Partnering. One of your priorities should be to build partnerships with bigger companies. The reasons: i) larger partners ultimately become strategic acquirers that pay the biggest premiums for the business; and ii) great partnerships drive lots of revenue through integrations and the leveraging of the partner’s sales team to sell your product with theirs.
Recruiting. As a CEO of a rising company in your industry, you should be in touch with the best talent in your industry and constantly trying to lure them to your firm. This includes C-suite executives but also the best sales reps, tech talent, and great customer success reps. Nothing is more effective in getting talent to a company as when the CEO reaches out directly and makes people feel wanted.
Visioning. Nothing scares us more than an aloof CEO constantly preaching about his vision. You can see these CEOs a mile away: they spend way too much time looking for speaking engagements on the conference circuit and are constantly pontificating about where the product is headed. They use the words ‘vision’ and ‘mission’ way too often, and don’t really get much done. Since they’re not actually executing with the sales team, CS team, and product team, all they’re doing is ‘thinking’ and probably don’t understand what it will actually take to execute.
Speaking with VC. You do not need to spend much time speaking with VC unless you’re actually about to fundraise or are in a fundraise. Believe me, if your business is attractive, VC will be all over you when the raise is on — they don’t need a relationship. High level, superfluous calls you’re doing with VC aren’t really providing information on what the VC will be like to work with. If anything, the VC was comparing what you said to his notes from calls with your competitor because he isn’t building a relationship only with you. When you’re really going to learn about a VC is during the fundraising process itself and from the reference calls you’re going to do on them as part of fundraising, so avoid the calls to get to know VC today.