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Secrets to Running a Successful Company: How to be CEO

Josh Hartwell, CEO of MobileDeluxe, talks about the secrets to running a successful company and how to become CEO. The role and reponsibilites are explained in-depth by Josh.

  1. You are ultimately responsible for everything
  2. Have outside interests and hobbies
  3. Constantly focus on the "big picture" for your company

How does one be a CEO? What are the secrets for running a successful company? People have all different ideas about what a CEO should do, what they should be. But whether you’re comparing to public companies or to startups, what the CEO does in each of those companies will vary.

So, some will be heavenly involved in products, some in marketing sales. In that part, it will vary by an individual and you’ll discover your strengths. But some fairly universal traits – one, the buck stops with you. So, you will play to your strengths but you’ve also got to make sure that none of the balls are being dropped in your company. If something is not getting done, it is your responsibility to either do it or otherwise, make sure that it get’s done, the buck stops with you. It can be difficult or heavy decisions, difficult talks, difficult meetings. But you are the CEO, so you make sure it gets done.

Second, I’d say be well-rounded you know. You have to have other interests – you play a sport, go to the gym, have a hobby, follow world events, go to cultural events. Stay well-rounded but always have your company not far from mind. You’ll never know when or where a great opportunity will come up.

Third, always be working – yeah. You’re going to be working in your office the eight hours a day. But really, to be an effective CEO and an effective leader, you need to be thinking about your company even more than that, but not about the little stuff that you might have been doing during the work day. If you have a task or a milestone you’re worried about, yeah, give it some thought if you need to but don’t dwell on it. Try to think a level above it. Can I create a system for this kind of task? If I was managing someone that was doing this task, what would I say to them? So, try to focus your thought time outside of work on the big picture for your company. That’s why you have a company. That’s why you’re a CEO. What does my company need to be doing better? Where is this industry going? What do I need to be preparing for 6, 12, 24 months down the road?

So, the CEO role is going to vary a lot by company. And it’s going to vary a lot by a person. And it’s a very difficult job to do. But what I found in my experience is that if you do follow these three traits, then you can be a successful CEO.