Lori A. Torres, CEO and Founder of Parcel Pending, the nation’s leading provider of package management solutions.
Being a CEO is thrilling and deeply fulfilling, but the role does require you to conquer obstacles head on in order to succeed. The good news is that you can positively take action as a CEO to overcome challenges and turn them into solutions.
I’m speaking from experience. I founded Parcel Pending, a provider of package management solutions, approximately seven years ago, and during this time, I have encountered my fair share of challenges.
However, I also learned how to turn these difficulties into productive solutions, and I want to share my experience with you to help you steer the exhilarating, yet often difficult, road to success as a CEO.
Challenge No. 1: Corporate Culture
Like most companies, I want to create a positive and fun working environment. The reality is that we spend much of our time at work, so I am passionate about instilling a warm company culture. I want employees to love coming to work, and I want them to have a great experience day in and day out.
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Corporate culture is of the utmost importance, but it can be challenging to establish and maintain a positive corporate culture as your company starts to experience accelerated growth. You don’t want to lose sight of a collaborative and fun work environment, but you also don’t want to slow down expanding your company footprint.
Solution: Make sure your leadership team fully understands and carries the flag of your corporate culture and that they, in turn, pass down this flag to each employee so that everyone has a clear understanding of who you are as a company.
Additionally, make sure each new hire gets fully downloaded on your company culture from day one on the job so that there is no confusion or question about what your company stands for and how you approach the job each day. Culture isn’t just driven by the executive team; every single associate plays a role in creating a good or bad culture. It’s important to instill that in all associates.
Finally, you might also want to tap the power of organizational culture change consultants to help keep your company on the path of a positive work environment.
Challenge No. 2: Company Growth
The dreaded, often-cited statistics that only about 50% of businesses exist after five years and only around 30% make it to the 10-year mark can keep many entrepreneurs up at night. As CEO, you’re often thinking about how your company will succeed in both the short term and long term. Being a CEO is not for the faint of heart, and working to keep your company off the chopping block is difficult but very exciting.
Solution: There is only one way to overcome the anxiety that comes with succeeding as a business beyond the five-year mark: Remain laser-focused on your strategic plan. Review your company projections and forecasts often to see where you’re at and how you’re tracking so that you can make the necessary adjustments to achieve your business goals. And don’t forget to lean on the resources of your internal team and board members to help you. After all, you’re all in this together. It takes a team to succeed.
Challenge No. 3: Customer Experience
In today’s tech-obsessed world, a bad customer experience spreads like wildfire over social media. Negative customer reviews and complaints can damage a growing company. It can definitely be stressful for a CEO to ensure that their company is consistently delivering a best-in-class customer experience. And this can become even more challenging to execute as your company grows or becomes acquired.
Solution: Leverage the power of surveys to gather insightful feedback from your customers and end users so that you can adjust your product offerings and services to meet their ever-evolving needs. If you take the time to listen to your customers, then you can discover new solutions, new technologies and new ideas that you might not have even considered previously. Having two-way communication is key to a successful and long-term relationship with your customer.
Additionally, be mindful of selecting the right partner when it comes to an acquisition. At my company, providing the best customer service is at the heart and soul of what we do. As such, I knew I had to be hypervigilant about finding the right partner to acquire our company when the time was right. In 2019, we were acquired by a company that I felt was a perfect strategic and cultural match, and that was important to me.
It is imperative that you identify a partner that allows your unique company culture and great customer service to remain intact after your company is acquired. It is possible. Don’t settle for anything less.
So, how do you overcome obstacles as a CEO? It’s not easy, but it can be simple: keep a solution-finding mindset. Challenges come up daily, and every challenge has a solution; you just need to put brainpower to figuring out the answer. And you don’t have to do it alone. Tap into your team and resources to help find solutions. Being a CEO is extremely rewarding, so don’t let the little (or big) things get to you. Instead, take a mindful and open approach to solving your dilemmas, and have confidence in yourself and your team. You can do this, and you will do this.