Friday Q & A: What a CEO and Their Team Can Expect From Each Other, Guest Blogging vs. Posting on Your Own Blog, and The One Thing I Wish I Knew When Starting Groove

Friday Q & A: What a CEO and Their Team Can Expect From Each Other
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Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.

Happy Friday!

In our new Groove Friday Q & A segment, we’re answering any questions that you have about, well, anything.

A huge thank you to Mari Suviste, Dani Salem and John Steer-Fowler for this week’s questions.

Check out this week’s answers below, and jump in with your own thoughts in the comments!

What do you expect from your team-members at Groove? What does your team expect from you?

This is a fantastic question, and probably worthy of a longer post.

I still may write that post, but I think it’d be helpful to share my thinking around the CEO/team dynamic, and how I think it works best on effective teams. It’s something I try to be really clear about when I hire, but the truth is, it’s constantly evolving as I become a more experienced CEO, and as our entire team and company matures.

Here’s what I think is reasonable for a startup team to expect of their CEO:

  • First and foremost, support. They need to trust me when I promise that I’ll do anything in my power to make their jobs easier, and to help them achieve their professional goals.
  • Vision. Setting the mission that we can all align ourselves around, and sticking to that mission (or making the tough decision to change that mission if necessary).
  • Leadership. Sometimes we have to make difficult choices as a company. My team should be able to rely on me to make those choices confidently, decisively and productively. And that I’ll set an example when it comes to work ethic, culture and values.
  • Transparency. The team deserves to know what’s going on with the company that they’re investing their time and career in.

Beyond that, they can expect that I’ll fill all 10 of the essential roles of a CEO.

From my team, I expect:

  • Accountability. We have a small team and a lot of work to do. Everyone needs to act like a CEO when it comes to making smart decisions, fast, and they need to get their work done when they say they will, because when they don’t we all suffer.
  • Self-Awareness. We’re a remote team, and while I try very hard to keep my finger on the pulse of how every single employee is feeling and doing, it’s not an easy thing. Just like I expect people to work hard, I expect them to know when they’ve put in enough work and clock out for the day (this is hard for any motivated person to do, and most of us should be clocking out a lot earlier than we actually do). Or when they need to take a day, a week, or a couple weeks off for themselves.
  • Transparency. Just as my team can expect me to be transparent with them, I hope they’ll come to me with any concerns or questions they have about anything so that I can help.

I’m sure I’m missing some things here, and I’d be curious to hear what you all think—and how you approach this on your own team—in the comments!

Should I guest blog first, or wait until I have useful posts on my own site to send people to?

Some people will tell you that you shouldn’t bother trying to guest post until you’ve built up an impressive body of work on your own blog.

I couldn’t disagree more.

If we were starting the blog over again, I’d be publishing guest posts from day one, when there was only a single post on our site.

There are three big reasons for that:

  • Guest blogging has value, period. And the amount of guest blogging you can do isn’t limited by the number of opportunities out there. If you had the bandwidth and the right strategy (see the post I linked above), you could literally find homes for a new guest post every single day. So if you’re worried you’ll “use up” your guest posting opportunities, don’t be.
  • Guest blogging doesn’t just drive traffic (though it does that very well). It also helps you build relationships with smart, successful people who have deep insight into your audience. It’s never too early to start building those relationships.
  • The biggest reason: guest posts aren’t a “flash in the pan” when it comes to traffic. If you’re posting on successful sites, you won’t see a ton of traffic on day one, and then never get another referral. Great sites have spent a lot of time and energy building their SEO foundation, and they get huge amounts of new organic traffic each day. Some of that traffic will read your guest post and visit your site for as long as the post is up. And if your post is useful and evergreen, that organic traffic will compound over time.

I’d spend equal amounts of time developing content for your own site and for guest posts. You’ll continue to reap the benefits from your early posts long after you’ve published them.

The most important part is to stop deliberating and get started. Good luck!

If you could have given yourself a piece of knowledge or advice when you first started Groove, what would that be?

This is one of those “silver bullet” questions that’s really tough; there’s so much that I wish I knew when we were just starting out. Most of it is catalogued as our fails and learnings on the blog.

If I had to pick one thing that I don’t think anyone should try to build a business without deeply understanding, it’s that nobody cares about your product. They care about themselves, their problem, and finding a solution for that problem.

Pitch your product, and you’ll be ignored. Pitch a solution to a burning problem, and now you’ve got their attention.

It took us a lot of customer development and testing our messaging to figure that one out.

Alex Turnbull
Alex Turnbull Alex is the CEO & Founder of Groove. He loves to help other entrepreneurs build startups by sharing his own experiences from the trenches.