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What does startup CEO greatness look like?

| May 27, 2015 | Business Formation & Planning |

Starting a business can be an exciting thing. But much like a wedding, you can have a plan for everything and chances are something will go wrong. When mistakes happen as part of a wedding, they simply become part of the couple’s life story. Mistakes in business planning can mean failure, so it makes sense to take steps to anticipate and clear legal hurdles.

Nor should it be presumed that just because you have the inspiration and vision to start a company that you should be its chief executive officer. The life of a startup CEO may seem glamorous when you read about it in the media, but it can be a lot different in real life. As those who have done it seem to agree, building a successful company takes planning, luck and exceptional leadership. Read on for tips some founders think are essential for startup CEOs.

Leading the list is desire for success. It has to remain high. As Cathy Han, cofounder and CEO of data analysis startup 42 puts it, success often depends on how badly you want it. As an example, there’s the online home-rental company Airbnb. Now valued at $10 billion, it saw no real growth in its first 30 months of existence. During that time, founders tweaked the model and stumped for clients and investors until things fell into place. It’s still a work in progress.

Han also says growth has to be a priority and it has to be measurable growth. She says growing activity and expanding into bigger quarters isn’t the right definition. It should be centered on adding customers and developing new products, rather than adding features to existing products.

Hiring the right people is something that startup CEOs seem to agree about. There’s recognition that the CEO can’t do it all, so it’s best for the CEO to focus on what he or she does best and hire others to fill in the gaps.

Be the vision keeper, says Spook Studios founder Laurence McCahill. By maintaining a clear vision, it becomes easier to establish goals and rally employees and customers to the cause.

These are only a few of the key characteristics offered by startup leaders. But they do represent foundational elements.

Source: Business Insider, “15 Essential Startup Tips From Founders,” Richard Feloni, accessed May 27, 2015

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