Everyone seems to know that a CEO is one of the most important people within a business. However, most people, unless they’ve been a CEO, don’t know what a CEO actually does or how they use their time. Depending on the organization, it can seem like a CEO does just about anything and everything for the business, including ensuring the day-to-day operations are running smoothly, engaging in marketing and advertising activities, and even caring for the well-being of employees. In this article, we’ll discuss what CEOs do all day so you can understand how businesses function and what this important role entails. 


A Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the head of the company and the highest-ranking executive within the company. Their duties can vary depending on the company itself, but they’re typically responsible for everything, including strategic planning, ensuring smooth processes, and the mission of the business.

CEOs typically work in offices, but many of them travel to meet with key stakeholders, clients, and partners. CEOs work long hours, and while they’re in the office from nine to five, their days usually start way before and end much after the typical office hours. Depending on the environment in which they work, they can work more or fewer hours. For example, CEOs for startups typically work longer hours than anyone else in the business because they’re responsible for everything from hiring, supply chain management, and funding. 


A CEO is a leader with more responsibility within the organization than everyone else. While the official duties of a CEO depend on the organization, all CEOs are responsible for ensuring the success of the business. Here are the duties of a CEO:


As the highest-ranking executive, the CEO must set the standards for the company’s values, culture, and behavior. An effective CEO understands the importance of each employee and wants to make their business a great place to work. Workplace culture can be built through an effective HR management strategy, but it’s up to the CEO to represent the company and model the correct behavior for employees to follow. 

Having a CEO who sets the standard for a good company culture can bring life into the business. However, a CEO who engages in toxic behavior can often make a workplace toxic, leading a business to high turnover rates and even dishonest employees who cut corners. Even something as simple as a compliment from a CEO when their team does well can help boost team morale. 


CEOs must build teams to ensure a company can succeed. Even with an HR department, the CEO can hire, fire, and lead the management team and anyone else in the rest of the organization. The CEO is responsible for hiring the best and firing underperformers, which can be a difficult job to have. Additionally, a CEO is responsible for leading teams; they must set the direction and communicate different strategies while providing a clear path. 


It’s up to the CEO to ensure the business is compliant in all aspects to ensure they’re doing everything according to local and federal laws. Additionally, they’ll protect the business by ensuring it and finding the best types of business insurance so that if something goes wrong, it won’t damage the business’s finances. For example, a CEO might look for product liability insurance to cover the business if someone becomes harmed by misusing a product the company creates. 

The CEO will also protect the business in other ways. For example, they may meet with stakeholders and investors to ensure everything is running smoothly and they are making profits. Additionally, they are responsible for protecting the business’ reputation. Many CEOs engage in public relations activities to build brand awareness and protect their company’s reputations. 


Along with engaging in public relations to build brand awareness, a CEO might be heavily involved in marketing and advertising, especially if the company is small. While a CEO might not be a marketer, they will have the final say in the assets that go out to print or are published online. For example, a CEO might have the final say when building a website to ensure the website adheres to all regulations while portraying the brand’s unique voice. 

Additionally, a CEO might be involved in creating marketing guidelines to ensure the brand messaging stays consistent across mediums, including print, social media, and digital advertising. 


CEOs are responsible for ensuring the effectiveness of the teams that work under them, no matter which department they’re in. So while CEOs might not worry about the day-to-day operations of those departments and will put someone qualified in charge of them, they will still need to be able to ensure all teams are performing. 

CEOs use project management strategies to make sure operations run smoothly, and that work is getting done even when they’re not heavily involved in the work. With software, a CEO can check on the status of all important projects to ensure deadlines will be met to measure productivity


CEOs set budgets based on the guidance of their strategies to effectively allocate resources throughout different departments and projects. Additionally, a CEO considers the major expenses of the business and prevents the company from losing money on unsuccessful projects. Many CEOs also depend on Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), who they have hired to help with financial planning and decision making that can affect the business. 


The CEO reports to the board or the president of the company. In some cases, the CEO and president can be the same person. No matter what, the CEO must be able to report on successes and failures to find ways to improve the business. Through proper reporting and record-keeping, a CEO can measure the results of different projects to figure out how to best allocate money while increasing productivity and efficiency. 


While the CEO is not the owner of the business in many cases, they still report to someone who can measure their success and decide whether or not they’re doing a good job. However, sometimes presidents and boards can only determine if someone is doing well in their position by looking at cash flow and the success of the business rather than the success of the leader. However, CEOs need to measure their own success. They can measure their success by asking for feedback and measuring the performance and efficiency of their teams. 

This blog post was written by Nicole and may not be copied or published without PeopleGuru’s express written consent.

Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she shares knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, or financial tips. During her free time she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music.