When you hear the term âCEOâ you probably think of men in suits and ties running a huge company from the top of a skyscraper.
While there may still be places where this is true, the modern idea of ââwhat a CEO should be has changed dramatically in recent years. And while you might not think of yourself as a CEO when you’re a solo entrepreneur, there are many lessons that can still be learned from those running larger companies.
The biggest change probably comes from what is called the âCEO 3.0â philosophy, a mindset that focuses on the power of digital tools and international experiences in an increasingly connected and globalized world. .
1. Remote and digital management
I first discovered the CEO 3.0 philosophy during a conversation with one of Germany’s most prolific real estate entrepreneurs, Jakob mahren. The Berlin-based executive argued that the tasks – and therefore also the skills needed to run a business in this decade – have changed significantly compared to 20 years ago.
More importantly, these tasks are still evolving at a rapid pace today. As such, it’s no surprise that one of the main facets of CEO 3.0 is the focus on remote and digital management of a business.
This new digital priority is something many business leaders have been forced to do – whether they like it or not – amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who had already started adopting a variety of technology options were able to quickly adapt to a new way of doing things. Those who were reluctant to embrace such tools and methods, however, found it difficult to manage their teams and maintain business as usual.
MÃ¤hren noted during our conversation: âA brief overview of some of the world’s most accomplished entrepreneurs shows that strong digital literacy and mobile management skills are characteristics that can quickly take a business and CEO to new heights ever. achieved. “
Continuing MÃ¤hren, âElon Musk and Jeff Bezos, for example, have proven that they have a firm grasp of the digital world, from social media to high-tech solutions, and that they can lead their businesses to success whether they spend or not their days at the office or in space, literally. This is reflected in their success in running multiple businesses simultaneously. ”
As a solopreneur, you probably already have a clear advantage in this area. Online businesses are already naturally geared towards managing everything remotely. You don’t have to go to an office to get to work; you can work from your apartment while still wearing your pajamas.
Of course, not all remote and digital management is created equal. You don’t need all the digital management tools out there – if you’re not an ecommerce brand, you won’t be using logistics software a lot. Take a close look at the tools that can help you streamline your business and select the ones that will improve your workflow without straining your budget.
2. Increase vision and reach through international life
A unique aspect of doing business today is that our world is more connected than ever in human history. An increase in globalization means that a solopreneur in the middle of Oklahoma could, in theory, land customers from every corner of the world.
But while digital tools have helped level the playing field in terms of geographic reach, they do not necessarily replace real international experiences. Instead, this can be achieved by traveling frequently – when possible, of course – to partners and customers abroad.
For many founders and CEOs, international travel plays an important role in networking with new business opportunities. Every time you travel, you benefit from meeting new business and personal contacts. Exchanging ideas with people of different backgrounds and cultures helps you broaden your own horizons and leads to the development of new business ideas. It can give you a much broader perspective than if you were just staying in your home country.
While travel restrictions may make international travel a bit more difficult at this time, savvy entrepreneurs would be wise to view travel as more than just vacation. Your trip doesn’t even have to be business-focused to directly benefit your personal brand.
Being open to new experiences and having a willingness to interact with strangers can lead to surprising connections. When done right, your international exhibition can help you innovate and grow your business activities globally.
3. Improve results with digital communication
In my conversation with MÃ¤hren, he was quick to touch on another aspect of CEO 3.0’s philosophy: using digital communication to coordinate efforts across multiple time zones.
âOngoing collaboration, especially internationally, can be a challenge after making contact. The same is true when working with a geographically diverse team. And while email is a great place to start, we have so many other tools to make sure our messages don’t slip through the cracks, âhe says.
âDigital messaging tools make it a lot easier to coordinate and stay in touch, and that’s where the real innovation happens. Even logging in on social media can help you maintain those relationships that could prove invaluable down the road.
When working with international clients, there’s a good chance you’ll be going to bed the same time they walk into the office. It’s not really conducive to a phone call or video conference. Unless one of you wants to sacrifice sleep – and let’s face it, no one is ever too excited about it.
With digital communication tools, time zone differences don’t have to be an obstacle that prevents you from collaborating with other entrepreneurs or achieving great results for your clients.
Sure, sometimes it will take patience while you wait for a response, but managing digital communications ultimately makes it much more than keeping track of everything so that everyone is on the same page.
It’s time to upgrade your CEO philosophy
You may not be responsible for hundreds of employees, but the same principles that make a â3.0â CEO successful can also pay off in your own entrepreneurial career.
By taking advantage of all that today’s digital tools have to offer and expanding your horizons through international experiences, you can become more agile and innovative. You won’t just be in a better position to reach a larger audience; you will have the tools and the know-how to make it happen.