The Roles of a Startup Founder

The Roles of a Startup Founder

Entrepreneurs are goal-oriented, energetic, and determined to make their mark in the business world.

If you share similar dreams of starting your own company, be prepared for a journey of hard work and flexibility. There are many hats you will need to wear to adapt to change when planning, selling, and executing your company’s mission.

Once you enter into business for yourself, the success of your company falls into your own hands. You’ll be tasked with many different decisions and responsibilities before you can delegate tasks to others.

Here are some of the roles you will need to play—regardless if you have done them in the past—in order to carry out your startup’s bright future plans.

The Multitasker (aka The Organizer)

Startup founders have a lot on their plates. Between planning their business, researching their market, and exploring funding options, there can be a great deal of multitasking involved with getting a new business in motion.

While attending to all these different tasks, be sure you can manage your duties methodically. If organization doesn’t come naturally to you, invest in a daily planner, desk calendar, or some online scheduling software to set appointments and deadlines for yourself. That way, you can keep track of all your “to-dos” and complete them in a timely manner.

Starting a business also involves a fair amount of paperwork. Manage papers by developing a simple filing system to store your documents in such a way that you can easily retrieve them later. You might find that paper filing works best for you, or alternatively, that electronic files make more sense in your mind. If you are using computer files, backup your documents onto an external hard drive so you don’t lose any important information.

The Motivator (aka The Cheerleader)

Perhaps the single most important quality in a startup founder is the persistence they embody in the face of rejection or challenges. Instead of viewing problems as defeat, an entrepreneur perceives them as learning experiences.

As such, the entrepreneur is motivated by these challenges. Not only do they have to stay interested in their own work, but they need to motivate those around them as well—whether that is employees, clients, or investors.

Essentially, a startup founder has to give people a reason to care. And because their success depends on their performance, both individually and as a business, it’s important they believe in what they are doing and motivate others to feel the same. A company lacking determination and morale will not last for long.

Generate buzz for your business. Infect others with your passion. Express appreciation and gratitude for your supporters.

The Salesman (aka The Promoter)

Every startup owner needs to be prepared to represent their company and “sell it” to others, especially when the idea is fresh. They need to be ready to educate, and do so convincingly.

The Salesman pitches business ideas to generate interest for the purposes of funding, partnerships, or consumer awareness. Every entrepreneur should have their business’s mission, benefits, and market research distilled into a quick, enthusiastic spiel that packs a punch.

If you, the founder, cannot advocate for your company, then its chances of getting funding or customers will plummet, and you won’t have the attention you need to grow.

Practice your pitch in front of others and use their comments to improve. Use your story as a way to conduct research and collect feedback from consumers.

The Strategist (aka The Planner)

Strategy plays a big part in your business and includes planning your startup’s future and brainstorming ways to achieve your goals.

Everyone will look to you for mapping out a strategy to move forward. Do you need funding? What will you use your capital for? What are the next steps? How will you market your product?

Your strategy is your game plan. Without one, it’s hard to sell your business to anyone asking to see your proposal or who is curious about where you are heading.

Use a business plan to outline your big picture plans. Craft your concept clearly and set some initial goals. You can always revise your plan once you get started. It is a workable document that will evolve over time.

The Leader (aka The Mentor)

Another reason many entrepreneurs start businesses is so that they can be in control of their own enterprise, and do not have to report to anyone else.

Being a leader is much more than being a boss. It includes being a manager, and setting an example for those around you.

Many CEOs make good leaders because they hold the vision for their business, and pass that same vision on to their employees. They delegate tasks and set priorities for each work item. They place importance on making their business a success and being able to place others into positions where they can succeed.

Leaders also inspire and motivate those around them, and exhibit a positive attitude. Their role is to be helpful, patient, and use their expertise to direct and orchestrate their team.

Leading a group can be a challenge if you have never been in charge before. Maintain a calm approach and always respect those around you. Leadership takes practice.

The Negotiator (aka The Deal-Maker)

Savvy business people achieve success because they don’t always take “yes” or “no” as the final agreement. Using a mix of strategy and leadership, entrepreneurs can find ways to achieve a better outcome for their business by negotiating with those they work with.

This hat will come out when you are doing deals with clients, deciding on the terms of a lease, determining the price for manufacturing or distribution, or discussing employment terms with a recruit.

The Salesman makes the pitch, and the Negotiator handles the details of the agreement.

Know the terms you want and study your audience. If you are well-researched and communicate clearly, you will be taken more seriously when trying to get what you want.

The Problem Solver (aka The Fixer)

When something goes wrong with your company, who is going to fix it? There are plenty of things that could go wrong with setting up your business, and you need to be ready to provide solutions or compromises that will work in the face of adversity.

For instance, if you cannot move into an office space for two months, what will you do in the interim? Is there a place where you can temporarily set up shop?

People look to you for answers to their questions. Are you prepared to solve them?

Anticipate things that could go wrong, and have plans in place just in case you need to respond to a problem or emergency.

The Risk Taker (aka The Courageous)

There’s always a certain amount of risk involved with starting a business. What if it fails? What if it succeeds? Though it can be a scary endeavor, building a company can also be very rewarding.

The world would not see creativity and innovation if entrepreneurs never took risks on their ideas.

Even if you are the most risk adverse individual, but you take a leap of faith to pursue a goal, you are assuming the role of “The Brave”. Use this as motivation for making future decisions.

The Entrepreneur: A Mixed Bag

Starting a business is no walk in the park. In fact, it can be quite difficult, and requires a great deal of learning and flexibility. That being said, you don’t have to do it all alone, and can ask others for help or support.

Once you get past the learning curve and begin checking items off your to-do list, you’ll feel more confident and prepared to handle future challenges that come your way. Getting there takes time, but assuming these diverse roles will teach you the ins and outs of your business so you can be a better leader when the time comes to mentor others.

What was the hardest role you had to take on when you became a business owner?

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Kristy DeSmit

Marketing Specialist at LawDepot
Kristy is an avid blogger, Twitter enthusiast, and company legalese interpreter.
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