6 Must-Do Things A Startup CEO Should Do
I can safely say that all are learning on the job. There is no template to follow, no books to read to see what rules you can follow, well, by the book. What a startup CEO does varies widely between whether you’re bootstrapped or whether you’re looking to raise funds. At our company, we have not actively looked to raise funds, and we are bootstrapped.
So here is my list of 6 things the CEO of a bootstrapped company should do.
1. Build a team
The first and foremost job of the CEO is to build a world-class team. This is one of the toughest things to do when you’re bootstrapped. You need to have a clear, crisp articulation of what you’re trying to do with your startup, and why anyone should join you. At the outset, you probably don’t have much money to offer. So the team gets built on your vision and your ability to talk about it with passion.
2. Create things out of thin air
When I stopped working at a corporate, one of the first things to hit me was that there was no one to tell me what to do, what is priority, what we are building etc. As the CEO you need to be a creator. You need a vibrant imagination and an ability to create goals, create vision, create plans. I am a strong believer that a good team of talented individuals can achieve whatever they set their minds to. As a CEO, my job is to imagine and define what we should set our minds to.
3. Design everything!
At the end of the day, your company provides experiences to people. Be it through your product, sales presentations, support function, marketing campaigns etc.. Your job is to make sure you provide a consistent, world-class experience through all channels. This design responsibility also includes building a team culture with the right value systems in place.
4. Live/be the brand
You are a walking talking representation of your company. So you need to be ready to talk to anyone at the drop of a hat about what you do. In fact, my relatives ask me if I have no other t-shirt than the Geektrust ones. It goes beyond that - what does your company stand for, why do you exist - all of this helps you define the company’s brand and your own.
5. Operational awareness
As a CEO you absolutely have to focus on the big picture. You have to constantly think about things that will take your company to the next level. However, you should know exactly what your expenses were last week, how many daily active users you have, what’s your bounce rate and everything to do with operations.
As a company, there are different functions that need to come together - sales, product, tech, legal, finances and you, as CEO, are accountable for every single one of them functioning properly. If there’s a bug in production, you are accountable. If a sales deal fell through, you are accountable. If the company didn’t file taxes last month, you are accountable. So you need to build the company in a manner where there is enough freedom for everyone to operate but also for you to know what is going on where.
These are not rules but my learnings. Each startup is different and each one will have their own challenges. Here’s to everyone sharing their journey and learnings!
[Krishnan has 13 years of experience in various software delivery roles. Was Head of Delivery for Thoughtworks Bangalore. As a co-founder, handles business strategy, sales & marketing at Geektrust.]
[Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Trivone Media Network's or that of CXOToday's.]
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