By Arash Asli, co-founder and CEO of Yocale.com.
CEOs have a lot to manage at any given point in time. Tasked with increasing business growth while managing employees and customers, there are a lot of moving parts. As a CEO myself, I know firsthand the many challenges throughout the day; some that can be planned for, but others that cannot.
I have been improving my emotional intelligence in order to better handle the various challenges, and through this personal development, I have found it better to manage everything thrown my way. Here are top five challenges and how to navigate them:
Hiring the Right Talent
A common challenge echoed by many CEOs, and in fact was the top concern in an Inc. 500 CEO survey, is hiring the right talent. Employees are the backbone of any company; CEOs need employees with the right skills, from problem-solving skills to creativity, in order to drive growth.
CEOs are also simultaneously placing more importance on employees who share similar visions and values as the company itself, which adds an additional challenge into the mix when it comes to finding talent, managing and fitting remote employees and contractors into the company's culture. The key to hiring talent that meshes with your company's values is to ensure that your own values are clearly defined, and then incorporate more pointed questions into the interview itself.
Managing Changing Customer Relationships and Expectations
Today's increasingly digital landscape is leaving few areas of business untouched. In a sense, you could think of navigating the digital landscape as a broad challenge for CEOs today in general. One area where technology is particularly making its mark, however, is in the area of customer relationships and expectations.
CEOs now are tasked with greater accountability than ever before, with company values reigning supreme. Business is much more customer-centric, and CEOs must think about how to manage lines of communication with customers. Fifty-eight percent of CEOs believe that a lack of a trust in their business is negatively impacting their business growth, according to PwC's 20th CEO survey. Interesting, this concern has grown since 2013.
Managing customer expectations is another challenge. Customers shop very differently than they once did; they get educated before purchasing as one example. Therefore, CEOs must think about these broad changes in consumer habits and adapt accordingly.
Staying Competitive and Creating Growth
Today's CEOs face stiff competition and market oversaturation in particular. With many similar products on the market, CEOs and business leaders have to think more about what is going to set themselves apart and how to secure brand loyalty by anticipating trends and stay ahead of the curve. The key is to think outside the box and yet still give customers what they need.
Be aware of the competition but don't allow it to overtake their vision. Then, simply improve your products and services over time by having direct dialogue with customers. This looks a lot different from CEOs of yesteryear who had limited direct channels to get client feedback. This key process -- innovativeness, functionality and customer feedback -- is necessary for managing competition and creating growth.
Combating Cybersecurity Threats
Technology is not only changing customer relationships and expectations, but it's also created new risks that CEOs must address. One of those is cybersecurity threats: Even small businesses must think seriously about these, and small businesses are particularly vulnerable.
While risk management has always been something that CEOs have had to think seriously about, these risks have expanded as technology presents new risks. Businesses must prioritize a cybersecurity risk management plan and ensure that software is kept up-to-date.
Maintaining a Work-Life Balance
With the pressure to manage many moving parts at once, every CEO will agree that maintaining balance in life and work is a continual struggle. CEOs can't stop for long, if at all. Ultimately, you must prioritize at any given time and manage your time efficiently with clear boundaries.
The same way the ever-changing digital landscape has created new challenges, it has also given us access to increasing amounts of information and tools to handle those very challenges.
Arash Asli is a co-founder and CEO of Yocale.com, an online scheduling and marketing platform for appointment based businesses.