8 CEO Initiatives for November and December

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As the year draws to a close, here is what we are recommending to our expansion stage portfolio company CEOs to close 2009 strong and set up well for 2010 (it is the same advice that we give every year at this time)

1. Close the year strong

  • Get the business you can for 2009
  • Set up a strong pipeline for Q1

2. Review your 2009 results against plan (and most recent forecasts) and reflect on the year with the senior management team (what have you learned? Where are your best opportunities for improvement?)

3. Review and update your aspirations

4. Get good direct feedback

  • Contact some customers and get their feedback
  • Contact some key employees and get their feedback

5. Clarify your product and go-to-market plans

  • Update your product vision and road map
  • Update your go-to-market vision and road map

6. Perform an organizational and operational review to determine where your strengths and weaknesses are and generate some ideas for improvement

7. Step away from the business for 2-3 days with the senior management team

  • Perform operating reviews with each of your managers
  • Review what you learned from prior points in the list
  • Determine the 3-5 major goals for 2010
  • Update your economic model and create your financial plan for 2010

8. Communicate your aspirations and plans throughout the organization

To a large extent, this is obvious advice. The interesting thing is that a lot of companies that we speak to actually don’t follow it and find themselves trying to catch up in January and February! (my general sense is that companies with strong management teams, venture capital investment, strong boards/advisers, or strong financial consulting services partners tend to do better against these points).

If you are an expansion stage CEO, take a look at the 8 points again and try to do as many of the points as you possibly can before year end…you will be happy you did come January when you can hit the ground running!