CEOing at a Startup

…being a founder doesn’t automatically make you a CEO

  1. Culture
    This is about the first and foremost thing a CEO of a startup must set from the get go. This determines every other thing at the company. It sets the tone on how work is executed. This is usually a tricky area as many startup founders just start out chasing users or building the product. Its important to set the culture from the beginning. This is what makes every other aspect of the company move smoothly with less friction. If you think about it for a moment, global CEOs of FAANG companies never joked about culture, so why should you?
  2. Hiring
    This is the second most important thing you’d do all your lifetime at the company. If you don’t get this area right, excellent failure with the product is guaranteed. A great product with a bad team will constantly deliver bad results. Someone once said that a CEO is measured by how much stupidity he’s able to intelligently avoid when attracting talents. A startup at early stage needs all the money it can get. You can’t afford to incur hiring expenses due to wrong hiring. While you may not be able to totally avoid making a wrong hire, you can limit the extent to which that happens. Having the right people is key. The right people can transform a bad product into a great one. Just attract the right people and 50% of your startup problems are solved
  3. Growth
    I know you weren’t probably expecting this one. From an investor’s POV [Point of View], the biggest KPI of a startup CEO is growth. If growth ain’t happening, then all you’ve got is a hobby. Having a Head of Growth doesn’t relieve you of this role. You are responsible for the Growth of The Product, Growth of The People and Growth of the Company. Everyone and everything must be growing. You must develop that super ability to spot what’s not growing and address it immediately. You must constantly be asking yourself this key question — ‘’How does this translate to Growth?’’. So, every decision must be growth based. Every role within the startup must tie back into growth. This helps you knock off ‘’Nice to Haves’’ and focus on “Need to Get’’. I’d love to sum it up this way — Anything that’s not growing is most probably dying.

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Talemia

We’re creating opportunities and designing experiences for early stage African founders to move from 0 to 1