Traditional Startup Job Titles
Although there is not exactly a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model to creating a successful startup, research indicates that structured job titles do matter. The right job title can attract the right quality talent, influence behavior, reduce stress, improve employee satisfaction and commitment, and affirm employees’ identities within the company. Most importantly, job titles must enable behaviors and not limit them.
Although there are certainly many other roles that differ from industry to industry, the traditional roles within the internal hierarchy of a business are:
- Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – This is generally the leader in the startup team. The CEO is often considered the ‘dreamer’ of the business – the person whose passion goes beyond simply a paycheck, and who has a steadfast goal of bringing a vision to life regardless of anything else. In order to see their vision through, founders should be strong leaders who can guide their company through funding, staffing, and scaling.
- Chief Operating Officer (COO) – Chief Operating Officers are responsible for designing and implementing business operations, establishing policies that promote company culture and vision, as well as overseeing operations of the company and the work of executives.
- Chief Financial Officer (CFO) – The role of startup CFOs goes well beyond managing the company’s finances. They must clear a path for growth, form new relationships, drive measurable value, and establish core financial processes and reporting requirements.
- Chief Technology Officer (CTO) – Chief Technical Officers play a critical role in addressing the technicalities and potential problems that a business must overcome to succeed. Although they are clearly crucial for tech startups, CTOs bring value to startups from all industries, acting as innovation architects and developers. They are also responsible for hiring other talented ‘technicians’ and bringing together various technologies to build a product and service and be able to market it accordingly.
- Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) – Chief Marketing Officers must understand how to make the product or service of a company the most unique and appealing in the industry – as well as how to spread the word about it in the most effective way possible. CMOs must understand how to best represent the company in front of a wider audience, then implement a strategy for broadcasting it to the public. A great CMO will transform even an average idea into an irresistible one, disrupt industries, and help people to discover the service that they never knew they needed.
- Chief Sales Officer (CSO) – The Chief Sales Officer is responsible for turning brilliant ideas and the platforms that support them into flowing profits. His/her goal is always to sell the product or services built by the team, and acts as the fuel that drives them forward.