5 Crucial Qualities for Startup CEOs

If you’re looking to become a CEO one day, sometimes the best place to begin is at a startup company. However, even though these companies are ideal for showcasing your skills, they also require special traits that not every CEO possesses. If you’re looking to become a CEO for a startup, the following are qualities you need to have.

Thirst for Knowledge


Image via Flickr by Brittany Stevens

One quality of successful startup CEOs is the desire to never stop learning. At the speed that technology and business changes today, you should always be looking to learn more. One of the most famous CEOs of our times, Bill Gates, reads around 50 books a year, and his selections aren’t related to just business practices. He also reads about history, architecture, health, and any other topic he wants to learn more about.

Can Find the Right People

Chances are you won’t be the CEO of a startup with no employees. While larger companies have a full-time division specifically created to find the right employees for a job, at a startup, it falls on you to hire those amazing people. You have to start by figuring out exactly what your needs are, how much you can pay them, and what benefits you can offer. From there, you might have to conduct countless interviews before you find the candidate who ideally meets your requirements.

Ability to Understand the Market

While you might think your startup has the perfect product, if the market doesn’t agree, you won’t see the type of success you want. In fact, 42 percent of failed startups admit the reason for their downfall was because they had created a product the market didn’t need. As a successful CEO, it helps to have your finger on the pulse of the market, and even have the ability to predict what the next big thing might be.

Know How to Cut Costs

As a CEO, part of your responsibility lies in watching the bottom line. Whether you’re spending money on research and development or employees, you need to make sure you spend every dollar wisely. Oracle CEO Mark Hurd is known for his cost cutting measures and knowledge of how to get the most return for money spent. During his first days at Oracle, he asked his direct employees for their three-year plan, then told them to turn that into a one-year plan so they had a better idea of what their most pressing concerns for growth were.

Know What to Do With Criticism

At the University of Texas, students in Joshua Baer’s entrepreneurship class need to create their own startup. One class came up with a food delivery app, but Baer pointed out that the market had no more room for an app like this. Instead of refusing to accept the criticism, the students took the feedback and created Harvest Delivery, an app that aggregates food delivery services into one place.

While CEOs need to possess many of the same traits, these qualities are ones that are crucial for CEOs heading a startup business.