Let’s start with the acronym: a CEO is the Chief Executive Officer of a company. While it may sound a bit on the vague side, the CEO is generally the highest ranking executive in the company, making all the big corporate decisions that tend to affect the company as a whole. It may seem like it’s a fairly high level role, there are a few main responsibilities that often fall to startup CEO’s that are crucial to the running of their business.
Without a good team…there is no company to manage. The CEO is aware of the needs of the company and is very often reaching out to their network to manage recruitment opportunities. The best hires often come from the people you already know or work with, and a good CEO has a wealth of people in their network that they can tap into when recruiting needs come up.
What is a startup without the ever-present board of investors checking in on their investment? The CEO is generally the liaison between the company and the Board of Directors, and while most of the executive team will have regular meetings with the Board, it’s the CEO who’s doing the regular management and communications with them.
This goes back to recruiting but really, it’s a continuation of it. Once that amazing team is built, it needs to be constantly managed. The CEO should be the company’s biggest CEO and best team builder, and if possible, always have their finger on the pulse of the team to know what’s going on and what’s needed. From happy hours, to quarterly get-togethers, to the big annual retreats, the CEO should be at the helm of the activities, manning the ship and ensuring that the team is happy and gelling well together.
This is a big one. You can have the best company out there, but without a strong brand or mission and vision, it’s hard for a team to rally behind it. The CEO is who the team will be looking towards to really embody the company mission, so that they can do the same. When it’s time for a pivot, the CEO will need to be at the head of the team, embracing the change and leading by example for the rest of the company to follow suit.
At the end of the day, the CEO wears many hats, not just the ones listed above and one of the most crucial ones is being the best company ambassador and cheerleader possible. And that goes for both internally and externally. More often than not, the CEO is the face of a company and the team, and those outside of the team, will look to the CEO to represent the company in the best way possible.