In any given week, I find myself confronted with a myriad of tasks that no one really likes doing. Here's a partial list of things that I've had to do over the past couple of weeks:
- We ran out of toilet paper at the office. I had to stop what I was doing to run out and get more
- Met with broker to renew our property & liability insurance
- Filled out power of attorney forms for states where we have employees
- Completed our 2009 Delaware Franchise Tax Form
- Handled the Verizon guy at our office when he came to deal with our router issues
- Collected signatures for our Board resolutions and annual report
- Completed the forms for the renewal of our D&O insurance
- Took out the garbage, and wiped down the tables
Should I ask someone else in the office to go to the store when we run out of toilet paper? Who should I ask? The lead engineer? The marketing manager? Although I'm sure that anyone in the office would be willing to do these tasks, I don't feel right about asking one of the employees. If they worked at a larger company, they wouldn't have to worry about these kinds of things. So I don't ask.
With my first child on the way, I recently reached the conclusion that I needed help. So just this past week, I hired a new person at Punchbowl who will not only help us with marketing tasks but will also have office manager responsibilities. After three years, it's great having someone in the office who will be able to help me out with some of the paperwork and less glamorous tasks.
Before you think about starting a company, keep in mind that a significant part of the CEO job is doing the tasks that don't fall under anyone's umbrella. If it's not a specific engineering, marketing, customer support, or business development task, chances are that you are going to have to handle it. That's not something I really understood before starting MyPunchbowl.com.
So, do you still want to be a start-up CEO?