AS A CEO do you know
How secure your information technology (IT) network is?
A small business I ran many years ago put its entire network on hiatus because its small third-party IT provider went on holiday and there was no back-up plan if the network went down. More recently I had a security technician inadvertently turn off the backup of our servers. These may be one-offs, but they show that a clear understanding of how your IT network is operating, how it is backed up, and what happens if your clients can’t do business with you is foundational. Having learned the hard way, I now have my third-party IT provider (or perhaps, in your case, an in-house IT lead) give me a monthly scorecard on all the business’s IT elements, including software, hardware, web, and any external dependencies.
AS A CEO are you
working on or in your business?
We have all heard the axiom, “Are You Working in Your Business, Or on Your Business”? Time and attention to your business has never been more constrained. In business after business, I’m seeing leadership stretched and owner/operators not able to extract themselves from the day to day to really lift their heads and look around. As a leader, you must find the time to do work “on” your business. Knowing what your competition are doing, where your clients are spending their energies and on what pain points, assessing your company uninterrupted is a key ingredient to success.
AS A CEO DO YOU KNOW
Who owes you money?
In the companies I’ve led, a single individual has overseen accounts receivable. I’ve typically insisted that the individual is someone who is cheap, organized, and relentless in following up. I get a report every week of all ARs in buckets based on days: 30, 60, 90, 120, and 120-plus. This is typical. What is not typical is that I recommend every CEO be involved in managing the calls and collection of monies owed over 90 days. My team knows that if an account is getting close to being over 90 days, they need to provide a file on the calls, contacts, and general correspondence in this collection. I personally collect every account over 120 days because they will probably go to collections. This is when your skills in dealing with senior owners and leaders will be put to the test.
AS A CEO DO YOU KNOW
Your daily cash position?
Cash is the lifeblood of your business, and knowing your daily cash position provides you with a picture of your business’s overall health in real time. As a CEO, I receive a daily cash update from my financial lead. The very act of asking for this update drives accountability for cash back to your finance team so they can seek answers to any significant cash positions well in advance of you asking them. Know your daily cash position and think about how current changes in the growth of the business are impacting your use of cash within the business over time.