Signs That You’ll Be a Successful Startup CEO

The marketing industries are pulsing with new energy and young entrepreneurs. It seems like the solution to all millennial problems is starting a business. Every few days new small sized companies emerge and break into the market. But you know what? A lot of these startups fail and crumble due to a variety of reasons, one of them being an inefficient or not at par CEO. If the CEO isn’t active and aware, then it could cause problems for the team and startup.

For a startup to be successful there needs to be an active and envisioned CEO who can make prompt decisions based on skills and knowledge. I’m going to talk about the qualities that make a good CEO, this will help you better understand the attributes you must adopt in order to get ahead in the rat race. It’s not so much about the speed, but rather about the consistency and dedication within this race. If the CEO is consistent and dedicated, there’s likelihood that the startup will have a fruitful future. This reminds me of the connection between success and consistency. Now let’s get down to the main points that make a good CEO, don’t settle for anything but the best!

Vision and Venture

With startups, every step feels like a massive milestone in the beginning, so it’s important that the CEO is clear and focused on its vision. Somebody with a hazy mindset and indecisive doubts will just set back the company’s progress.

The things a CEO needs to remember are whether the product will make it in the market, and will people really want it? Is it going to make their lives better or change them somehow? These questions help keep a person focused. The weight of the team and company lies on the CEO, so there need to be lots of decisions made within a matter of hours, minutes and even finger snaps. Someone who has a long-term vision of where the company needs to be in the next decade will be consistent and driven enough to make it happen. If the CEO is fixated on the vision as a realistic possibility, then the chances are that the startup will make profit in the near future. CEO with a vision won’t be afraid to venture into unknown territories and network with other startups.

One of the finest examples here could be Sir Richard Branson, if he hadn’t had such a clear vision, the Virgin Group wouldn’t be where it is today. And they continue to expand!

Hellos and Goodbyes at work

Are you a good CEO? If you’re good at picking the right people and hiring them, and firing the ones that don’t fit, then you’re probably good enough! Knowing when to let people in and out of a company is a characteristic in itself. Many startups fail because the CEO doesn’t have the heart to kick out a few dozens. Ouch.  I know it sounds harsh, but it’s true.

You need to know the good from the bad, start sifting and picking people like nits. Throw out the ones you don’t need because they’ll just accumulate like old mold in the corners of your company. So I guess it means that a person needs to be a little rough and tough at heart, able to dismiss people when they don’t come up to the mark and must have the ability to say NO to people.

What about hiring? Yes, now that’s a relatively easier one. If you’re a smart CEO, then you’ll have the knack of putting together efficient teams and choosing the right people for the job. Whether it means going through their academic or professional profile, or merely judging how street smart they can be within the market.

Look at Their people and their content are always smart and motivated. Obviously culture plays an important role, but without the leadership of Rand Fishkin, former CEO and now “Wizard of Moz,” who knew when to say hello to the right people, Moz would never have become the SEO and marketing powerhouse it is today.

Communicate and Connect

It’s a huge responsibility to carry the company vision with a team and employees. This can only be handled by someone who can communicate clearly and easily with people. In order to convey the message and futuristic goals of the startup, there needs to be a lot of pep talk, meetings and explanations of which direction the company must head toward. The CEO must know how to speak clearly and explain these things confidently and passionately to employees.

Startups consist of teams and people that need motivation, understanding and encouragement to continue work and progress. A well skilled CEO will know how to handle the employees and push the team forward to achieve company objectives. Listening and interacting with the team is a vital part of running a startup. It helps bring about better and innovative ideas and creates a platform for people to connect with each other. A good speaker and attentive listener could make a great CEO because these attributes contribute to smooth running of the company.

I am happy that I am working in a company like ClickDesk where our CEO is confident about the product he is offering and his communication skills allow us to understand not only what he want from us but where he wants to see the company in the future. In fact, since ClickDesk is a real-time communications platform (live chat, video chat), communication within the company is even more important than at other startups. We’ve put our money where our mouth is!

(Customer) Mind Reader

This is significant when it comes to a CEO. I think it’s necessary for a CEO to know what the customer wants. A grasp and thorough understanding or tingling sense about the customer could help a startup break into the market and make a huge impact. Isn’t it sad when a company can’t progress or evolve because they fail to understand what the customer wants anymore?

Well, CEOs should be on top of their game when it comes to updates, news and competition for customers. CEOs that can read the mind of customers and already figure out what they want next can make a successful startup.

Another important thing is the must know, this means not being afraid of a bit of code and text editor. Basic knowledge about technical stuff could really keep the employees and team on their toes, because a CEO who knows how it’s done will know what to do next. No, this doesn’t mean that CEOs need to be well versed with source codes; it just means they need to have a grasp of the basics.


These are just a few of the many qualities of a good CEO. I’ve come across CEOs who have shown proper leadership skills and weren’t afraid of taking risks. So if you’ve got a startup and are wondering whether you make a good CEO, just go through these attributes. If you think that you would be better in a different role at the company, make the switch before it’s too late.

What do you think about these qualities? Have I missed out on any? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

This guest post is courtesy of Torsten Kolind, CEO of YouNoodle.

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