CEO job responsibilities at different stages of a startup


According to Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo, “the difference between number one and number two is always a constant. If you want to boost a company, you must first improve yourself, and then the organization will follow suit”.

This phrase represents the challenges of a CEO. Startups go through distinct stages, each of which requires a significant shift in the role of the CEO. It may be tough to choose who should be CEO of startup in the early phases when just a few employees have been hired. One of the founders typically fills this position.

The first duty of the founder as a CEO is to create a product that consumers adore; the second job is to create a company to capitalize on the opportunity that the product has created, and the third is to harvest core business revenues to invest in transformational new product ideas.

Founder-CEO responsibilities during startup stages:

During Stage 1

As a CEO of the startup, the founder is the Man of Action in Stage 1. The founder responsibilities are not only towards Product development but also to attract an initial customer base.

To build the product he needs to dedicate his time to user interactions, formulating product specifications, developing the code, while also ensuring that a user base is getting ready for this new product. Delegation isn’t a word you should look up in the dictionary.

Another requirement that characterizes what makes a good startup CEO is the ability to save money in order to extend the time available to iterate and enhance the product.

In this first phase, success implies finding a higher demand for your product than your smaller team can meet. When this happens, as a CEO the founder responsibilities now shift towards building a company that can capture and maximize the demand that your product has surfaced. is a professional networking platform that provides insight and knowledge to entrepreneurs. If you are in the phase of building your Startup leadership team, then join our network, our AI-powered system will match you with the best individuals and help you through the whole process.

During Stage 2

Company-building becomes the CEO’s primary job in Stage 2. Scaling is the first step in company development. It’s tough for most entrepreneurs to suddenly delegate their previous tasks, such as coding, developing product standards, and interacting with clients on a daily basis.

Outsourcing a bunch of trivial jobs is what makes a good startup CEO for stage 2 in order to devote time for high-value initiatives. It’s an ideal time when CEOs start cultivating their leadership skills.

Stage 2 usually begins when a company has approximately 20-25 people and finishes until it has 400-500. You’ll have a startup leadership team that you’ve “road tested” to the point where you can comfortably delegate all you did in Stage 1 by the end of Stage 2.

Seasoned leaders can accomplish many goals as they work at a high level with little input from you. The burden of company creation may then be shifted to your leadership team, allowing you to focus on the next phases of business development such as: extracting revenues from the core business and investing them in new, breakthrough goods.

What does a startup CEO do?

The majority of a startup CEO’s Stage 1 responsibilities are delegated in order to free up time to focus on the following important operational activities:

  • A start-up’s  CEO is the highest-ranking executive who appoints the company’s senior leadership team and ensures that they work well together. The CEO hires executives such as a VP of Engineering, VP of Sales, and CFO. Since executive recruiting is a time-consuming process, a CEO often hires a professional executive search firm to assist him with preliminary searches.
  • Developing a Mission and Alignment: A CEO is responsible for establishing the company’s mission and vision. When your business has less than ten individuals it’s simple to communicate, and it’s simple to get everyone on the same page.
  • However, as the team size increases, achieving alignment becomes more difficult. The CEO’s responsibility now shifts towards identifying the Mission (goal) and Strategy (direction). These elements provide the required framework for a growing business to perform properly.
  •  Setting effective metrics is also an important aspect of a CEO’s job. CEOs’ must delve deeper to determine what drives top-line success and establish these drivers as significant internal KPIs. Great firms strive relentlessly to figure out what fuels their expansion.
  • Creating a Positive Workplace Culture: Culture is one of the most transitory concepts in corporate growth. Culture is defined by how people in a company treat each other. One of the CEO’s responsibilities is to foster a positive culture. CEOs frequently enlist the support of co-founders and the leadership team to develop a set of values and behavioral norms that everyone can agree on.

A Simple Success Metric

To run a firm, you must constantly be two steps ahead of the competition. It’s impossible to lead a firm from the back. The clearest measure of success for a CEO is having a lot of unplanned think time. It implies that his leadership team can function effectively and perform his delegated tasks.

How might assist you with your entrepreneurial endeavors?

In the startup sector, having the appropriate network may help you take your company to the next level. is one such network, where investors, founders, mentors, and executive teams come together to make meaningful relationships with people with a wide range of business interests. We are committed to assisting start-ups’ to scale and flourish.


Q. Which type of leadership is ideal for a startup?

A. Leadership on a strategic level: For startups, this leadership approach works remarkably well. This sort of leader is focused on both growing the firm and providing the finest working conditions and atmosphere for employees.

Q. What qualities do you look for in a startup CEO?

A. A startup CEO has a natural ability for spotting talent. A startup CEO must be able to locate these individuals and make hiring decisions in a timely manner. They must also be able to demonstrate enough zeal and enthusiasm to persuade people to quit a better-paying and more secure career to join the firm.

Q. What are the obligations of the Founder?

A. Some of the Roles and Responsibilities of the Founder:

  • Create a business plan
  • Secure initial funding
  • Serve as the company’s public face
  • Manage operations

Q, What is the most effective path to becoming a CEO?

A. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the C-suite, let alone the CEO position. Most CEOs are not hired into the position; instead, they rise to the position because they are the company’s founders.

Q. What are the KPIs that matter to a CEO?

  • Quality: Poor quality has a direct negative impact on shareholder value since consumers will be unhappy and revenue growth will be hampered.
  • Customer Forums
  • Employee Retention
  • Sales and Revenue Growth
  • Ideation and Innovation

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