Top 7 Startup CEO Priorities
Updated: Apr 26
Startup CEOs wear many, many… many hats. It often becomes difficult to maintain priorities and focus on what’s going to accelerate your business’ growth. We’ve taken the time to discover and break down which top 7 priorities will help you as a startup CEO drive results, and ultimately, success.
1. Own the Vision
As CEO, you are responsible for developing, implementing, and communicating the ‘North Star’ Vision.
· Determine and communicate a clear strategic direction, inclusive of where are you going and what you are trying to accomplish.
· Develop a business plan to support the vision.
· Foster team buy-in and assisting in understanding how the vision impacts roles.
· CONSTANTLY set the bar.
· Be transparent.
· Instill passion throughout the organization.
2. Focus on Revenue
This one seems obvious, but it boils down to vanity metrics. It is so easy to get caught up in all of the metrics, data, KPI’s, etc. Hold true to the constant priority of focusing on revenue.
· Understand your company’s source of fuel - what are your sales and marketing strategies, tactics, and operations?
· Consistently look to integrate teams and processes - how can you hyper- focus teams on the key drivers of success?
· Have a solid go-to-market strategy - understand the customer experience and how they buy.
· Segment for relevance - understand your target and how you can adjust to be more precise.
· Grow through customer monetization; how are you adding more business? Are there additional revenue channels to pursue? Have you mastered one revenue channel?
· Satisfy to retain - ensure customers are seeing value and find a way to measure that value.
· Make the money machine work repeatably and sustainably - if one gear in the machine is broken, you can replace the gear. If the machine is broken, it doesn’t matter which gear you put in, it will break.
3. Develop your Products and Services to be Customer-Driven; Confirm your Market Validation.
· Get your product/services to the point of sale.
· Focus on what your company does best FIRST - validating your product-market fit BEFORE expanding.
· Center your product/service around the ENTIRE customer experience - what do they want vs. what can you offer? How can you test to keep your products/services agile?
· Focus on a pricing model that is based on what customers value vs. what they are willing to pay.
· Live and breathe your value proposition and customer promise.
· Keenly be aware of your competitors and your competitive differentiation.
· Plan for the future; deeply know who your customers are inside and out, and all relevant trends that may affect your products/services.
4. Provide the Proper Resources for the Vision to Succeed.
· Manage solid hiring and firing standard operating procedures.
· Hire the right team in the right positions and provide solid onboarding and training to your company, culture as well as provide deep insight into your products and services, along with roles and responsibilities.
· Identify time and resource constraints; what are the strengths and weaknesses of roles and operations?
· Find the gaps in resources. How can you adjust, and what can you leverage?
· Maintain resource continuity.
· Hold people accountable.
5. Raise and Manage Capital.
· Develop a bootstrapped operations plan to gain initial traction and market validation.
· Focus on and understanding your differentiation from the perspective of an investor. What’s in it for them?
· Develop an investor strategy, you shouldn’t approach any capital raise without a game plan.
· Develop clear and concise funding support materials.
· As CEO, it’s your role to execute the raising of capital.
6. Administrative Duties.
· Prioritize and find balance among initiatives.
· Know what’s working and what’s not - uncover inefficiencies.
· Be aware of the need for managerial sophistication.
· Release control - empower others to make their own decisions.
· Set processes and reporting - and keep it agile.
7. Top Challenges.
· Define the top challenges of your business. What is causing the biggest bottlenecks in your operation? This will always be a focus for CEOs and an important aspect of your business that remains a top priority regardless of the company growth stage.
Being a CEO for a startup organization is difficult as there are so many directions and variables to consider. Your ability to narrow that focus will play a direct role in the growth of your company. As you’re building an autonomous machine, it’s easy to be sidetracked by the constant noise of entrepreneurialism and trends. As CEO, by focusing your attention on these seven priorities highlighted above, you can drive your company vision towards accelerated growth.
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