Role of CEO in a Startup – The complete list of traits

Nowadays, we know a lot of famous CEOs of successful companies and we often see the term “CEO” in the news or blogs. Sometimes it seems that the CEO is the main character of his startup who is responsible for everything related to it. Is that really so? Let’s discover what is the role of the CEO in a Startup.

Team Leader

You’ve probably seen pictures on social networks where a team is dragging the throne of a bad leader and a good one works together with everyone and drags the same load indicating the direction. So, the fact is that role of CEO in a startup is not equal to the team’s one. Usually, they work way more than their employees. Moreover, presenting the direction, holding reasoned discussions, and making sure the team agrees is the CEO’s work as well.

The face of a startup

Whether you love going public or not, it doesn’t matter after you become CEO of a startup. Most of the startup members stay private but the CEO is always well-known. At first, you are unlikely to be stopped on the street for an autograph and a photo. However, you can become widely known in the startup community. And from this moment on your image will be directly linked with the image of a startup.

The one who organizes work

A clear distribution of roles and responsibilities is the key to the success of any project. The startup is not an exception. Who should do this initially? That’s right, the CEO. Later the control over operations will be transferred to the COO, development to the CTO, marketing to the CMO, etc. But it is the role of CEO in a Startup – organize the process so other C-level specialists can do their job.

Team inspiration

The company may face various problems: development process pitfalls, troubles with acquiring clients, or tough negotiations with the investors. Despite all of these you must constantly inspire and inspire the team! It might seem impossible but otherwise, there will be no result. Motivation, support, and infecting your teammates with optimism are important CEO tools in achieving goals. There is no room for discouragement at work.

Problem solver

Running a startup means dealing with difficulties all the time. So, you don’t really have much time to feel sorry for yourself. The solving process is constant. There are no unsolvable situations, there are ways out of them that are unacceptable for you. On the worst of days, the role of CEO in a Startup is to work out solutions that deal minimal damage to the startup and do it efficiently.

The one who forms a team

During the early stages, the CEO combines many functions in oneself and one of them is HR. The selection of the team lies entirely with you. It’s up to you how to estimate candidates, their competence, and personality and decide whether to hire them or not. Sometimes you will have to spend even more time with the initial startup team than with your family, so choosing a team should be approached responsibly. Also, you have a final say in determining the stakes of startup equity your partners obtain.

Startup representer

Negotiating with investors, meeting with partners, holding a conference, joining air on radio / TV, or media interviews – it doesn’t really matter what type of communication has to be provided. It is the role of the startup CEO to represent his company. At the same time, it is impossible to be on time everywhere, and setting priorities is needed. Also, don’t forget to let other startup members take part in this process. 

Each team member of the early-stage startup must be able to pitch and sell

The one who understands everyone’s work

As a CEO, you have your own background. Before starting a company, you could have been a financier, marketer, manager, IT specialist, lawyer. But now you are the CEO of a startup. And all of the above specialists work in your team. You can never, nor should you, do their job. But you have to understand what and why they are doing. Otherwise, you will lose control over the processes in your startup.

Opportunity seeker

Unfortunately, the CEO cannot have a division between work and non-work hours. You can’t shut down and completely forget about your startup. You must constantly look for opportunities. Each new acquaintance can lead you to new clients or investors. You should work on your network at every stage of the startup funding process to increase the chances of finding the matching investor. And only then you will constantly have ideas that will lead your startup to success. Also, there is a popular opinion that only the ones who believe in the initial idea until the end succeed. In fact, you should test new hypotheses and opportunities as fast as possible to discover new knowledge and apply it to your business.


One good leader can never lead a company to success without help from a team. But one bad leader can easily destroy everything on his own.

The role of CEO in a startup is critical. The point is that this position combines all the vital directions of company work such as external communication, team forming, facilitating changes, motivating employees, and strategic planning. CEO performance is decisive for the company’s ability to grow up to the moment when other C-level professionals step up and take the part of responsibilities.