Question: Where can I get practical advice or training for being a better CEO for my growing startup?
Question by: Ashley
"The best advice you can get will likely come from discussions with other people who are dealing with or have dealt with similar issues themselves. Find clubs, organizations and groups such as the Young Presidents' Organization that you can join speak to other entrepreneurs who are doing great things themselves. Just come prepared to offer your own nuggets of wisdom as well."
Ask Experts About the Unknown
"We tend to migrate towards areas we know and leaders and mentors in them. Instead, focus on areas (like HR or legal) where you have limited or no knowledge and don't be embarrassed about it. Seek out leaders and experts in those specific areas and start with the basics. They don't have to be entrepreneurs or startup alumni to know their stuff."
Collect a Blogroll
"In this age of social media, people are telling all, and entrepreneurs are being more transparent than ever. If you really want to know how to become a better CEO, read some of the incredible stuff other startup junkies are writing, since they're sharing every intimate detail about their experiences and analyses on how they can improve."
Get into the CEO Space
"CEO Space is the largest and oldest network of co-operative CEO's in the world. They offer lifetime membership to a group of hundreds of CEO's that meet five times a year to help each other grow their business in terms of clients, capital and contacts. They also have the best trainers in the industry teaching at their conference. I can tell you that whatever you are looking for, you will find."
Find a CEO Mentor
"Just because you're the CEO doesn't mean you can't have a mentor to look up to. Seek out more experienced leaders in your industry. One-on-one mentorship is one of the best ways to get practical advice at any stage in your career. You'll gain contacts and confidence from a mentor that will help you personally and professionally."
Can You SCORE?
"SCORE is a great resource for free business counseling. With chapters and locations all across the country, you can feel assured that you will meet a volunteer that can offer sound advice that will help you reach your goals as a CEO."
Everybody Needs Coaching
"You can start with a mentor, but always be looking for a coach. A coach is someone who has done what you are looking to do. Typically, when you find the right one you can make an offer to help them -- pay them, donate to their charity, do work for them -- in exchange for time each month to talk to them about your business. Be willing to give them something in return for their time."
Learn From the Best
"Some of the best advice you can get is from someone who's six to twelve months ahead of you in the startup lifecycle. Since they just lived through it, they'll have a lot more sympathy for what you're going through right now than the rockstar CEO who's been kicking ass for years. They'll also be able to provide tactical advice that you can follow immediately knowing that it just worked for them."
Be a Student Again
"If you are a tech CEO, there is nothing like taking a programming class so you can learn the basics of what your development team is doing. This doesn't mean you have to become a programmer, but it wouldn't hurt to understand what they do. Check out Hacker School, Codecademy or Udemy to learn more about this critical part of your startup. It's also not a bad place to look for talent."
Get a Board of Advisors
"This doesn't have to be as complicated as it sounds. Think about the types of people you would want on your board of advisors: lawyers, accountants, business leaders, you name it. Then seek out people in those fields who you may already know, and fill the rest of the spots with virtual mentors by reading books on those topics."
Who Do You Know?
"It's okay to be honest and humble with your own existing network. If you are focused on success, you're likely to know people who are successful. Reach out to peers, mentors, and friends on people whom can share their experiences being a CEO or related leadership position."
Read Inc. Magazine
"I’ve been a regular Inc. reader for quite some time. Inc. offers all kinds of advice on running your business on their website and in the magazine –- from strategies on growth and pricing to team management. It’s also a great community to get active in and connect with other entrepreneurs and small business owners."
Utilize Questions on Quora
"There are unbelievable discussions on Quora about building a team, improving as a manager, growing as a leader and more. Successful CEOs answer questions all the time, and the number of discussion threads about growing a startup is nearly limitless. Most helpful is the diversity of viewpoints. There is no one "right" way to be a CEO, and Quora allows you to learn from everyone."
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.