6 Absolutely Vital Roles In A Startup (And Their Importance)

This article is specially written for business owners, startup founders, and IT recruiters, who are just beginning to work with startups. It will help you understand the basics of how to start the search for hiring top employees for a startup. Let’s start figuring out 6 absolutely vital roles in a startup:

Chief Executive Officer or CEO – Visionary

The chief executive officer (CEO) of a startup often referred to as the visionary is the most supreme role in a startup or any company. They are the leader of the group and is often the decision-maker.
Their expertise lies in dreaming big and being passionate about what the company could achieve in the future.

Apart from adding to the overall success of an organization or company, the CEO also holds the responsibility for leading the development and execution of long-term strategies, with the aim of increasing shareholder value.

Although there is no standardized list of the roles and responsibilities of a chief executive officer.

Responsibilities Of A Chief Executive Officer

roles in a startup
  • Company Representative– Communicating with shareholders, government entities, and the public as a representative of the company
  • Evaluation– Evaluating risks to the company and ensuring they are monitored and minimized
  • Leadership– Making sure that the tech team is meeting deadlines, and ensuring efficient use of their time and productivity
  • Development– In the initial stage of a startup, the CEO focuses on developing and the company’s products and services and later implement product infrastructure.

Chief Marketing Officer or CMO – The Marketer

The importance of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is often missed out in a startup, which can be a huge mistake for a company in the long run.

A CMO is in charge of marketing and increasing the demand and growth of a company’s product. They are responsible for generating a strong customer base, bringing in revenue, and particularly, making the company profitable.

In initial stage startups, the CMO is also the leading force behind engagement, retention, and brand strategies, along with the marketing communications.

Responsibilities Of A Chief Marketing Officer

  • Analysis– Analyze company’s marketing strategy and request improvements
  • Content Marketing– Scrutinize and manage content marketing strategy 
  • Manage Marketing Campaigns – Outline, plan and execute effective marketing campaigns
  • Goal Setter– Lay down marketing goals and objectives

Chief Technology Officer or CTO – The Tech Guy

A CTO is a technical person who is in charge of all the decision-making, designing, and adoption of technology in a company. It is one of the most after-sought careers in the IT industry and is also one of the most important roles in a startup. In larger corporations, VP, Engineering, and Director, Technology may work under a CTO.

Responsibilities Of A Chief Technical Officer

  • Technological Innovation– This involves learning new technologies, building POCs, and trying to construct solutions that can help the business to be more productive.
  • Technology budget and resource planning– A CTO plans resources and budget needed to execute a company’s technology strategy. For example: Monitoring IT budgets, ratifying the design of new IT infrastructure, enterprise systems and software applications.
  • Digital Enhancement– Implementation of automation (BPA and RPA), usage of AI and Machine Learning, cloud migration and creating a a security strategy, etc.
roles in a startup

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

A Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is a senior executive responsible for managing the financial actions of a company. The role of a CFO is similar to a treasurer as they are responsible for supervising the finance divisions and for ensuring that the company’s financial reports are valid and completed on time.

Responsibilities Of A Chief Financial Officer

  • Financial Advice– Advising on prolonged business needs and financial planning
  • Financial Management– Managing the procedures for financial forecasting and budgets, and keeping an eye on the preparation of all financial reporting
  • Financial Recommender– Provision of strategic recommendations to the CEO and members of the management team.
  • Financial Leadership– Providing leadership, and regulation to the finance and accounting team
roles in a startup

Public Relations Officer or PRO

A Public relations Officer is a well-thought-out communication process that constructs mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.

Anticipating, analyzing, and interpreting public opinion that might have an impact, for good or ill, on the operations and plans of the organization. Having an efficient Head of Public Relations is vital to build the organization’s image, and minimize the effect of negative publicity.

Responsibilities Of A Public Relations Officer

  • Publicity– Bringing positive coverage is one of the duties of PR officers, and they usually do so by reaching out to the media, conducting press conferences, and organizing events to attract media attention. This may also take the form of creating magazines or other publications to educate the public.
  • Branding–  PR and branding are two sides of a coin . A PRO is most likely to be involved in branding discussions, creating branding strategies, especially if the company is new or in the process of rebranding. 
  • Crisis Communication– In times of a company crisis which may put the company’s name in bad light, the PRO dives in action to replace the narrative and protect the company’s reputation.
roles in a startup

Product Manager

Product Manager is definitely one of the vital roles in a startup. Also known as CEO of a product, he/she is responsible for delivering a unique product that meets a market need and hints at a possible business opportunity. A prime feature of a Product Manager’s role is ensuring that the product supports the company’s overall strategy and goals. Albeit the ultimate power to manage products lies in the hands of the Product Managers manager, they receive assistance throughout this procedure from specialists like designers, developers, engineers, Product Marketing Managers, project managers, sales professionals, and many more.

Responsibilities Of A Product Manager

  • Customer Advocate– Articulates the user’s and/or buyer’s needs
  • Business Case– Improves the business case for new products, developments to existing products, and business ventures.
  • Positioning– Advances positioning of the products and develops product positioning strategies

The above were Upfoundr’s version 6 absolutely vital roles in a startup, there are many other roles in the organization that you may have to think about. But, if these 6 roles are hired properly, the root of the organisation will always be strong and intact.

Related Posts: Risk Management for Startups 101: A Useful Guide

9 Essential Legal Documents for Startups

In order to know more about vital roles in a startup, one can watch the following video:

Frequently Asked Questions

Whose is the most important among all the roles in a startup?

CEO or Visionary has the highest position and plays the most prime role in every startup or company.

Can a company have two CEOs?

 Yes, a company having two CEOs can work. In fact, it works even better in the growth stage of a startup.

Why do startups fail?

There may be many reasons as to why this happens but in general money-related issues top the list. Mostly, companies run out of sufficient money or aren’t able to produce enough revenue.
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