Don’t Play Hard to Get

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As a small business CEO, you manage hundreds of projects and details, and your marathon meeting schedule would probably kill a horse. Under those circumstances, it’s all too easy to lose touch with the people who matter the most: your employees and customers. Are you an accessible CEO? If not, have you considered what being hard to get costs you?

As Janine Popick, CEO of VeritcalResponse, wrote on Small Business Computing, when CEOs wall themselves off all day long, they miss out on opportunities to improve both the company’s products and its overall reputation. Let’s take a closer look at some of the tactics she uses—and recommends to small business owners—to replace those back-to-back meetings and to build stronger connections with customers and employees.

Social Media for CEOs

You know by now that social media is a highly effective tool for driving business. It’s also an effective way for a leader to better understand how customers use and react to company products and services. It can also improve your reputation as a leader. According to one marketing study, “CEOs who participated on social media networks were more likely to be defined as good communicators, open and accessible, and were considered good listeners.”

(MORE: Lead Management Leads to Business Growth)

Tip: Create a presence on the social media platforms most-frequented by your customers. Show up and participate regularly and consistently, and when people comment to you directly, be sure to respond personally.

Executive All-Access Pass

There’s a big difference between saying you want to be accessible and actually being more accessible. Can your customers find and communicate with you readily, either by email or through social media? Can they email you and other company executives? Will they get a personal response, or do you foist that task onto a junior employee?

If you really want to be accessible to your customers, you need to remove any barriers and have your executive team do the same.

Tip: Make it easy for customers and prospects to reach you. Post your email address and your Twitter handle or other social media info on your website, along with contact information for each member of your leadership team. And be sure that you all answer your own email personally.

Doors Wide Open

What message do you send your team by keeping your office door closed? An open door signals welcome, interest, accessibility, concern and availability. A closed door says the exact opposite.

(MORE: Stop Micromanagement Madness)

Tip: Unless you’re in a meeting, keep your door open so your employees know they can pop-in for a quick hello or get your take on a business issue.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of Small Business Computing. Follow Lauren on Twitter.

Adapted from Why Small Business CEOs Need to Be Publicly Available by Janine Popick at Small Business Computing. Follow Small Business Computing on Twitter.

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