There is an incorrect notion in many people’s mind as they think that being a CEO for a startup is a glamorous job. And some believe that being CEO of a fledgling tech company is full of fun. These kinds of ideas came into existence because of how the press depicts the life of the startup team. Some articles that are published by press claim that raising money or getting more users is an easy and effortless thing. There is lots of emphasis on office ping-pong tables and gourmet coffee.
They also state the being a CEO for a startup is something that is adventurous. While there is some truth to this, one should recognize the fact that being a CEO is not such an easy job as people think it to be. Not every founder of a company can become a successful entrepreneur. And to achieve success there will likely be a lot of hard work.
Certain traits set apart the best from the rest. Here is an excellent list of some of those essential characteristics that the best CEO possess.
Table of Contents
No 1: Keeper of the Vision
One thing that a CEO of a startup should have is a vision for the company. And this vision is not just for a few months but for a more extended period. He or she has to keep things on course in the current quarter so that the company can achieve its sizeable overarching vision. As a startup, it is true that you cannot reach your global vision in a year or two, because you are often starting from square one.
In some cases, it might take almost a decade. Google is one of the classic examples of this. A good CEO will take time to judge upcoming initiatives and also see if they fit in as a piece of the puzzle in a bigger vision.
No 2: Absorbs the Pain
A startup CEO should more or less act like a voodoo doll for the team in a personal way. They should be ready to take the stress, pain, and anxiety of the rest of the team, and at the same time make some rational decisions. It is essential for him or her to ensure that none of the troop members are getting overly stressed out or worrying too much about the challenges that they are facing.
A good startup CEO is one who can absorb the stress so that the team can focus on their work and carry on. He or she should be one who can mask both their pain and stress. It does not mean he or should start lying to the team; some transparency benefits everyone. But it is essential for your team not to be aware of and worry about the day-to-day nuances and stresses.
No 3: Hire Smart People and Defer Domain Expertise
A good CEO has a knack for choosing or hiring the best talent. The key to picking the right people is to find people who are smarter than you in specific topics. You might want to do this when you are planning to hire a new VP, Biz Dev or the technical team members. After finding these people, it is essential for you to hire them. Now, this is the most challenging problem.
You should be able to convince them to leave their job by looking at your passion and fire for the vision of your startup. A good CEO will not simply hire smart people but will trust them with the work and defer to them for domain expertise. While it is difficult to let go of things, that’s what you need to do if you want the company to progress.
No 4: Good Link Between Investors and the Company
It is necessary for you to realize the fact that you are not the only company that the investor may have in their portfolio. Even if you are doing well, they have several other companies to think about in a given year. Now, this is what makes a good investor. As a startup CEO, it is essential for you to act as a link between the investors and the company.
You should regularly update them with progress reports of your company as well as areas of concerns and issues and take the necessary assistance or help from them. An early startup that has raised some money will have three people on the board: the CEO founder, the investor and lastly an independent board member. You are the lone representative for both your co-founder as well as other employees.
No 5: Ability to Say No
Since you are the CEO of the company, you may get flooded with requests. These can come from the investors, potential partners, employees, and others. Most of these requests may sound great in theory but be a drain if you agree to too many. There is a possibility to execute most of them when your business is growing. But, at times it is wise to say no instead of saying yes. It is the only way you are going to keep the company on the track and achieve the vision that you have.
No 6: Motivate Your Team
In this business, people love to talk a lot. Now, this happens a lot more when your company is not faring well. A great CEO is one who can take in the public despair during those moments, and they are the ones who can keep their company focused. They can debunk rumors if there are any and assist the members of the company in focusing on the bigger mission. Keeping gossip and low morale to a minimum can keep the team focused on cohesion and working toward goals.
A great CEO can bring in the required motivation with a 5-minute talk or an email. It is essential for you to not shy away from addressing your team’s concerns.
There are many different ways to be a great startup CEO, but among all the best CEOs there are common themes. These are just a few of the elements that can help to ensure your success.