Who Can Be the Startup CEO?

CEO and co-founders

One of the early challenges the co-founders face is choosing the one who will be the CEO. Unfortunately, There is no a simple rule for choosing the business leader; However, we’ll discuss some of the skills needed in the startup CEO.

Communication Skills

Every startup leader must master many communication skills. The CEO will be the one responsible for communicating with investors, partners, and potential customers.  Accordingly, he/she should be self-confident and be a good presenter. During any presentation, he/she must have thick skin and accept all criticism. It is quite normal to change the product in the early-stage based on the feedback received.

In addition to the presentation and listening skills, every CEO must be a good negotiator. Normally, early-stage startup CEOs negotiate with many investors, partners, and potential customers. In some cases, they may even negotiate with job candidates to convince them to join the startup.  Being good negotiators will help them get the best deals for their businesses.

Finally, the startup leader must be a good mediator. There will be times when the CEO has to step up and resolve a conflicts. These conflicts can occur between employees or co-founders. Or it might be between their sales partners or suppliers. In all cases, the CEO must be able to resolve such conflicts and help them work out their own problems.

Marketing Skills

Building a good product isn’t enough for a business to survive. Without proper marketing, the startup will not be able to survive on the long-term. The business leaders have to find the best marketing techniques suitable to their businesses. They must test all possible channels and capitalize on the winning ones. In addition, they need to work hard to minimize the customer acquisition cost and increase the customer lifetime value. Finally, they must try all possible ways to monetize their products.

Planning Skills

The startup CEO will be the link between the business and the external world. Accordingly, he/she must be able to find all possible opportunities in the market and plan for them inside. The startup leaders must set short-term and long-term goals for their business. Furthermore, they should instill confidence, trust and passion in their teams to be able to achieve these goals. They will also be responsible for allocating resources necessary for achieving both the short-term and the long-term goals.

In most cases, the initial plan won’t go as expected. It can be for a shifting customer needs, technology advancement, etc. The CEO must be quickly to respond to all these changes and create new plans accordingly.

Team Building Skills

After setting the plans, the CEO will be responsible for hiring the right team that can execute these plans. For many reason, most calibers will prefer working in big and stable organizations rather than startups. The CEO must be able to convince those calibers to join his/her team by creating an attractive working environment. He/she should create a challenging environment where employees will be happy to stay even if they are underpaid.

Budgeting Skills

The last thing to consider in the CEO’s responsibilities is the budgeting. The CEO should achieve the goals planned with minimum possible budget. He/she should decide when to raise investment and how much to raise. He also need to analyze the business financial performance and compare it with the industry to know if the business is moving the right direction or not.


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