3 Steps To Standing Out As A CEO

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Any smart founder knows: showing up in the online space in exactly the same way as your competitors, or creating content that’s identical to hundreds of other brands in your industry, can signal a death knell for even the best-run companies.

After all, in this golden age of transparency (thanks to the prevalence of online reviews and social media) it’s no longer enough to just be “OK” at what you do. Everything you do is on display – from the way your customers comment on the quality of your offerings, to your brand’s voice, and style of engagement.

That means you need to dig down deep to uncover exactly what it is that makes your company extraordinary – from the way you think about your work, employees, and customers, to the way you solve problems.

So, to uncover and unleash your own extraordinary, you have to pin down: what experience are you trying to create?

Of course there’s no single answer – but this journey starts with the right questions. And today, we want to help you ask them.

Step 1: Create a deep list of your values – your real values.

If you did this when you first founded your company, I recommend giving it another whirl. Your business and leadership evolves right along with you, so taking the time to review where you are now can help you make adjustments to your current customer service or fulfillment processes, content strategy, team onboarding systems, and even the way you live your life, day to day.

What are your values? Why did you start your business in the first place – and what do you want people to take away from interacting with your brand?

The kind of culture you want to create, and the role you want to play in your industry, should be the backbone of your long-term strategy as a founder. So take time to answer these questions, and dig deep as you answer them.

     What is the most important thing you want your audience to understand, and believe?

     Do you want to someday live your life away from social media, where only the people who really want to find you will, by word of mouth?

     Do you want to strip the pomp and circumstance away from your industry, and give your buyers exactly what they need (no more, no less)?

     Do you want to lead a global community?

     If so, what action steps do you want that community to take to make a positive impact in the world, and their own lives?

Step 2: Create a list of things you want to see more of, and less of, in your industry.

In entrepreneurship, the things you dislike about your industry or niche are just as important as the things you enjoy when it comes to developing your signature approach to business.

Not sure what you should focus on? Here are a few things to watch out for:

     Do you see a lot of the same articles over and over?

     Are there annoying catchphrases you’d like to see gone?

     Is there a deeper soul to the work you, and even your competitors, are doing that should be brought to the forefront?

     How do you think your customers actually want to interact with and use your specific product or offering?

Step 3: Re-consider problems you want to solve.

Much like reviewing your values, re-examining the current problems you want to solve for your customer base (by exploring new market research, as well as reading online reviews, etc) can offer you a new perspective on how you want to approach your customer experience, and make it truly exceptional.

Of course, your problems will vary market to market, and industry to industry – but a few good questions to start with are:

     Are there distribution challenges in your niche?

     Do you find your competitors don’t tend to offer quality customer experiences?

     Are there worn-out systems in your industry that you’d like to see revamped?

     What’s the “dinosaur” of your niche?

Now, examine the three lists above side by side, and start looking for patterns and links that you could combine.

Congratulations, you’ve created a roadmap to cementing your signature approach to business — one that could eventually make the experiences your company creates even more iconic in your industry.

These three steps will help you get clear on who you want to be, how you want to express yourself, and how you can create solutions (and fantastic processes) that will keep your customers coming back again and again.


Bio: Sandra Lewis is the founder of Worldwide101, a premium virtual assistant company connecting demanding founders and executives with highly skilled, meticulously matched help. You can connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.