As a Founder, you are the heart and soul of the company. And you must turn this passion of yours into a business and to accomplish it, you need to become a leader. It sounds sexy, saying “I am Founder & CEO of my own Company” but do you even know what are the responsibilities of a Founder or what he is supposed to do?
If you haven’t done it before, chances are that you don’t know what to do either and you’re essentially doing what you like to do and not what you are supposed to do. I’m not saying you should lose your “persona” — what makes you. Every awesome Founder has a persona and a set of skills, something they really excel at doing. It could be product development, marketing, sales or technology. Keep doing whatever it is you need to do to keep up that persona, but you also need to be a Founder and do the things a Founder needs to do. As a Founder, you have certain responsibilities, if you want to build a successful company and grow at the speed of light.
So what is all this horrible stuff you “need” to do as a Founder may not appeal you in the first place. Here’s a 10 point list of a startup cofounder’s responsibilities and things he should be doing as a Founder of a Startup to steer your Startup to success zone. You may or may not like all of these things on the list but you absolutely need to do them to be an effective Founder.
Here’s the magic list:
1. Manage the board of Directors
Startup boards can be super helpful but on the same time, they can be a complete distraction too. The Founder has the responsibility of determining what type of board the company should have, who is on the board and how the board operates. In my experience, most early boards are a distraction, and it’s up to the co-founders to make sure that they suck up the heat and keep the team out of these distractions.
2. Create the Vision that you want for your Customers
The best Founders are relentless about the continued evolution of the company’s value to its customers. Make sure the vision is powerful, simple and unique. Take your time to carve it out really well, because this will be your one true guide through your Startup’s journey.
3. Recruit and retain the best Talent
One of the major challenges of a growing Startup is talent acquisition. Great talent is the most important fuel for your Startup and creating a good core team is essentially the best kickstart you can give to your Startup. Consider hiring Freelance talent for jobs that can easily and effectively be done remotely like web development, android app development, digital marketing, content writing, iOS Mobile App Development etc. Also, check out this great article on 10 tools for effective Remote Team Management.
4. Build & lead the Executive team
Ultimately, the prime job of a Founder is to assemble a comprehensive team to run the business and lead this team. Always remember, the Team contributes more than 70% in the success of a Startup Business.
5. Ensure that the Product roadmap is in alignment with your Startup’s vision
An early stage Startup’s Founder must pay extra attention to product plans, progress, and ship dates. At it’s core, this is how a Startup progresses, so Founders need to stay focused on the heart of the business, and all this in addition to fighting fires in other dimensions.
Also, check out this list of Top 100 Angel Investors in India
6. Create & keep a close eye on your KPIs
An effective Founder understands the key goals of the company and the key metrics that tell everyone if the strategies laid out by the team are on track. It’s critical to be able to differentiate between what is a little spark versus a full on fire to put out. You may get burned badly otherwise if you don’t create relevant KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and monitor them closely.
7. Pilot the Fund-raising
Raising money takes time, but it takes less time if you have already done your homework to understand who are the potential investors for your company. Founders should always be researching which Investor/VC is funding their type of a Startups considering the company’s industry, business model, geography, and stage. The Founder in an early stage Startup should actively be engaging with the Investors and potential investors with the process of fundraising.
8. Develop & maintain the Business plan
Developing and maintaining a business plan is one of the key responsibilities of an early stage Startup. You may hire someone as you grow to take care of the business plans but still the Founder needs to closely supervise and work closely with the person responsible for creating and maintaining the business plans.
9. Managing Finances
Unless you have a dedicated CFO, Founder is the person responsible for managing finances of your Startup. Running out of cash in a startup is not an option. The Founder must understand how much money the Startup is burning and what fundraising needs the company has going forward.
10. Engage your Team
Engage your team in discussions and planning sessions. Take their opinions and evaluate them unbiased. You can not be always right, whenever in doubt, don’t hesitate to take your team’s opinion. Your Startup’s success is linked to your team work and not your alone’s work.
A Startup’s success journey is a tremendous journey where you discover your limits. You want to be the Founder, so now do the job or get a Co-founder who can distribute your responsibilities and work in parallel with you.
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