Being the CEO of a startup is crazy, fun, very hard work, inclusive, humbling and of course can be quite rewarding. Weekends are meaningless. There is a continuous decision stream where each decision informs the next. Your mind is thinking 24 hours a day, even when you sleep.
When you’re the CEO of a startup, a real startup with product and some cash in the bank and/or revenue, there are 3 FULL TIME JOBS.
1. Raising Money – you are constantly doing this, preparing for this and thinking about this, whether it’s pre-seed, seed funding, debt, revenue, partnerships, IPO or other.
2. Managing and Properly Growing The Business – this includes several things, depending on the size of the enterprise: managing employees, administration, hiring, firing, leases, expenses, unhappy employees, fixing other problems, etc.
This piece is what often kills an otherwise great business, which justifys the case for less is more when it comes to employees and infrastructure.
3. Selling – The CEO of a startup must ABS, always be selling. You start every day working this, just like #1 above, they’re closely related. Using the CEO to close sales no matter what size the business is, is vital to success.
This piece emphasizes the importance of having an awesome, mature VP of Sales, if you can afford it; it takes a lot of pressure off and frees up the time of the CEO.
Overall, it can be the most exhilarating experience you’ve ever had, especially when things work. And it’s more accessible to most people than ever before. But it’s not for everyone – you must decide what your #1 goal is. If it’s to create a successful long term business, being the CEO should be something you’re willing to give up if it threatens goal #1. If your #1 goal is to try it out to see how it feels, then by all means do it, get professional help, and make the most of it. Contact me if you’re dead serious and I can help you. The Startup CEO by Tom Nora