Are you the owner of a startup, small, or medium sized company? If so, you know what it means to be the CEO, even if you don’t use the title. If you are not yet in full operation, it’s helpful to review the five core responsibilities that CEOs oversee, especially in companies that sell goods directly to the public and to retailers.

The cycle of five functions is more of a loop than a start to finish process, mainly because you are likely to add products, redesign them, upgrade them, and reposition your offerings as time goes by.

Beginning with sales, here’s what the daily responsibilities look like for CEOs of companies large and small.

CEOs Oversee: The Five Phases of Business

Sales

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Some startups don’t see their first sales for months and have to absorb expenses (show a negative profit) until orders begin coming in. Overseeing the sales effort can be tricky if you’ve never sold anything or hired anyone to do it for you. In the end, owners must build a sales team and choose a sales technique that works, even if that means outsourcing the entire chore to a team of professionals.

Shipping and Fleet Management

Companies that sell enough goods to sustain a vehicle fleet have moved well along the growth cycle from startup to full-fledged operational efficiency. Sellers who need specialized transportation, like refrigerated trucks, turn to reefer monitoring solutions to achieve better cost-control, more accurate monitoring, and total compliance with regulations. Fleet management for refrigerated assets is the smartest way to provide visibility and control for managers who need precise information about every shipment.

Customer Service

Customer Service Agent

Unfortunately, too many entrepreneurs ignore or downplay the importance of after-sale service. It’s one thing to offer attentive help and guidance to prospective and repeat buyers while they’re headed toward the shopping cart on your e-commerce site. But true customer care entails assisting them after they take possession of the goods. Profitable organizations know the long-term value of giving fast refunds, accepting returns, and checking in with buyers to see if they have any questions or special needs.

Design

The design phase might be a one-time thing for some sellers, but for others it’s an ongoing process. In the auto industry, for example, companies spend significant resources on designing new models to meet exacting customer tastes and preferences. The same is true for clothing manufacturers, makers of home decor products, and jewelry companies. Since many of these trends will impact growth, you should be dedicated to keeping your finger on the pulse of an ever-evolving consumer market. If you are a founder, CEO, or even a solo entrepreneur who sells goods to the public, consider upgrading designs and styles to meet changing trends.

Production

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For the majority of traditional goods sellers, production is the primary, and often the costliest, phase of operations. For resellers, the production costs are technically zero, but you still need to acquire assets from somewhere. An apt example of this responsibility is in the growing market for hand-made consumer items. Even if you create custom jewelry, for example, in your home, overseeing this crucial step can make or break the bottom line. Production entails key functions like quality control, minimizing expenses for raw goods, testing, and sufficient output.

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