but a post that offers your potential customers the information they are looking for. How great would it be for them if that information came straight from the CEO? You could also write follow ups that covers a topic from the CEO perspective, or maybe discusses what you look for in hiring people, choosing great client, or what you think about your industry as a whole. If you’re feeling really bold, you can start your own CEO blog.

If writing regular blog posts is too much for you, then offer yourself up by allowing one of your marketing people to interview you and then write a post about that interview. Or, you could allow someone from marketing to follow you around for a day and write about that. Being more transparent about who you are as a CEO can also be beneficial to you and the company blog.

Twitter

Okay, of those CEOs who are on social media, half of them are on Twitter. Great! But, if you’re not on Twitter, consider this an easy and spectacular way to participate in social media. You don’t have to come up with a new 140-character saying every few hours, but use Twitter to connect with others, retweet what they are tweeting, or to share what others in your company are tweeting and retweeting. The point of getting on Twitter is to learn what others are talking about, what they are saying about certain topics, and the joining the conversation. With Twitter, you might even connect with customers and clients directly, and be able to answer their questions and learn what they think about your company first hand and in real time.

Hey, if Rupert Murdoch can do it, any CEO can.

Yammer

Yammer, if you don’t know, is essentially the social network you can create for your company. So, instead of your employees using Facebook or Gmail chat to ask each other quick questions (and risk getting distracted by their personal business), they can use Yammer. As CEO, you can use Yammer to connect with your employees, build and maintain an awesome company culture (and one that you’re a part of, and learn how different projects are progressing. It’s a much easier way to keep up with what’s happening in the company, and everyone would agree that a Yammer meeting would beat a normal meeting any day of the week.

Respond to Crises

You know what else hurts? A damaging article or social media post. However, more than 10 percent of organizations will not take any action when a damaging article or social media post is released about them. On top of that, 1/3 of CEOs don’t take social media reputation into account when making business decisions. As a CEO, it isn’t necessarily your responsibility or biggest need to generate leads or to network or to answer customer questions. But, it is your responsibility to be transparent in where reputation control is badly needed, and that’s where these previously mentioned social media tools and presences can help. You and your company can really take control of an online crisis if a blog post can be written in response to the crisis, and that blog post can be shared across Facebook, Twitter etc.

Overall, social media is just another tool in the CEO arsenal, something instrumental in leading a company as well as building the company’s brand and reputation, and building your own brand and reputation as a CEO.

How to Build an Awesome Company Culture as CEO

virtual offices
Fill the rooms with an amazing company culture and work environment!

Whether your company has one virtual office, or is comprised of many virtual offices, When you’re the CEO, you are also a role model as well as a boss. How you spend your time at work, how you make decisions, how you treat your employees, and how you think about your business and business in general, affects company culture because your employees will notice and will emulate or react to your behavior.  If you’re known to be set in your ways and resistant to change, then your company culture could be one of doing things the way they have always been done. If you’re known to take your time with decisions and to consider all possibilities, then employees might take the time to present their perspective well and to consider all the possibilities too. You, as the CEO, means a lot, so here’s how you can build an awesome company culture at your firm:

Set Goals, Priorities, and Values

Without these three things, it’s hard to instill a vision with everyone in the company, to ensure that everyone there is working toward something and adds value by being there. Employees actually care about more than a paycheck and benefits. They want to know what their employer stands for, what their employer is trying to accomplish and they want to know that they are spending their time on something that is worthwhile. Imagine the kind of company culture you would have if everyone shared your vision for the company, and believed in not only what the company was trying to accomplish, but that the company could actually accomplish it and do something great.

Have Rituals to Support Those Goals, Priorities, and Values

When you ask someone from another country about their culture, you’ll hear about that person’s and country’s rituals i.e. how to behave in social situations, how to celebrate holidays, cuisine, language, beliefs etc. Your company culture should be the same way in that it should have rituals that reinforce the goals, priorities and values of the organization. If it’s a company value to be learning and improving all the time, then it should be a ritual to train employees regularly or trade shows and conferences should be evaluated for learning opportunities etc. It’s great to have those three things and to believe in them, but it’s also important to practice what you preach.

Work Environment Makes a Difference

Work environment can mean a lot of things, from the décor to the office space arrangement, from lunch hour to employee relationships. You want your employees to like who they work for, but you also want them to like where they work and who they work with. Anything and everything that can strengthen the latter two will positively enhance company culture.

The point is, make it possible for people to have fun at work, however that needs to be done. No, your employees don’t need to ride around on Razor scooters or need a tree house in the office. But, a fun non-work related event each week or a monthly activity where everyone has to participate can go a long way in building awesome and cohesive company culture.

Think about Who You Hire

People leave a position, or decline a job offer, for a variety of reasons. But, you don’t want to lose a perfectly good hire two weeks in because they simply don’t fit in with the rest of the company. Yet, many organizations fail to consider company culture when hiring and recruiting. For example, if its part of company culture to hang out after work regularly, will someone who can’t do that or doesn’t want to do that feel left out? When hiring, think about how they’ll fit in and what the person could bring to company culture. This is not only good for the company by reducing turnover and keeping talented people on staff, but it’s also good for the employee as he or she feels part of the team and willing to come to work. Also, bad hires hurt company culture by having a more difficult time getting along with everyone else.

Remember that Culture is Created by Default

Whether or not you made a specific effort to build an awesome company culture, remember that there is already company culture there to begin with. You won’t be starting with a blank slate. Therefore, when building an awesome company culture, it’s not necessarily about starting from scratch, but about setting a tone, being dedicated to living out a great company culture, and relaying that message. If you, as CEO, aren’t aware of what kind of culture your company has or aren’t aware on how you affect company culture, then it’s likely you’re just not part of it.

