Knowing the exact tasks that should be part of your job description as the founder and chief executive officer of your startup can determine how far your business will grow.
For many people in the workforce today, founding a successful company is the ultimate goal.
Founding a company is a status symbol as much as it is a business endeavour. The advent of major industry disruptors like Uber, Airbnb, and Warby Parker made launching an innovative business sexy.
Suddenly, “entrepreneur” was synonymous with “innovator,” not “unemployed”. It seems like everyone today is clamoring to see the title of “Founder” underneath their names on business cards.
The truth is founding a successful company is sexy…but it is also incredibly hard work. You need a lot of hard skills and soft skills to pull it off.
If you want to found a company that excels instead of fails, there are things you have to do as a founder in order to set yourself up for success.
These things are non-negotiable.
Just remember that when the going gets tough and the tasks get tedious, that the struggle is what separates the dedicated from the quitters.
So add these six items to your job description, put in the work, and with a little bit of luck you might find yourself the envy of start-up entrepreneurs everywhere.
Six tasks that should be a part of your job description as the founder and CEO of your startup company whether you are in the United States, the UK, Australia or in any developed or developing country.:
1. Daily Budget Checks
Every founder should have an unrelenting grasp on exactly how much their business spends.
If a founder does not know every line item in their budget, how can they truly know what is happening in their business? Checking the daily budget of your company is one of the roles and responsibilities of a start-up founder.
This is especially vital in the early stages of a start-up company. Recently companies like Amazon have made it seem okay to live in the red for years on end, but for every Amazon, there are thousands of companies that failed before they ever got off the ground.
Debt-models do not work. Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping that revenue will come with popularity or scale, obsess over the budget early.
Conduct daily budget checks. Not many people were taught budgeting skills in school but you need it to grow your business. Do not let anything slip by you. From rent on office space to the K-cups you provide for your staff – you need to know where your money is going and the purpose of every dollar spent.
Constantly checking the daily budget of your company is the most important task on a founder’s list and tragically, it is the one that most often gets left off.
2. Determining and Managing the Company Vision
This task is really two tasks rolled into one.
First, business founders should always have ownership over the company vision. In fact, creating a vision should be one of your first tasks as a founder and CEO. It’s your personal job description that no other person can handle for you.
Without a clear and actionable vision, how can you possibly move towards success? The most successful and recognizable companies have strong, memorable visions.
For example, Tesla’s vision is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. Nike aims to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world (*if you have a body, you are an athlete).
These visions are clear, inspiring, and can serve as a rallying cry for an organization. Put thought and energy into your company’s vision…and then be prepared to change it. Managing the company vision is the second part of this task, and it is ongoing. It is vital for startup companies to be prepared to pivot at any second.
Companies that steadfastly stay the course, even when it is leading them into a brick wall, are the companies that fail. As the founder you need to stay nimble to market changes, legal changes, supply chain disruptions, and so much more. The company you set out to found is almost never the company you get. Occasionally, a major change may necessitate a change to the company vision.
Own that as a founder. It’s your job description as the founder. Communicate the importance of the change, and move forward confidently. Nike started out making running shoes. They still make running shoes, to be certain, but they are now so much more than that. If they had stuck to that initial vision, they may have never dominated the sports industry. Do not let the vision you chose on day one limit your future success.
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3. Recruiting and Interviewing
A company’s most valuable asset is its workforce. The right hire can launch a company into the stratosphere.
Not everyone is well suited to work in a start-up or growth company, and so personality should be considered as well as skill and successful histories. The wrong hire can cost you time, money, and morale.
The best CEO job description template must include this task of knowing how to find and hire outstanding talents in the United States and other parts of the world that will help to take the company to great heights.
As a founder, you are responsible for getting the right people in the right seats at your organization. This includes hiring great employees to do things that you are not good at doing yourself.
Too many founders tie their ego to their businesses and think that the walls would not stand without them. Smart founders understand their own weaknesses and look for team members and organizational leaders who are strong in the areas in which they are lacking.
The best way to find the right people to fit into your blind spots is to be actively involved in recruiting and hiring them. As the company grows, you may become increasingly less responsible in this area, but it is never something that should be fully crossed off of the list.
4. Competitive Research
The secret to founding a strong business is finding a hole in the market and filling it. In order to determine whether or not a particular market has a hole, a lot of research has to be done.
As a founder or CEO, you should understand the competitive landscape more than anyone. Like the development and management of a company vision, competitive research should be ongoing.
It’s impossible to build a strong brand in a competitive business environment without adequate research on who your competitors are.
You need to conduct research before your business launches in order to determine whether or not it will be viable, and you have to keep doing research as your company grows in order to determine whether or not a competitor is encroaching on your market share.
Founders and CEOs should always have a 5,000 foot view of their organization. You need to be able to see issues on the horizon in order to have time to deal with them before they become emergencies.
Once you hire the right people to handle the day-to-day operations of your business, zoom out and watch the landscape like a hawk. If you stay in the weeds, you risk being taken out by a competitor at any time.
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Patience is more of a practice than a task, but it is included here because it is something that many founders forget to practice.
Founding a business takes grit and hard work, but it also takes an ungodly amount of patience. Successful businesses do not crop up overnight. If you read a lot of biographies and business books, I’m sure you must have read of failing companies that turned around. It took the patience of the founder and management not to give up too early.
There is trial and error, false starts and course changes…scaling takes time. A lot of time. As a founder you need to understand going in that overnight success is a myth. You are going to have to show up and put in the work every single day, for a lot more days than you anticipate.
As the founder it is in your job description to keep everyone working towards your vision, and patience is part of keeping your team focused and on task.
Do not get frustrated when deals move slowly, or it takes the market awhile to discover your product or service. Stay as calm and assured as you can in order to keep your team and your company moving steadfastly towards your goal.
It is a lot easier said than done, but patience is absolutely necessary for founding and running a successful business, be it an e-commerce business or a private jet hiring company.
6. Managing Company Culture
A lot of the things on this list contribute to company culture. The people you hire, the company vision, and a firm belief that success is possible will all contribute to a larger culture. As a founder, you are directly responsible for establishing and managing the culture of your venture.
Culture is nothing more than shared group behavior. If you do not actively manage your corporate culture starting from day one, you risk losing control of it entirely. Do not let your team learn to stress, obsess, or triangulate their issues.
Instead, teach them to work hard, appreciate success, and strike a good work life balance. A strong corporate culture will yield better results. Do not let that culture be determined without your input.
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Founding a business is incredibly difficult, but just like anything, if you go in well prepared you will have an easier time. The six items on this list offer a glimpse into a founder’s reality.
There is so much more that comes with running a business, but the tasks listed above are arguably the most vital. Every bit of advice you hear about founding and managing a business will boil down to two main elements: finances and human capital.
If you can keep your business financially strong and your employees happy and dedicated, then you will be well down the path to success. Absolutely everything you do should be in service of either your finances or your team. Look at everything through that lens, and do not take your eyes off of the ball for anything. Stay disciplined, stay focused, and stay sharp. Success is there for the taking, but you are going to have to work for it.