Challenges, experiences and progress: My first 100 days as a CEO

Challenges, experiences and progress: My first 100 days as a CEO

Familiar and unfamiliar tasks in a new but recognisable environment.

published September 07, 2020
in Blog

There are many comparable aspects between the job roles of a manager and a CEO. Often this involves overseeing one or multiple areas of the business, such as HR, budgeting, marketing, sales or administration. As a manager, these responsibilities are usually limited to one specific team, function or project. A CEO's remit, however, covers all possible areas and the responsibility is complete and unavoidable.

The first 100 days in any major role is a time to look back and take stock of both the challenges and progress faced during that period. For me it has been full of important activities from practically every area of the business' administration. And, as I have discovered to my own cheerful surprise, it is a role I have been preparing for - albeit unknowingly - for many years.

Sales, strategy and future growth

Rewinding the clock back to spring, we as a business had our focus on sales to ensure our entire team would have interesting projects to work on following the summer holidays.

As part of this we held our maiden Verifa strategy and vision session. This was a hugely productive conference which allowed me to get a greater understanding of what internally we think about Verifa and its future development, and where we want to be in the future. We also began the process of interviewing new candidates, which is still underway.

Maximising resources for maximum results

Many discussions were held regarding where to focus our limited resources, and inevitably some difficult decisions had to be made.

As a result of these talks, we decided to focus on inbound marketing in favour of outbound activity for the time being. Furthermore we evaluated multiple partners for various essential business needs, deciding on a number of changes across the board. Certain strategic decisions were made to partly or fully outsource core functions such as accounting, HR and legal.

Vital administrative and HR tasks were also undertaken, such as looking for a new office and re-evaluating whether our current healthcare partner and collective agreement is right for us. We also looked into the business' financials more closely to better understand our profitability and where this can be further improved.

We also applied for - and eventually secured - Business Finland funding for an open-source product that has been in the planning stages for some time. We have great expectations for it and cannot wait to have something to show to the rest of the world.

Strengthening our fantastic culture

Verifa has a great culture, which we are extremely proud of. It is without question something we want to continually make stronger. During the often difficult lockdown period, not only have we held coffee sessions, daily stand-ups and remote after-works on Fridays, but also live meetings and even the third annual VeriConf just recently. All of these have been a great success.

We will continue to build on these activities to help strengthen a culture where we can all thrive together, as a team.

Experience is an invaluable asset

My first 100 days as a CEO has been as challenging as it has been rewarding. One thing in particular which struck me throughout is the importance of experience. I couldn't have made most of these hugely important business decisions without drawing on my previous work experience and the lessons learned from it. I also greatly benefited from my studies, as well as recent lectures at AaltoEE to gain my MBA.

If the first 100 days has taught me anything, it's this: while it may sometimes feel like your career has stalled and your work is meaningless, never forget that you are still gaining new experiences each and every day. And at some point in the future, when you look back on all of your achievements, it will all make sense.

Here's to Verifa's bright future in the next 100 days and beyond!

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