How to Find the Best Employees for Your Danbury Virtual Office

Danbury virtual officesNowadays, it’s incredibly possible to create a full-functioning small business with just one virtual office. Or, to use several virtual offices to create one virtual company. This method of growth keeps payroll down and profits up, but offers unique challenges in starting and maintaining that growth. You need to have the right people working with you in a virtual environment. Here’s how to find the best employees for your Danbury virtual office, or any virtual office or company.

Be Specific with Expectations

One of the toughest aspects with virtual employees is keeping everyone on the same page and communicating needs and project guidelines effectively. It’s not as easy to find 10 or 15 minutes to go over everything and to get questions answered. Therefore, when finding and choosing the best employees, you need to be as specific as possible with your needs and expectations from the beginning. You need to know exactly the type of person it takes to be successful with your company, and to be successful in your open position. A good way to determine this is to figure out what needs to be accomplished in the first 90 days, and what’s needed to accomplish those goals.

Trial Runs are Okay

Danbury virtual officeTelecommuting and a virtual lifestyle are appealing to most people, but they aren’t for everyone. If you want to ensure that every hire you make is a good one, then don’t be afraid to do a trial run. A trial run can be a project or a short period of time where the new hire is on board. At the end of the trial, you can make a final decision. This option is useful if you are considering hiring someone who’s never worked virtually before, or if you are considering a couple of candidates for a job or position. Trial runs also sort out things that might not come up during an interview or in a proposal, such as communication style, timeliness, and cultural fit.

If Possible, Don’t Turn It into a Solo Decision

This is one of the worst things you can do when managing and growing a virtual company. We understand that if you are a one-person company hiring your second person, you can’t necessarily have a second opinion, but get one if one if available. Having only yourself, or just one person, make the decision on who to hire is a mistake because teamwork is so crucial to having a virtual workforce, well, work. Everyone needs to know everyone else and to be able to trust each other. How would it look if someone new came on board that no one else knew about or knew anything about? It doesn’t work that way with a virtual company. Also, a second or third opinion could reveal insights about candidates that you may have missed, saving you from a potentially bad hire (or rescuing you from letting go a really good one).

Compensation is Still Important

One of the great things about a virtual workforce is that you can save money on payroll and costs. You don’t have to worry about benefits, or overtime, or unemployment. However, you still want to compensate competitively, and according to the candidate’s cost of living. Sure, it’s cheaper to live in some places in the U.S than in others, but this doesn’t mean you can offer someone in New York City the same salary as someone in Boise. The one in NYC is going to need a little bit more, even if the candidates are equal in all other ways, simply because of the location. However, Boise isn’t the same as Bangladesh, so you still need to compensate Americans with American wages. Even though your talent pool is global in a virtual company, compensation isn’t universal.

Related Links:

5 Quick Tips in Virtual Office Management

Build a Virtual Company with Several Virtual Offices

How to Market Your Business in a San Diego Virtual Office

 

Build a Virtual Company with Several Virtual Offices

A virtual company is essentially any company or business that has more than one virtual office. Building a virtual company by setting up multiple virtual offices may be a good idea for startups looking to keep costs down, but need to expand in order to accommodate growth. Setting up a virtual company is also a great way to incorporate members of your team strewn across the country by giving each team member a virtual office instead of just having them do their work.

Setting Up the Second Virtual Office

All you really need to create a virtual company is at least two virtual offices. If you already have one for your company, then you’re halfway there. All you need to do is set up the second one in a city in which you’d like to have a presence (if you can do it through the same virtual office company that you set up the first one, then this shouldn’t be a problem.)   If you don’t yet have a virtual office, or have a virtual office solution that doesn’t offer services in other cities, then you would want to get started with a virtual office company that can offer you services in several cities. This way, mail forwarding and phone calls can be coordinated much more easily, and scaling the business is less of a hassle. If you have a prior solution, you don’t need to get rid of it. You could just treat that solution as the headquarters, and have the other offices be as lean as possible.

Why the Virtual Company Model is a Good Idea

Having a virtual company may seem like there would be a lot more to manage than with a traditional office setting, or even tougher to manage since people would be spread out across the country and a bit harder to hold accountable. However, the benefits outweigh the management tangles, of which can be untangled once everyone settles in. These benefits include:

  • Extra Productivity Time – Not only do virtual offices eliminate the commute, which could easily add an hour to every employee’s day, but you and your employees also have additional choice of where and when to work. Some may appreciate being able to work at home in privacy and in their most comfortable clothes. Others may use the virtual office from time to time to get away from distractions at home or distractions typically found in the office space.
  • Reduced Rent (and Headache) – A traditional headquarters or office space can cost thousands, even tens of thousands, of dollars a month in rent. On top of that, you might have to pay for utilities, and choose a cleaning crew, and pay for infrastructure such as Internet, phone, printing etc. Even multiple virtual offices would cost a fraction of all that, since many virtual office services offer all that in one flat fee. Not only is it cheaper, but you don’t have to worry about getting the copy machine fixed or putting more paper into the printer or in figuring out who’s going to clean the office if the janitor doesn’t show up.
  • It Looks Cool to Have Several Offices – Having several virtual offices makes your virtual company look bigger than it actually is, which can be great for marketing and for picking up bigger clients. Even better, you can argue that you have the resources of a big company, but can provide the time and attention a small company can. Think about it, you can say you have three offices in three separate cities when you only have three people in your company. To a potential customer, that can look like several hundred people, and creates a strong presence. Just make sure you can match the image in your delivery of your goods/services.

A virtual company is still a new concept, but with more and more businesses opting for virtual offices these businesses still need a model for growth and in maintaining a lean enterprise. Perhaps a virtual company is that solution. It’s not that hard to get a virtual office started. Once you get started, a virtual company is just the next logical step.