A CEO of a startup sounds like an exciting work position. One often hears about the success of startups and lot of attention is given to the company CEO. However, a startup CEO’s job can be very stressful and challenging. A Startup CEO is one of the key member of a startup team. He/She alone could be a big reason why some startups succeed while others fail. When so much is riding on this position alone, it becomes important to know what qualities are desired in a startup CEO. What makes some startup CEO great achievers for their organization? Are company founders best suited to be the CEO of the startup? We try to list some of the qualities that every startup CEO must possess.
Trust: A startup CEO must be absolutely authentic and transparent with his/her dealings. Trust is what binds employees, investors, partners and customers to the company and startup CEO is in the center of this trust relationship.
Keeper of vision: Vision is critical to survival of the startup. This is what attracts investors and key employees. The vision may or may not be created by the CEO but he/she must make sure company actions are aligned to the vision. As a startup, one gets lots of offers and opportunities. The key is to seize the right offers and opportunities while passing the bad ones. A right opportunity is the one which is not only profitable but also aligned to the long term vision of the company.
Resilience: Not matter how smart is the team, failures are part and parcel of every startup. Sometimes these failures are big, at other times they may be small. If one goes by the statistics, more startups fails than succeed. A startup CEO must have great resilience to bounce back from a defeat. A startup CEO must learn from his/her mistake and start all over again with the same passion and enthusiasm.
Hire and retain smart people: A startup CEO must be able to hire exceptionally talented people. Sometimes these hires may know more about the particular domain than the CEO himself/herself. A startup CEO must also empower his/her team to get the job done. This could mean arranging the necessary resources, networking with other domain experts and sometimes just listening to the team members and taking decisions by being in “their shoes”.
Leadership: A startup CEO must be able to lead people. He/She should be able to convince people about the enterprise idea and must be able to make the first few key hires. He/She must be passionate about the company vision and must be able to transfer this passion to every employee in the team.
Motivator: A startup CEO must be able to engage with his/her team members. It is important to motivate the team especially during crisis which, more often than not, is a norm in startup environment.
Communicator: A startup CEO must be a great communicator. He/She must be able to communicate company vision very clearly to investors, employees and partners.
Ethics & Values: A startup CEO must have the resolve to stick with his/her ethics and values.