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Top 10 Questions you need to ask as a CEO to prepare for 2024 if you want to grow or scale (25% CAGR+)

“Sometimes the right question is what takes the most experience and has the most value.”

Do you want to grow a $10M to $100M company? Attain great personal wealth? Have an impact on the worked that is 1,000X more than the average person? Have the time to travel the world, take a month or more off at a time? Retire early? Attract and work with top people and investors? All of these things are accomplished by building a “real company” (not a job or 5-person company), One that you can leave or sell, and it keeps going and growing.

I did this four times and have two more $100M+ companies in the works now. And I am going to prepare five new companies each year to accomplish this with my help and the systems I have developed over a 30+ year career as a CEO and Consultant.

Here are a few of the most important questions to get real with your company and what it needs to grow in the coming year. If you cannot answer these your strategic planning is not done yet:

1. What will you do in 2024 to raise additional, or higher, barriers to entry (moat) around your business? This is what attracts capital, key employees and drives your stock and P/E ratio up.

2. What are you doing to uplevel your managers and c-level staff? No company can scale without growing some people internally. A Learning and Development (L & D) program is not optional. Ours is available here, and available to all your staff for as little as $250/month.

3. What are you doing to document and systematize your key processes and SOPs? There are about 40 standard ones every company needs (discussed in our Growth and Scaling workshop video replay here.

4. What will you do to expand your marketing channels? New channels, deeper? Broader? A portfolio of niches is a great strategy to avoid fighting companies that are 100 to 1,000 times larger than you.

5. Have you developed the org chart for what January 1st, 2025 will look like to grow people internally and hire to fill those roles? The CEO must be planning this 1-2 years out.

6. What are you doing about dedicated resources and focusing on innovation? And not just product and service innovation, but operations, using new AI tools, sales, marketing, process optimization, etc. Innovation is everyone’s job in a fast-changing world.

7. What are you doing to develop and steer your culture? We call the ideal culture a Darwinian Meritocracy. That is the culture that dominates its space.

8. Do you have a written Strategic Plan (even in slide deck form is fine) with the goals 3 to 5years out? These are the north star for monthly decisions. I have an article on the question “Is your strategic planning process done?” here.

9. Do you have a budget with a 90-day rolling cash-flow update cycle that ensures your team has the resources, hiring plan and financing to perform at the required level? Outside financing typically takes 6 months or more to put together, so this cannot be done on the fly.

10. Do you have a Visionary, Operator and Sales/Marketing professional, each with 15+ years’ work experience on your team? One at most can be a fractional executive but they need to be locked in with stock options (long-term with 7-figure or 8-figure upside) for 3-5 years. Committed. No company ever scaled without these three people and unless you can pay a $500K+/year salary you need to use stock options. Top people need top level compensation package. I have challenged people to find one example for years and never once saw one.

Most people think growth is all about sales and there are ten thousands people that will “10X your sales” but the real problems are always, always, always deeper – often two or three levels removed from actual sales. Sales is a result of doing 100+ other things well. More often than not you have people issues, inefficiencies in targeting, a lack of innovation in your product/offer, and many other things. A consulting client never, never, never understands the root cause of their problem, only the symptom that is the result downstream. If they did, they would have already fixed it.

Bob Norton is a long-time Serial Entrepreneur, CEO and investor who founded six companies with four exits that returned over $1 billion to investors for a 25X ROI. Two others are still in development. He has trained, consulted and advised thousands of Entrepreneurs, CEOs and boards since 2002. Mr. Norton works with companies to 2X to 10X growth rates and valuation using AirTight Management™, the world’s most comprehensive Leadership Operating System. He also helps companies raise capital to fund growth. He is also the Founder of The CEO Boot Camp™ and Entrepreneurship Universityfor early-stage companies that have not reached product-market fit and $1M ARR.

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