It was Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, who said, “Just because you are CEO, don’t think you have landed.” Successful CEOs don’t rest on laurels, but rather consistently work to improve their brand. “You must continually increase your learning,” says Nooyi, “the way you think, and the way you approach the organization.” Nooyi is a fascinating and successful CEO, and her advice should be carefully considered by CEOs of large and small businesses. The following lists some useful advice to CEOs, so you can stay on top of your business and go down in history as a quotable success story.
Keep Your Mind on the Money
Too many CEOs consider profits only at specific times and they manage by metrics, which eliminates the ability to creatively solve earnings issues. No one is saying you micromanage, but rather it’s important to consider company culture and reasonably appoint or outsource important money-related tasks to the right person, such as remaining tax compliant which has a huge impact on your bottom line, but is often overlooked as a way to save money.
You can lower your effective tax rate with tax credits, but you’d have to regularly keep up with the tax code to ensure ongoing success at this. A way to remain aware of tax credits is to utilize services that manage tax and payment compliance for you because this is simpler, more efficient, and it reduces risk. Plus, it’s inexpensive and reduces the burden on your payroll and human resource departments.
Awareness of Everything is Everything
Nooyi had the industry foresight to begin selling products that are healthier than Pepsi’s traditional offering, she was able to increase the struggling company’s revenues with four percent organic revenue growth. Now, it seems everyone has a healthy product to market, but Nooyi was early to latch onto this trend. The question isn’t about creativity, but rather how does she stay so aware that she can know what the people want before they do?
It’s easy for CEOs to feel they’re at the top and get lost in the mire of corporate life. Nooyi defied this, and instead regularly appears in cities across the nation to judge how the Pepsi brand is doing. She asks store managers questions about shoppers, considers labeling and shelving issues, and brings the competitors’ products back to headquarters for rigorous market research. She is aware of Main Street, and she makes sure that Main Street is aware of her.
In your business, there are a number of things you should be aware, but first and foremost is your brand. Follow in Pepsi’s footsteps by spending at least a few hours running your business each week. This is expert advice from Dick Cross, the author of Just Run It: Running an Exceptional Business is Easier than You Think.
Never Stop Improving
Charles Phillips, the CEO of Infor a NYC business software company with 15,000 employees, says that today’s successful CEO is one that does everything he or she can to “adapt and keep improving.” Of course, you will be busy, but successful CEOs are busy people; you have to understand the importance of learning all you can.
Most of what you’ll learn will be on-the-job. You should know your talent pool, and have some say in hiring practices. Stay familiar with your creative departments and marketing teams. You can learn from your competitors, as Nooyi does. You can also learn from your own brand. The most important thing is an open mind, and a willingness to run your own business even if that means visiting the ground floor from time to time just to oversee daily operations.