What keeps CEOs up at night: competition, capital and security challenges top list

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Are CEOs investing enough in their employees and their company's future? (nyul/Getty Images)

Expansion, management succession and goal setting are buzzwords that keep CEOs up at night, but it goes much deeper. In this era of cyber strikes and tough competition, being reactive and hoping staff and funds can keep up with your growth are also key issues.

“I wonder since we’re growing so fast, how do we make sure employees” keep pace, said Manny Medina, CEO of Outreach, a sales technology firm.

The company started two-and-a-half years ago with four employees and now has 240.

Medina also worries about not breaking the culture that has grown as the company has expanded. And all employees must meet “a criteria,” he said.

Jed Ory, CEO of Phone2Action, is also big on staff. “You have to push your business forward and have the right people and motivate them,” Ory said.

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Medina said capital is also an issue. “Am I investing enough in the future?” he asked. “What am I not seeing down the line?”

In the same vein, Medina said, “What are we not doing that we should be? And how will we get there?”

Ory also spends considerable time thinking about how to align "short term needs with long term goals. You need to execute in the present, but also have a vision,” Ory said. “What keeps me up at night is what will the market look like in the next 18 to 36 months.”

It’s necessary to be a sharp competitor, be innovative and keep an eye on what technology will look like in the future, Ory said.

To help lighten the load, look carefully at problems, understand the causes, address them, build from there, embrace diverse perspectives and be gentle and professional, said Joshua Feast, CEO of Cogito, a maker of AI voice analytics technology.

Competition, which might be thought of as a major concern, simply is not a point of stress for Medina. “If we focus on our customer it will pay off handsomely,” he said.