Who are the startup CEOs?
Being the CEO of a startup isn’t something that just anyone can do. You need to have certain qualities if you want to be successful and not just get the business off the ground but also help it to flourish. In fact, statistics show that CEOs of startups and especially successful startups tend to be a particular type of person.
One important thing to consider is age. We often think that many successful entrepreneurs are young, which might not be entirely true. A lot of attention is paid to younger business people who may be no older than their early 30s. However, according to Harvard Business Review, the average age of US entrepreneurs when they found their company is 42. However, in many countries in Europe, the 25-34 age group is also prominent.
The vast majority of startup founders are male, with an overwhelming 92% of founders in the US. Other countries show higher levels of female entrepreneurship, such as Poland, where almost a quarter of startup founders are female.
According to Founder’s Guide, half of founders also have a bachelor’s degree. They also say that just 18% of startups that survive 5 years are successful ventures from first-timers, while 30% are second-time ventures. Of course, the demographics of startup CEOs may not be as important as the qualities that they hold.
Have a clear and realistic vision
The first step to being a successful startup CEO is to have a clear and realistic vision for your company. It’s vital to begin with a business plan that not only sets out the direction of the business but also considers how the goals will be achieved.
Before creating a business plan, it’s important to do as much research as possible to ensure that the business has a realistic chance of success. Essential things to research include demand for the product, audience demographics, pricing and profit potential, growth potential and other factors that could affect the success of the business.
Another important part of having a clear vision for a company is to have a mission statement. This will help to define the company, giving it a solid direction and something to refer to when making decisions. The startup’s mission statement, along with company values and philosophy, can help to inform the development and growth of the business.
Remember that it’s not just a clear vision that matters, but also realistic expectations of where the startup can go. That’s why research is so important, in addition to an open-minded approach and a willingness to accept when something might not be the right decision.
Importance of execution skills
Having a solid plan for a startup is just the first stage of getting it off the ground. While it’s good to spend a long time planning, at some point it will be time to take action. A successful startup CEO needs to get things done, so execution skills are important.
You can spend a long time planning and raising funds, but eventually you have to start getting things done. Once you have created a plan and set goals, that’s when you can outline the tasks that you need to carry out to get a startup up and running, and then to keep growing it.
Carlos Cisco says that starting a new company is 80% execution, with the idea for the company not playing nearly as important a role. Any startup founder who is willing to put in the work to execute their idea and execute it in the right way could find success.
To execute a business idea, it’s essential to consider the features of the product, the build requirements, who will be responsible for each task, and how long everything will take to execute. These things will force the founder to ask some essential questions about what needs to be done.
Passion for product development
Any startup CEO needs to be passionate about developing their business. They need to be committed to building a brand alongside their product or service. A successful business needs to be fully-formed and continually evolving and improving too. Creating a brand requires the consideration of a variety of factors, from brand colors to values, tone of voice and logos.
These things need to be created and developed, and changed when appropriate. Growing a startup requires more than having an idea or even a product. There needs to be a complete brand that defines what you want to do and what your business stands for. Branding should also be applied to individual products where appropriate.
Developing products and services is also a significant part of growing a business. Depending on the business, this can require various processes to take place. Some products might need to begin with prototypes and go through testing and revisions to be fully realized and ready to go to market. A startup founder needs to be committed to developing their initial products or services and later exploring opportunities to add further products to their offering too.
Be ready for bootstrap funding
Of course, no business can get off the ground without the necessary funding. Any startup CEO who wants to see success needs the funding to bootstrap their business. This is often the best way to fund your business in the beginning, using your own capital, before pursuing other options such as an angel investor or seed funding later. It’s not always easy to find the money needed to start a new company, but there are a number of ways to increase funds.
Some business owners find ways to bring in more money through freelancing or contracting. This can seem unwise when working on a new business, but it can be a good way to make money when it’s convenient and even allow for projects relating to the new business.
There are also options like equity-free funding programs, crowdfunding or grants. These funding options can help startups to get off the ground and allow CEOs to concentrate on growth. To be a successful startup CEO, the right skills and the willingness to put in a lot of hard work are essential.