The Job of a Startup CEO

There's no denying the fact that when you're working in a start-up you're wearing multiple hats. Some days your Chief Sales Officer, other days your Chief Fundraising Officer, some times you may even be Chief Customer Service Officer. So how then do you describe what the job of a start-up CEO actually should be?  The answer has less to do with what tasks or responsibilities the CEO has and more to do with what they're focused on, and how they prioritize their tasks.

The job of a CEO is to do whatever is necessary to increase the value of the company as quickly as possible.

That's it. Simply stated but not simply accomplished. So let's break that down and dive deeper.

Your focus is on increasing the value of your company. That means prioritizing the tasks that are going to help you overcome barriers to growth. Depending on the type and stage of your business that may mean acquiring more users, increasing revenue/user, increasing conversion rates, signing key distributors, optimizing your marketing methods, reducing churn, etc. I don't know what they biggest barriers to increasing the value of your particular business are right now. What I do know is that those are the only things that should matter to you in this present moment. As an investor, I'm not interested in your vision if I don't think you can execute, because if you haven't demonstrated your ability overcome the most pressing hurdles then you'll never reach the bigger vision.

There's also a reason your job description has such a sense of urgency to it. It's because TIME is the enemy here; not cash, not hiring, not new office space, none of that. Time is the only resource you are always running out of, can never replenish, and is always working against you. You can raise more money, you can cut costs, you can hire more employees, but you cannot reverse the clock.

What does all of this mean? It means you have two criteria to maximize when creating and prioritizing where you spend your time.

How much more valuable is my company as a result of this task?How much time will this task take to accomplish?

Maximize Value/Time when deciding about where to focus your team and spend your resources. What task maximizes that ratio at any given moment will change all the time. The point is if you keep that as your North Star, the odds of your seeing your vision through to reality just went up dramatically.

James Shomar
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