Four things a CEO should focus on in 2015

From what we’ve seen so far, 2015 is proving to be another challenging year, however client’s budgets are looking more optimistic this quarter. The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities for growth, and the successful businesses are more adaptable and planning for change before it happens. To get the most from the remaining months, CEOs will need to look inwardly at all areas of their business, truly utilising the expertise and knowledge of their employees to get valuable ground-up insight.

We’ve taken a look at four areas that will be absolutely crucial when it comes to maximising financial success for the year.

1) People
The PwC’s Annual Global CEO Survey 2015 revealed that a key concern for CEOs going into 2015 was staffing. 73% of CEOs expressed a concern for the availability of skills, up from 63% in 2014. Making sure that you have the right teams in place has become increasingly difficult as businesses clamour to compete for quality hires. As the need to increase your headcount presents itself, having expert advice on the state of the hiring market will be essential to ensure you can offer the benefits and salary needed to entice the best of the best without offering more than is necessary.

Contractors and freelancers can be costly but they could help to bridge the gap and ensure that you have a competitive advantage when it’s needed.

2) Opportunities and threats
With the competitive landscape constantly evolving, the ability to look inwardly, assess the strengths and weaknesses of your organisation will be essential.

At the top it’s easy to become a little myopic but this is no time to be limited to high-level information. Utilising middle tier employees, successful CEOs will be able to take a ground-up approach to transformation and change management. This flexibility and approach will ensure that as markets change and opportunities arise over the remainder of the year you’ll be in the perfect position, giving you an edge over competitors.

One of the buzzwords for this year is diversification with 54% of CEOs telling the PwC survey that they have entered a new sector or considered it in the past 3 years. Is this the perfect time to extend your product line of service offering? Are there any opportunities to acquire companies with critical technology or advantage to allow you to strengthen your proposition?
Other opportunities will likely come from partnering with organisations and it’s clear that many CEOs are going down that route as outward pressures increase. As we see more diversification across the board it is clear that competition will increasingly come from other sectors or sub-sectors highlighting the need for adaptability in these turbulent times.

3) Work processes

With an unrelenting squeeze on your bottom line, ensuring that you are adapting to change and making use of technological advancements where possible will be crucial to both cutting costs and maximising profits. Analyse your current work processes and be brave by incorporating new technology; as long as it can help to streamline processes and reduce your resource cost.

What’s critical for those CEOs running a service driven business though is ensuring that work is priced accurately and that they’re not over-servicing or allowing the scope of the project to expand beyond what was originally agreed, as these will all negatively impact on profit. It’s important to build good working relationships with clients but not if it causes you to lose money. Collard calls these elements ‘The 3 Deadly Sins’ and says that they’re generally behind all unsatisfactory profit margins. His book offers some good tips on avoiding falling into these traps.

4) Numbers
If you don’t understand your company’s figures inside out then you won’t truly know how profitable your organisation is, and without this knowledge you won’t know what to focus on; recruitment, new business or cost cutting. You need to be confident that the numbers are accurately reflecting revenue and costs too.

Simon Collard’s book, “Where is the Money?” offers some simple advice to agency CEO’s on staying on top of your accounts and also provides a great list of the 10 numbers every agency CEO should know, as well as a table of key financial targets, which is useful for Chief Execs in any company.

Simply360 is a London based financial recruitment company with a passion for Marketing, Media, Technology and Entertainment.