Every Wednesday, like clockwork, I drop my kids off at their dayhome, stop by Starbucks for a Venti long-shot Americano and then head home to dive head first into my favourite day of the week – my CEO day.
I’ve been actively scheduling in a CEO day each week for over two years now, and without question, it’s been the best (and most profitable) decision I’ve ever made.
Before I go into specifics, we need to all be working from one core premise:
You are the CEO of your business.
Yes, you’re a coach (and probably a fabulous one!). That’s the technical work of what you do, and it’s your gift to the world. Every day, you have the amazing privilege of transforming other people’s lives through your insights, your questions and by holding the space for their growth.
And that’s exactly what your business needs from you too. Because, just like your clients, if left to its own devices, your business would spend all its time in head-down busy work, never looking up to navigate new territory or push growth edges.
That’s why claiming your place as CEO is what separates the amateurs from the pros.
The CEO’s role is to set and steer the business vision, advance the core work of the company, innovate and stay apprised of market trends and conditions, and create strategic partnerships and relationships (among other things).
This is true of Fortune 500s and companies of one.
But in reality (and because we don’t have hundreds of staff like the big guys), day-to-day operations can easily keep us from doing the work that would actually advance our business, not just keep it afloat.
And so months go by and we wonder when we’ll finally find time to create that group coaching program to give us some leveraged income, or actively grow our list, or to write the book that would launch our speaking career, or strategize a launch plan vs just announcing our new offer and hoping for the best.
SOLUTION: the CEO day.
A CEO day gives you space, permission and time to do what Stephen Covey called the ‘Important/Non-Urgent’ work — those priorities we verbalize but rarely action. The things that matter most.
Here are just a few of the activities you could add to your CEO day:
- High-level business planning: reviewing and designing your business vision, mapping out your next 90 days, checking in on your numbers and doing some analysis, researching a new market
- Creation work: developing the content for your new program, recording the videos/audios that will become a product, working on your book, developing new tools for your clients, writing sales pages
- Outreach + Relationship-Building: reaching out to fellow bloggers and peers to start or nurture a relationship, pitching guest posts, querying the media, mapping out a joint venture strategy
- Business development: checking in with past clients, setting up sales conversations with potential new clients, taking an influencer for coffee, developing a referral system
- Optimization and systemization: creating templates and systems, optimizing a section of your website, tweaking a sales process, streamlining your client intake system, having a meeting with your team
The work you do on your CEO day should be strategic and advance your business’s growth. It’s not the time to do day-to-day admin, post on social media, catch-up on emails or take clients.
*A quick caveat — don’t get hung up on a full day. If that doesn’t work with your business schedule, find a way that does. Maybe you carve out an hour each morning, or two, three-hour chunks each week, or maybe you take one weekend each month. It really doesn’t matter how you set it up – what matters is that you do!
And more importantly, that you actually honour this appointment with your business the way you would honour a client appointment. Have I ever booked something on my CEO day? Sure. But I try not to 90% of the time. Because my CEO day is sacred and is the catalyst for all the growth I’ve created in my business.
Like anything worth doing, you’ll have to build a muscle around this practice. At first it’ll feel hard — you’ll want to say yes to the client that asks to reschedule for your CEO day, or you’ll feel drawn to spend your first (or second) CEO day on Netflix. That’s ok – just keep scheduling them in and baby-step your way into a habit of honouring your business needs first.
My challenge to you today:
Open your calendar right now (it’s ok, I’ll wait) and block off three to five CEO days (or the equivalent). Use your first one to either create or review your business plan for the next six months. And then use future days to action and implement your plans.
Business activator + leadership coach Stephanie Pollock is devoted to helping talented women in business GO PRO with their dreams, stepping into the spotlights — and revenue streams — they so richly deserve.
She’s the publisher of Going Pro Magazine, a Top 40 Under 40 changemaker and creator of Beyond PRO: Claim your place as CEO – a leadership program designed specifically for entrepreneurial women. You can find her online at Stephanie Pollock Media Inc and on Twitter at @steph_pollock.