It’s one of the most tired cliches in the book, but we all know time is money. This is particularly true for a cash-starved start-up. And what’s more valuable than a CEO’s time in a start-up environment? With so much to do in that fast-paced environment, what are the specific areas he or she should be focusing on in order to be the most productive?
“As a first time CEO, there were times when I would sit at my desk and think, ‘What should I be doing today?’” writes Scott Weiss, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz in a guest post for GigaOm. He wanted to make sure he was working on the things that mattered most, and so he reached out to fellow CEOs and asked them what they were focusing on when their companies were his size. The result is a first-time CEO checklist that can be used to prioritize and help them use their time effectively.
A CEO, on his or her own, can only take a start-up so far; the rest is on the rest of the team. That’s why Weiss’ top advice centered around pushing the team by setting aggressive goals and giving frequent feedback, including a bi-monthly one-on-one with key staff and a weekly meeting to work out disputes and make group decisions.
Another important suggestion from Weiss is an old standby: management by walking around (MBWA). Management by walking around is a valuable tactic because it allows the CEO to gain perspective from the folks that are actually doing the work, instead of those watching from afar.
A third valuable tip from Weiss’ research we’d like to highlight is to spend about 30% of your time with your customers. But don’t just limit your discussions to executives; talk to those who are actually using the product. Just like with MBWA, you will gain a wealth of information about what is and isn’t working from talking to those who use your product every day.