Running a startup is a job not suitable for everyone: continuous uncertainty, making decisions without just data and the challenge of pursuing a goal that often not only does not seem closer, but seems to move away. And if you add to this a habitual lack of endemic resources, it seems a task suitable only for superheroes …
The job of CEO of a Startup is anything but glamorous and does not look like what comes out in the Facebook movie “The social network” … forget the super modern offices, the parties and the talks, that is something Can arrive (or not). Normally your role is more like covering any gap that appears and take care to keep it all together.
That means buying the pizzas for the team to sweep the floor, going to meet with investors or, above all, be on the street talking to customers.
Of course, in this scenario it is very easy to lose the north and dedicate your efforts to things that seem tremendously important but that really are not … and of course, that means that if we are not working on the important thing, we will waste our time, money and energy Before arriving at the next station.
These are some of the best synthesis about what the CEO’s role is:
DEFINE VISION AND STRATEGY … AND COMMUNICATION
A startup normally does not operate in the “now”, but lives in an intersection between reality and dream, vision. Because the expectation of “covering” does not compensate for the marathon days, not having a salary or that it is low and fighting against current, not really. What justifies everything is the vision the why of our existence, what we think is wrong in the world and what we will fix.
And it is not only important to define that vision, we must think of a path to it, a strategy that takes us from today until there … without using the vision as a way to do what we please without listening to the market. And above all, it is key to communicate it. The CEO’s ability to communicate to all stakeholders is one of his most important activities, since it is not only about external marketing, it is about enamoring employees, future partners, investors, customers … and understanding how Each of them understands every thing.
RECLUIT, CONTRACT AND RETAIN TO THE BEST TALENT
If vision is the destination and strategy the road, the team is the car that will allow us to travel that road and arrive in the best way possible. And first of all it is key to be able to build the best equipment for your startup (surely one of the most complicated challenges – how to get something you can not afford). It is extremely important in the beginning above all, because this will set the tone of what is good and what is not, how you work or the level of competition … etc. (So you have to be VERY picky).
But the most difficult thing really begins then: how to care for and retain those people that we hardly know and transform them into companions of the road, who make our vision their own and fight harder than anyone ?. Of course it is a matter of economic compensation … but much more: environment, learning, challenges, your ability to grow, recognition, evolution, closeness, illusion … for me the basis for, despite everything, Second to change the long days or the uncertainty to be in another place.