Essential Startup Management Skills

Some people think that raising funding for a startup is the difficult part. but the most challenging facets to a startup are:

  • Having the essential startup management skills for each stage

  • Developing an outstanding product concept

  • Creating an unfair advantage that can be sustained for 2-3 years

  • Building the best team for this offering for this target market

Essential startup management skills for the CEO

This blog post addresses the essential startup management skills for the CEO. These are:

  • Keeping the momentum

  • Keeping your business operating

  • Managing cash flow

  • Adapting to coping with business difficulties and unexpected situations

  • Thinking clearly in spite of distractions and annoying issues that must be addressed

  • Being experienced at making decisions based on facts

Character traits

To accomplish these a startup CEO needs these character traits:

  • Self Discipline – Staying on focus is key. Some people who are not entrepreneurs quit when they encounter a problem. Entrepreneurs stay on focus. They keep on pushing until the goal is achieved

  • Determination and Perseverence – Determination and perseverance help entrepreneurs to stay on focus and achieve business goals. Successful people do the tasks that

  • unsuccessful people do not want to do. Successful sales people know that yes answers usually come after several no answers

  • Prioritization – This trait goes hand in hand with focus. A startup CEO and all of the key officers must constantly ensure that everyone is working on the most important task. This in spite of the fact that there is constant pressure to shift priorities

  • Time management – Start each day with 4 tasks that must be completed that day. When you finish them, work on the lower priority tasks.  Please see our blog post Schedule Use of Only Half of Your Workweek 

  • Knowledge
    If you have successfully brought products to market in a particular sector; then investors will be more likely to invest in your startup that brings a new product to market in that same sector.

  • Shifts and changes are normal
    Startup objectives change; sometimes quickly. Similarly, decision processes change from time to time. As the startup evolves through various life cycles;

  • Selecting the right team
    The management team must be selected such that they are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of their strategy and business culture. The business culture, management style and decision processes must change as appropriate.


At different stages; different skills are needed. The CEO needs to have the right skills onboard at the right time.

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4 Responses to Essential Startup Management Skills

  1. You really have to be knowledgeable in everything that you will do with this job. There are literally hundreds of things that can go wrong in your business and the right thing to do is to find a way how to solve them instead of ignoring them. Self discipline has always been essential but selecting the right team will require a lot of patience, you usually don’t get it all on the first time.

  2. Managing cash flow and decision making are the challenging tasks for any CEO. Taking wise decisions during business difficulties or when market is not so good reveals that true identity of the CEO.

    • Thanks for your interest.
      I agree with your points. The CEO needs to also develop and evolve a robust vision for the startup.

  3. If you are a CEO who does not have some of these skills, you should hire someone that does. If you aren’t comfortable with the financial, managing cash flow piece, hire an interim CFO and/or accountant. Don’t give up if you can’t do it, but find someone who can. A CEO definitely can’t do everything by themselves.

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