I’ve been the CEO of an emerging LLC business for three years now. I want to share some of my journey and write a job description , this will be what I ask my board to evaluate me against.
Key deliverables for an early stage CEO:
1) formation issues. Deep thinking on entity structuring, balancing overhead , risk and execution.
2) building the initial board for submission to the LLC members for approval, growing it as needed over time and milestone achievement , changing the composition as warranted. Effectively utilize the board.
3) Putting the team together. Technology , ops, sales/marketing. In roughly that order .
4) Until you’ve achieved step 3, do those roles effectively. Found with no less than three people (one in each role), no more than five.
5) Fund the business. Be incredibly frugal , spend judiciously but invest where needed.
6) Set the culture, tone , character , tolerable behaviors etc.
The last three years saw us go from three untitled founders and a rough idea to :
1) Three solid lines of business
2) Four independent directors
4) Director of r&d, director of swdev, director of hwdev, director of marketing (who also serves as the gm of a revenue generating line of business), director of business development
We’ve had four separations over that time period. Team members have changed roles , changed commitment levels etc. Change is constant , embrace it quickly and ride the wave.
We are now raising capital. Self funding and early revenue is a fantastic approach , however it has limitations. None of us draw a salary , we maintain primary income sources (“dayjob”) at various levels.
I have come to properly value and manage my time. I deploy it where it will generate the most return. I’ve delegated very heavily (essentially to the point of abdication ala buffet) and focus my energy on filling in final recruitment gaps , partner relationship building / vendor sourcing and capital raising.