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The role of the CEO within a start-up

Four core skills enabling you to survive as a CEO
Entrepreneurs | 11 September 2020 | Written by Oliver Op de Beeck

Being the CEO of a start-up is a demanding, but also challenging job. The decisions you make will not only affect the future of your company, but also the future of the people who rely on you to make the right decisions.

The role of the CEO within a start-up
Certain leadership skills come naturally, while others are gained through experience and acquired wisdom. In this blog article I will present you four core skills that every CEO of a start-up needs to ensure his survival: 

1. Set a clear courseIn most cases, the original start-up idea comes from your own experience: a unique insight into the industry that you have learned at work, an exceptional talent that you have acquired or a business opportunity you can use. 

It's your idea, but to take it to the next level, that idea needs to blossom into a full-fledged vision. 
Where do you aim to go? How do you want to get there? What is the unique factor that sets your idea apart from everyone else’s on the market? 

A successful CEO must not only be able to answer these questions but must succeed in drawing up a convincing and comprehensive business plan that enthuses investors and potential customers.
 
Draw up your business plan? Do this by using the Business Model Canvas: a tool that describes how to create and deliver value for your customers. Read all about it in this blog.

2. Involve your employees in your storyYour employees want content and it is up to the CEO to create the link between the daily tasks of their employees and the mission or vision of the start-up. 

This helps to ensure that the day-to-day decisions and behaviour of employees support the direction of the company. 

3. Take on the leadership roleTaking on the leadership role is not just about oozing authority 24/7. A CEO also has to be a team member, so you need to understand when to step out of your leadership role. 

Leaders often think they have to do all the talking themselves, but that's a mistake. The best leaders talk less and ask, listen or observe more. 

A good CEO is also able to let go, both from a strategic point of view and to train the employees to take on more prominent roles in the organisation later on. 

4. Make sure everyone can work optimallyIn old-school management literature you will probably come across phrases such as "don't come to me with a problem, come to me with a solution!". 

If you think about it, that's exactly the opposite of what an effective leader should say. If an employee has a problem, you as CEO must know about it so you can help with finding a solution. By creating an open and transparent environment, processes can run better, and productivity will surely improve. 

ConclusionIt is clear that a CEO can make the difference between the success and failure of a start-up. Good leaders have a clear vision and know how to turn their ideas into real success stories. 

Of course, not everyone is born with leadership qualities, but that doesn’t really matter. Leadership is a skill like any other, and skills can be acquired. 
 
Can we help you develop your skills? Don't hesitate to contact one of our experts