The Case for CEO Advisors

If you’re a small or mid-market business owner then you are used to doing it all. Some of the tasks that you must accomplish are second nature to you. Others are overwhelming. The most common role? That of the CEO. 

The trouble with business owners acting as CEOs becomes apparent when the company experiences rapid growth or other major transitions. I often see owners stumble over obstacles created by chaotic change. I also see owners who are simply unable to continue to grow their business without fresh ideas and direction. I watch them seek advice from peers on Linkedin and Quora. I hear their upset when they attempt to join a peer business advisor group, only to find there’s nobody in their area who’s adept at steering a business in their industry. It’s a frustrating struggle to observe; they may find advice, but this advice lacks truly actionable insight and guidance.

This is where an outsourced CEO advisor becomes not only a useful resource, but an essential partner in maintaining a business or ensuring its continued growth. CEO advisors can also be beneficial working alongside existing CEOs who are not the business owner, but are nevertheless responsible for the majority of the decisions that make or break a company.

What is a CEO Advisor?

CEO advisors are CEOs who work with a company on either an interim basis or as part of a longer term relationship. The best CEO advisors, like those we selected to work with our clients at Shared CxO, have years of proven experience leading companies where they need to go. CEO advisors can help business owners make decisions with confidence, secure in the knowledge they have the second opinion and support of a skilled leader. Here are a few more ways they can help.

  • Identifying where a company’s structure lacks organization and helping to implement a more efficient structure
  • Planning the best strategy for tackling tricky changes in the established business processes
  • Learning how to get optimum performance from their team through the creatoin of a sound company culture, as well as by developing best practices for hiring.
  • Reducing the risks owners and CEOs face every day; two pairs of eyes are better than one, and CEO advisors are there to double check all ideas, processes and projects

Why You May Need a CEO Advisor

There are many situations in which you could benefit from a CEO advisor. A transitional phase, as previously mentioned, is one critical time when a CEO advisor can be useful. But they are also a valuable asset when:

  • Your existing CEO departs, leaving a gap that must be filled
  • You, as a business owner or CEO, are experiencing challenges or burn out
  • You are second guessing existing strategies and business management
  • Your business has failed to thrive in the absence of a CEO
  • Your executive team seems to be underperforming or lacks focus

When I encounter business owners or CEOs who are feeling disenchanted, overwhelmed or frankly cynical about their company,I know it’s time to bring on CEO advisor on board. I’m sympathetic to their frustrations, but I’m also tremendously optimistic that CEO advisory services will benefit their business and relieve them of some of their burdens.

The best time to hire a CEO advisor is when you have the first inkling of a need – e.g. when your existing CEO gives notice, when you know you’re about to downsize, when you find yourself awash with clients but not enough guidance to serve them, etc. But even if you’ve been struggling with these or other issues for a while, a CEO advisor can guide your business in the right direction.

I am especially excited about the potential for small businesses to extend their lifespan and grow with advisory help. 70% of small businesses that receive mentoring survive at least 5 years and small businesses that are mentored are 20% more likely to grow¹. If you consider that in the United States, only half of the country’s small businesses survive the first 5 years², and you can see that a CEO Advisor gives your business a significant advantage.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

If you are sure you have a need for a CEO advisor, but you’re apprehensive about the process of onboarding a new executive, let me put your mind at ease. Quality outsourced CEOs like Shared CxO’s are deft and are able to quickly come up to speed. They’re proficient in multiple industries and markets and understand the nuances of different sized companies. In my experience, a good CEO advisor can hit the ground running and breathe fresh air into any organization. And like all talented executives, CEO advisors learn, adapt and grow alongside the team they’re complementing.

What sets CEO advisors apart from the mentorship you may find from peers online or in local networking groups is their commitment to helping you address your unique needs. They don’t drift in and out of your company’s consciousness, but reside at its core for as long as you need them. Shared CxO’s CEO advisors don’t exist in a vacuum just because they’re working with a company long distance. They’re every bit as present in the day-to-day operations and decision making as an in-house executive would be. We’ve been exceptionally careful and deliberate in our choices of technology to make communication and sharing effortless. Over the years that SMB has been offering outsourced talent, we’ve also developed methods of supporting and servicing clients that ensure success – and our CEO advisors are dedicated to that success.

It’s Time for a CEO Advisor. Now What?

Shared CxO offers an unprecedented level of access to seasoned outsourced executives for small and mid-market businesses. If you’re ready to take the next step with Shared CxO’s CEO advisors, you can learn more about our packages and rates or get in touch directly to discuss your needs. To find out more about the our CEO services, visit our CEO Advisory and Outsourcing page.

¹Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative

²Small Business Association