Some startup entrepreneurs are just not meant to be CEOs

*hushed silence*

Stay with us for a second.

We’ve watched this phenomenon for years. Excited founders of startups that have discovered a market-challenging idea, built that idea into a business, developed a strategic plan that sees that idea deliver great revenue results. The team is growing, the culture is great. And things are just hunky-dory.

Not always.

Unfortunately, the cold hard truth of the matter is that many startup founders simply do not encompass the skills (often derived from years of experience) and innate leadership qualities required of a solid, engaged, strategic CEO.

And even worse than that – the unwillingness to recognise this is probably one of the biggest fundamental flaws that lead to business distress, and complete meltdown.

Very often, in fact, you find the exact opposite. Big corporate CEOs are very seldom entrepreneurs themselves. They lead, and strategise, and plan – but they recognise the importance of having a team working with them that is agile, creative, entrepreneurial.  Having said this, however, we have to add a huge disclaimer: There have certainly been examples where one has been the other, and vice versa. But as wonderful as it is, the majority of the time, it’s simply not the case.

And just as a startup founder has the ability to learn and develop the skills required to become a fully-efficient, effective CEO, a long-serving CEO has exactly the same ability to develop their own entrepreneurial skills to lead their organisation creatively and stimulate their own culture of curiosity.


So, what is an entrepreneur?

We love The Balance’s definition of an entrepreneur. They describe an entrepreneur as being someone who starts a business and demonstrate a talent for seeing opportunity, and develop these into opportunities into profit-making businesses. Entrepreneurs dream big and are not fearful of challenges. But, although they are big thinkers, they certainly do not live with their heads in the clouds. Many realise that to get to where they want to be, they’re going to have to work for it. And although you may not have the obvious characteristics of an entrepreneur, what you do have is a determination to make your business venture succeed.

You build teams, you understand the competition, you raise capital, you embrace change, you choose the marketplace, you set goals, and you know your ideal customer.


And what is a CEO?

A CEOs role is far more involved than the typical entrepreneur. Where they may not be as hands-on as a startup founder, the CEO has overall responsibility for creating, planning, implementing, and integrating the strategic direction of an organisation in order to meet their financial goals. Very often, it’s the role of the CEO to make the tough decisions that need to be made, set the corporate culture and lead the business in a way that accentuates and represents the business vision, mission and core values.

And, for many, the CEO works alongside the founder of the business to determine the overall values and long-term growth ideals.


Here’s the dilemma

We understand that businesses who are looking to grow, probably either feel that they are more than capable of doing what needs to be done, without anyone else’s help, or, that they simply cannot afford to hire a CEO to get their business to where it needs to be.   The reality is – you want to see your business grow. You want to see return on your investment, and one day, you’d probably like to move onto something else, and bow out with a healthy exit package in tow. There’s nothing wrong with it. All the more reason why recognising your own personal strength, and weakness, is the first step in seeing that long-term growth realised.


A little help from our friends

We’ve written a number of articles about leadership in business. But in particular, we’ve written articles that will help you become the leader you need to be, to see your business grow.  For a quick reference, here are some of our most popular articles:


We’ve worked with many business leaders in your position; some who have led their business from start to maturity, and others who have stepped aside at some point to allow the business to grow under a leadership team that’s right for where it is in its growth cycle. Unfortunately, we’ve also seen businesses fail because of a lack of acknowledgement that their leaders simply couldn’t, or weren’t, the same leader to birth them, and see them mature.

If you’re ready to explore your own leadership style, and take your business to it’s next growth opportunity, and you need unbiased, highly-effective and experienced input, then we’d love to talk to you. Growing your business is our passion – and we deliver that exponential growth through a no-nonsense, focussed approach – supporting you every step of the way.

Talk to us today.