When you start out your business, you will most likely be “Chief Everything Officer”. From the accounts, to marketing, PR, HR, Customer Support, CTO, COO, legal, cleaner, secretary and every other possible position you can imagine.
As the entrepreneur you need to be flexible. To not put yourself in the silo of the skill you have. Writing legal contracts or answering customer support questions is part of the learning process. The better you understand all the job roles, the better you will be able to hire and eventually replace yourself.
When I had my mobile innovation company back in 2003 I used to go do the selling during the daytime roughly from 10 am till 6 pm. At 6 pm I would come home and do computer programming to get the application right. This would go on till about 3 in the morning. Then back up around 9.30 to get the customers and the cash flow in. During the weekends I would do the “back office” type work to get my accounts in order. If I needed to do a “Non Disclosure Agreement” than I would search the web for the best legal documents.
Overtime I got my first employee. No longer did I have to go home and do the programming but could focus on the sales. Afterwards I hired sales people, so I would spend a part of my time coaching the sales team and the rest on selling myself – sales is at the heart of a business so that is one bit that I have found hard to completely let go.
As your business grows the initial “Chief Everything Officer” position will give you practical experience on running your business – from the understanding of how to invoice a customer to the difficulty in collecting cash from various customers.
As they say you “can’t bullshit a bullshiter” so if you know how to do the various parts of your business, you will be more successful in managing the team in the various parts. For instance, as I launch my new ventures its easier for me to debate with the programming team about how long a piece of the program will take to implement. Or to figure out why the SEO will take so long or the accountant needs to charge me so much money. Or even the best way to make coffee.
As I launched “Webpreneur University” I call myself the Dean, but really I was the faculty that was creating the modules for the courses. The guy that has made the room bookings for the first few camps. Ordered the catering for the students. Did the marketing to get people in to the camps. As well as go out to newspapers to drum up publicity. The Dean of Harvard doesn’t need to do all that as she has separate departments to handle everything. Now though as our team grows I can focus on certain aspects while the team with better skills in various areas take over. Pretty much most of the team of our startup are CEOs as they need to be flexible in doing everything and anything.
So if you are in the early stages of your business – do not fret and enjoy the benefits of being the CEO.