If you're a startup founder looking for a CEO to take your fledgling company to the next level, you should be aware that what makes a good startup CEO is fairly different from what makes a suitable CEO for a large, established company. Since most startup founders are not, and don't want to be, CEO material, it's important to make an informed choice about who you want to work with to move your company forward. After all, three out of four startups, and 90 percent in tech, end up failing, so strong leadership is crucial in the first stages of the company's growth.
First of all, startup CEOs have to be more resilient than your average business leader. Richard Feloni writes in Business Insider, "AirBnB took 1,000 days for its business to start working. Imagine if they gave up on day 999?" You want to find a leader who is tenacious and able to come up with constructive solutions even when it seems like the path ahead is hopeless.
Secondly, remember that your CEO will be the figurehead of your organization. They will have to be quoted, attend conferences and convince people of the legitimacy of your company. This means that extremely strong communication skills are crucial. If a candidate seems nervous or stumbles over words in an interview, imagine them speaking in front of an audience of hundreds of people. Accept nothing less than the best when it comes to your startup CEO's speaking and writing skills.
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