A day in the life of a start-up CEO
Entrepreneurship is often idealized today, but there is still a bit of mystery surrounding exactly what a modern CEO does on a daily basis. According to a study by Nitin Nohria in Harvard Business Review, CEOs of larger companies spend 28% of their work time alone, but 59% of that is fragmented into blocks of an hour or less. Here are the areas that start-up CEOs usually spend their time:
1. Planning for the day, week and month
Every morning, CEOs usually draft out a plan for the day. This is time free of office distractions to map out an agenda for what you want to accomplish. It involves looking at key priorities for the company and understanding where their time is most valuable. It also entails working on strategy for solving certain problem areas or people issues in the company.
2. Touching base with the team and stakeholders
CEOs usually engage with the senior team on a one-on-one basis. If they have a large team, they might sure check-ins happen over phone, in person or video conference with the managers to get a feel of where people stand. The goal of these check-ins is twofold. First, it gives them the opportunity to see how different departments are doing in terms of meeting targets and goals. Second, it enables them to see how people are feeling and address any issues they might have. A CEO is also always looking for expansion and growth. After a check in with the team, there are usually interactions with clients, customers and board members to focus on growth. This helps to focus on the bigger picture and deepen relationships with the investors and the market.
3. Focus on the product and reviews
The CEO also spends time working on reviewing the products. This usually entails thinking about what can be improved, soliciting feedback from clients, and working efficiently with the team to achieve the end goals. The CEO may be part of brainstorms,, debates, and innovation meetings. They ultimately also may take the tough decisions necessary for true optimization and quality. It is important to review research on the market and product side by side to see where the product stands with respect to competitors.
According to the study by Nohria, successful CEOs spent 45 minutes a day on exercise and slept an average of 6.9 hours per night. They spent about 3 hours per day with family, and most spent an average of 2.1 hours on pastimes, such as watching television, reading, or hobbies. So while burning the midnight oil might be necessary in some cases, most CEOs have also learned the art of work-life balance. While start-up CEOs may find it harder to manage this compared to those at large firms, they can also strive for a healthy, balanced life along with managing their companies!